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Monaco v Spurs, 22.11.16

(8.45 pm C.E.T.)

Monaco scorers:-
Sidibe, 48
Lemar, 53

Spurs scorers:-
Kane (pen), 52

Attendance:- 13,100

Referee:- Bjorn Kuipers
Assistants:- Sander van Roekel & Erwin Zeinstra
Additional assistants:- Richard Liesveld & Pol van Boekel
Fourth official:- Mario Diks
(All officials from The Netherlands)

Monaco (4-4-2):- Subasic; Sidibe, Gilk, Jemerson, Mendy; Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Bakayoko, Lemar (sub Moutinho, 81); Germain (sub Carrillo, 77), Falcao (Capt.) (sub Raggi, 89)
(Armband to Subasic)

Subs not used:- De Sanctis; Diallo; Boschilia; Mbappe

Booked:- Glik (foul on Alli), Falcao (foul on Wanyama)

Spurs (4-1-2-2-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Dier, Wimmer, Rose; Wanyama; Winks (sub Sissoko, 75), Dembele (sub Eriksen, 65); Son (sub Janssen, 65), Alli; Kane

Subs not used:- Vorm; Walker, Vertonghen; Nkoudo

Booked:- Dier (foul on Fabinho), Dembele (foul on Bernardo Silva), Trippier (foul on Bakayoko)

Spurs fail at the highest level

6 years ago, Harry Redknapp's Spurs side genuinely graced The Champions League with style, verve and goals to reach the quarter-finals. This year, Mauricio Pochettino's side have failed miserably to perform at this high level.

A team which loses its first two "home" games and three of its first five games does not deserve to qualify for the knock-out phases of the Blue Riband European competition. Let there be no doubt that The best team most definitely won last night in the Stade Louis II stadium. Monaco deserved to win by a greater margin than the one goal difference, and only Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris excelled with a fine penalty save and several other important saves too.

Monaco guaranteed their passage to the last 16, and also secured first place with a fine performance which encompassed pace, style, power and penetration.

Spurs had one or two moments, and that is being generous, but one of their late heroes on Saturday against West Ham, Son Heung-min, failed dismally when given a golden chance to take the lead on the night in the first five minutes.

Even the Spurs goal, another Harry Kane penalty, was hardly deserved, because the penalty itself looked dubious to even the travelling fans.

Needing the very the best of team performances, Mauricio Pochettino rested Jan Vertonghen, who will probably be needed on Saturday against Chelsea, due to the absence of Danny Rose. Kyle Walker was also rested, and he was missed badly, with Kieran Trippier surrendering acres of space on his flank far too often. Monaco's left-side midfielder Lemar took great advantage of this, not least when he quickly cancelled out Harry Kane's equaliser to give the home side the win.

The Spurs midfield again featured two sets of two players in front of Wanyama. Harry Winks played on the right of Dembele, and Dele Alli played alongside Son, behind Kane. Harry Winks again demonstrated his ability to look after the ball, but others were slow to move play on, and too often closed down or dispossessed.

It was not a good night for the travelling fans, who suffered intense paramilitary style policing before and after the game, and poor football from their team. (Monaco's bars were closed from 2.30pm)

That early opportunity for Son came after a move started by Winks, and a quick pass by Dele Alli, sending Son away on a run direct to goal, where he was one-on-one with goalkeeper Subasic. Son failed dismally, where he should have succeeded, and he was pushed out towards to the flank, where the opportunity dissipated.

It wasn't long before Monaco were presented with a penalty, courtesy of Eric Dier's rash challenge on Fabinho. Monaco captain Falcao stepped up but so did Hugo with a rare penalty save and a dive to his right. Soon after that, Hugo was having to save from Mendy, after Falcao's pass.

Dembele was making no headway in the middle and in his frustration he got booked for a foul on Bernardo Silva, another exciting Monaco player. It is true to say though that Spurs seemed to get punished by referee Bjorn Kuipers far more than did the home side, who put in some crunching tackles throughout the game.

Another good chance for the home side came after inept midfield play by Son, with Lemar getting away and testing Hugo again. Even the normally reliable Wanyama was making mistakes and he presented Falcao with a chance to run at goal and to score, but the former Man Utd and Chelsea loan player dismally pushed his effort wide to derisive chants by the away fans.

Sidibe had a a good right footed shot on goal, but put it the wrong side of the far post.

Spurs did get a free kick at the other end, taken quickly by Rose, but Son failed to find a colleague with his ball inside for the left. Monaco countered, but Germain's effort was also wide across Lloris's goal. Wanyama found Rose with an excellent ball down the left, but Danny's cross reached no-one.

Three minutes into the second half, Monaco took a deserved lad with what for them was a fine goal, but for Spurs was a disaster. Bernardo Silva was allowed to carry the ball with a fine run from right to centre, he quickly passed it to Mendy on the left (Trippier was nowhere). Mendy crossed and Sidibe (unchallenged) finished off with a powerful header from the middle of the box.

For the home fan, and the non-partisan it was an exciting five minutes with another two goals to come. Firstly the referee awarded a penalty when Alli seemed to fall over Glik's challenge. Subasic got a hand to Harry Kane's penalty, but it hit the net to the keeper's left.

Hope that had been briefly restored to Spurs was quickly dowsed when again Trippier surrendered his area of responsibility and Lemar fired home from a difficult angle across Lloris's left hand, after Sidibe had crossed deep from the right.

Spurs had to score two goals, and at least tried. They had a free kick met by Alli near the goalkeeper's right post, but he was closed down and the ball came back to Wanyama. He fed Son, whose shot was saved, but he was offside anyway.

Lloris was soon in action at the other end, saving well from Bernardo Silva after Sidibe's pass.

Pochettino made a double substitution replacing Son and Dembele with Janssen and Eriksen. Lloris made a simply fantastic reflex save of Glik's powerful shot after a Monaco free kick. Somehow, the Spurs keeper managed to stretch his arms up to tip the shot over the bar for a corner. At the other end Janssen sent a great ball to Eriksen on the left, but his shot was deflected and went out for a corner. Dier had a header cleared from Eriksen's ball.

Monaco were going for the Spurs throat, but Falcao just could not score, with Lloris making another fine save after Bernardo Silva's ball.

Harry Winks was replaced by Sissoko, who was asked to perform a central midfield role. He had one or two moments, and I did spot a nice piece of skill from Eriksen when he tricked a defender to move forward with the ball. Sissoko and Alli were involved in a nice move where Harry Kane had a shot from the left, but this was parried and cleared.

Time ran out for Spurs, who knowing that Bayer Leverkusen had drawn in Moscow, could have preserved a slim chance of qualification with just an equaliser. That never came though, and we now face CSKA in match 6 at Wembley for the dubious honour of progressing to the Europa League.

In the meantime, I fear for us on this form on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

UEFA Champions League - GROUP E

Pos   Team           P  W  D  L  F-A   GD   Pts
1.   Monaco          5  3  2  0  9-4    5   11
2.   Bayer L'Kusen   5  1  4  0  5-4    1    7
3.   Spurs           5  1  1  3  3-5   -2    4
4.   CSKA            5  0  3  2  4-8   -4    3

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