UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE
THURSDAY 5TH NOVEMBER, 2015
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(1) RSC ANDERLECHT 1(0)
Referee:- Orel Grinfeld
Assistants:- Danny Krasikow & Dvir Shimon
Additional assistants:- Eli Hacmon & Ziv Adler
Fourth official:- Amihay Yehoshua Mozes
(All officials from Israel)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Mason (sub Dembele, 73); Lamela, Alli (sub Onomah, 77), Eriksen (sub Son, 59); Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Fazio, Wimmer; Carroll
Anderlecht (4-1-4-1):- Proto(Capt.); Gillet, Mbodji, Deschacht, N'Sakala (sub Conte, 83); Dendoncker; Najar, Defour, Tielemans (Sub Ezekiel, 69), Acheampong (sub Sylla, 89); Okaka
Subs not used:- Roef; Nuytink, Suarez, Lukebakio
Booked:- N'Sakala (foul on Alli)
Oh-oh Dembele, Bam-a-lam!
Just when it looked as if Spurs had let a precious win slip from their grasp, up stepped substitute Mousa Dembele to hit a stunning right, yes right-footed shot into the roof of Silvio Proto's net with three minutes remaining to secure a precious win, and to leap to the top of Group J in this return match with Anderlecht.
Spurs had won that historic 1984 UEFA Cup Final against Anderlecht on penalties, and two weeks ago, the Belgians had actually been the first of the two sides to win a match between the two teams on goals scored. Spurs have now bounced back, and by winning have gained crucial impetus in the quest for qualification to the knock-out phase. A win from one of our two remaining games should be enough to secure progress, after Monaco could only draw against Qarabag tonight.
The margin between success and disappointment of failure is always thin, but in securing this win, head coach Mauricio Pochettino deserves full marks for his team selection, and excellent use of three impactive substitutes. Dembele got the goal,but he was assisted by Heung-min Son, returning for the first time since 26th September, and the other substitute, Josh Onomah, also played an important part in the start of the decisive move.
As anticipated, Pochettino changed his full backs, with both Kyle Walker and Danny Rose rested for Sunday's game against Arsenal. Ryan Mason made his first start since September, playing beside Eric Dier, with Dele Alli moving to an advanced midfield position. Lamela started on the right, with Eriksen on the left. Harry Kane played all 93 minutes, whereas I thought he might have been given a little break.
Anderlecht coach Besnik Hasi rang one or two changes, with Frank Acheampong starting, and again playing down Kieran Trippier's flank. Trippier had a better game against him than he had in Brussels, and also managed to get forward to good effect.
Andy Najar, scorer of two of Anderlecht's recent goals, played down the right flank, with Okaka once again leading the line.
The visiting fans filled half the lower tier of The Park Lane stand, and were very vocal most of the night, with plenty of their chants in English to taunt the home fans. Anderlecht came out of the blocks looking zippy. An early failed ball by Lamela gave the visitors a chance with Okaka getting away through the middle and only thwarted by a brilliant sliding block tackle by Jan Vertonghen.
Lamela tried to make amends at the other end, combining with Trippier, whose cross to the near post for Harry Kane won Spurs a corner. Dele Alli had a looping header cleared from another cross from the right.
After seven minutes, Alderweireld tried to prevent Okaka's progress, but the big forward got the ball back to Defour, whose shot took a slight touch somewhere to win a corner, as it passed over the Spurs goal.
Jan Vertonghen's left back skills came to the fore after 11 minutes, as he took the ball to the line on the left, and crossed to the near post. The cross was not met, and Anderlecht cleared. Anderlecht's star young midfielder Yuri Tielemans received a ball from the left, before firing his shot just outside Lloris's right post. Soon after that, Najar had a shot go wide of the other post.
It certainly wasn't a dull game, as both sides knew the potential of a win here. Alli was the recipient of a nice ball down the left channel, and went down in the box, but referee Orel Grinfeld was having one of any appeal here. I thought the referee handled the game well, but in truth, the players did not make it difficult.
Harry Kane battled his way forward from that left channel, but the Anderlecht defenders cleared before he could pull the trigger. Kane, Lamela, and Alli were involved in a good Spurs move down the left, but when the ball came inside to Trippier, the full back failed dismally with his effort.
Davies fed a ball to Lamela who ran across the area, and would have scored, if only he had a right foot. Erik just has to hit the ball with his left, and poked the ball wide of the far post.
Anderlecht made a break down their left after a Spurs attack, and Acheampong passed inside to Okaka. Between them, Ryan Mason and Jan Vertonghen prevented any danger.
Spurs took the lead with a great goal. They had a free kick, which had been delayed because of Okaka being a bit theatrical in the middle. After the kick, Mason found Eriksen with a slick diagonal ground pass. Eriksen quickly turned the ball on to Harry Kane, who just as swiftly, and sharply, despatched his right footed shot past the keeper in front of the Park Lane stand.
After 41 minutes, Toby Alderweireld latched onto a poor Anderlecht clearance, passing to Dele Alli on the left. Alli's cross was met by a Kane header, but held by the keeper.
Early in the second half, Spurs won a corner after good work by Mason, Eriksen and Lamela, but Anderlecht made a swift break, and Kieran Trippier had to chase back to cover the left back position, with Davies covering on the other side. The resulting Anderlecht shot went over.
Dele Alli had a glorious chance to put Lamela into a scoring position, but sadly his pass failed.
Anderlecht were once again looking bright, and Lloris had to save from Defour, before Tielemans fired wide. Spurs countered down the left side. Kane passed the ball to Lamela, who was towards the right of the area, but once again was found wanting as he needed the ball on that left foot. Lamela went to ground under a defender's challenge, but got no reward.
Ryan Mason was always looking for a pass, threading the ball to Alli, who pushed it on for Kane. Goalkeeper Proto reached the ball first.
With just over half an hour to play, Heung-min Son made his eagerly awaited entrance, replacing Eriksen. Son was immediately involved, and started a move which ended with a Lamela ball to Alli, whose shot was deflected for a corner. Another effort came when Son crossed from the left, and the ball was cleared to Davies, whose powerful shot hit the bar. After a forced clearance by Proto, Lamela had a chance, but fired over.
Anderlecht replaced Tielemans with Ezekiel, who had been so effective in Brussels. Lloris was soon busy, as Okaka's shot needed saving, before Defour just missed the target. It came as no surprise when the visitors levelled the scores in the 72nd minute . The goal came from Ezekiel after Defour's ball pierced the defence, and Ezekiel scored inside Lloris's right post.
Ryan Mason was replaced by Dembele, and Onomah replaced Dele Alli.
Dier over-hit a backward pass to Alderweireld, and this gave the away team a chance, which hit the side netting. The Spurs defence was being kept very busy, but held firm. At the other end, Onomah nearly reached an excellent long ball by Alderweireld, but Proto was there first again.
Dembele had a shot on target after 84 minutes, but this one was easy meat for Proto. Mousa had only been practising. Onomah had chased another long ball almost the goal line, and in the subsequent play, Son fed it back to Dembele who hit a simply unstoppable right foot shot past Proto to secure the win in style.
This was Dembele's third goal in successive games, and easily the best he has scored for Spurs, although he did score a memorable late goal in Lyon in February 2013. Spurs' other goal scorer tonight had also scored in his third successive game.
Now for the gooners on Sunday!
EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP J
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Spurs 4 2 1 1 7-5 2 7
2. Monaco 4 1 3 0 4-3 1 6
3. Anderlecht 4 1 1 2 4-5 -1 4
4. Qarabag 4 1 1 2 3-5 -2 4