Tottenham Hotspur 0 Aston Villa 0
It was probably just as well that Sven-Goran Erikkson chose to give this match a miss.
The England coach sent his assistant, Norwegian Tord Grip, to monitor the club seen by Eriksson as the Premiership's supposedly most attractive purchase. But it was an afternoon that did more to make David O'Leary, the present Villa manager, happy than the England chief.
If Grip was there to watch Tottenham Hotspur goal-keeper Paul Robinson, it was a wasted afternoon.
Instead, it was another Scandinavian, Villa's Thomas Sorensen, who ended up stealing the show.
Eriksson might see the Midlands' top club as a good investment. For Villa to have taken an away draw against the team sitting fourth in the Premiership was a more encouraging return than last season's 5-1 thumping on the same ground.
Yet it had to be considered a disappointment that Robinson was kept busier hosting Mr and Mrs O'Leary to dinner on Saturday night than he was by Villa's shot-shy attack. "I thought we could have worked Paul Robinson more," said O'Leary, with the understatement of the season.
It would have been nice had Villa worked Robinson at all. For all their hard work and determination in the tackle, they did not force him into a single save.
In 90 minutes, O'Leary's men managed one shot and that, by a worryingly subdued Milan Baros, squirted so far wide that the corner flag was more in danger.
By contrast to "England's No 1", Denmark's No 1 had possibly his finest game in Villa colours. Despite Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe never quite clicking, as both missed the physical presence alongside of a target man (Mido having gone on African Cup of Nations duty), Sorensen was kept busy chiefly by the attacking ambitions of the Spurs midfield.
Sorensen's first save was his most routine, the key being his safe handling as he held on to Defoe's low right-foot shot from 12 yards.
After Edgar Davids shot i nto the side-netting, Sorensen had to be at his sharpest to recover his position and tip over Teemu Tainio's lob.
Michael Carrick's through-ball had engineered the opening but the outstanding Mark Delaney got in enough of a challenge to distract Tainio. Although the Finn lifted the ball over the Villa goalkeeper, it was with sufficient loop to allow the alert Dane to get back and make a very good save.
Gareth Barry's slip allowed Jermaine Jenas to get away, only for Delaney to again come to the rescue with what was far from his last big challenge of the afternoon.
Having previously been kept quiet, Keane finally came to life with a well-struck right-foot volley which forced Sorensen to dive to his left to palm away. Davids then had a fierce free kick charged down in a dangerous position after Barry had brought down Defoe.
It was the same story of sweat, toil and tackles but little else from Villa after the break as the Spurs chance-count multiplied, matched only by Sorensen's save-count.
Twice, he needed help after Tainio was halted by great challenges in quick succession from Gavin McCann and Aaron Hughes. McCann did his best bit of work of the afternoon when the often unsung former England international destroyed fellow midfield general Davids in the tackle.
Not only did McCann win a 50-50 ball, he did so with such vigour that the Dutch 'Pit Bull' was made to look like a poodle, ducking out before limping tamely to the touchline and then out of the action altogether.
It still needed Sorensen to be at his most alert, making two more saves, one to keep out Carrick's long-range effort before a superb reflex save to thwart Tainio. With seven minutes to go, Spurs were given one last piece of added impetus when they suddenly earned the advantage of an extra man.
Two fouls inside two minutes on Aaron Lennon, a late first-half substitute for the concussed Jenas, brought Barry his marching orders.
It was only the second red card of his career, deserved though it was.
In fact, his second bookable offence was for a cynical challenge on Lennon which, given that he was clear on goal, might have brought an automatic sending-off. Barry's exit
was also bad news for a teammate, earning Luke Moore the humiliating experience of being substituted five minutes after coming on and without having touched the ball.
O'Leary adopted the usual ploy of sacrificing a striker to bring on an extra defender. Surprisingly, he opted not to keep use of Moore's fresh legs but Angel's hitherto little-recognised defensive abilities.
Moore's face as he came off was a picture but O'Leary was more annoyed with himself for not reacting sooner to Barry's first caution - worryingly, a third in successive matches since being switched to left-back.
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He explained: "When Gareth Barry got booked, I was already thinking about what might happen if he makes another tackle and I was looking to bring Jlloyd Samuel on, take off Lee Hendrie and push Gareth further forward into midfield.
"Then the thing happened that I was trying to stop, it had to be a forward that comes off and the reasoning was that Juan Pablo would be more use at set-pieces."
Sure enough, there was one big finish from the home side as they tried to exploit the one-man advantage but substitute Grzegorz Rasiak could not find a way through, being halted by a magnificent tackle by Olof Mellberg.
When Spurs tested Sorensen one last time as Michael Brown tried his luck, the Dane capped a brilliant afternoon's work by going full length to save.