UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
WEDNESDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER, 2017
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(2) BORUSSIA DORTMUND 1(1)
Referee:- Gianluca Rocchi
Assistants:- Elenito Di Liberatore & Mauro Tonolini
Additional assistants:- Luca Banti & Massimiliano Irrati
Fourth official:- Alberto Tegoni
(All officials from Italy)
Spurs (3-4-2-1)(all white strip):- Lloris (Capt.); Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Aurier, Dier, Dembele, Davies; Eriksen, Son (sub Sissoko, 83); Kane (sub Llorente, 87)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Foyth, Walker-Peters; Winks
Booked:- Dier (foul on Papastathopoulos), Vertonghen (foul on Yarmolenko)
Sent off:- Vertonghen (90+2) – second yellow for foul on Gotze)
Dortmund (4-2-3-1) (Yellow & Black):- Burki; Piszczek, Papastathopoulos (Capt.), Toprak (sub Zagadou, 80), Toljan; Sahin, Dahoud (sub Castro, 72); Yarmolenko, Kagawa (sub Gotze, 66), Pulisic; Aubameyang
Subs not used:- Weidenfeller; Subotic; Isak, Philipp
Booked:- Toljan (foul on Aurier), Castro (dissent after foul on Dembele)
Kane leads Spurs to cracking start
Two-goal striker Harry Kane led Spurs to a cracking start to their Champions’ League Group H campaign with a fine 3-1 win over a depleted but exciting Borussia Dortmund side. The win gives Spurs a clear advantage over rivals against whom they need to come off better in their two games to hopefully ensure qualification to the last 16. With a trip to Cyprus coming up in two weeks’ time and hopefully three points in the bag, Spurs could have 6 points after two games, giving them such a very strong claim to one of the two qualifying places.
Spurs had taken a dramatic early lead through former Bundesliga player Son Heung-min, only to see the German side bounce back through new signing Andriy Yarmolenko signed after the sale of Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona for a massive fee. Harry soon restored the first half lead and secured a two goal gap in the second half, but the visitors dominated possession playing zippy and accurate football, putting the three-man Spurs defence on the back foot in the first half at least. I felt that Peter Bosz’s side lost a little of their speed after the break, but none of their danger. Spurs had good chances to make a it a bigger win, but they were also thankful to the officials for two disallowed “goals” for offside to restrict Dortmund to one.
A little sadly, the Wembley crowd was smaller than that in three of their European games last season, and yet this was a Blue Riband game against a top quality team. Spurs might rue their pricing policy for this season’s games.
The Dortmund support was vibrant throughout with banner size flags on display and bouncing chanting often a feature. The Spurs crowd made themselves heard on occasions, urging their charges on with “Come on you Spurs!” Mauricio Pochettino gave a debut to Serge Aurier at right (wing) back, and the Ivorian acquitted himself very well, showing the strength he has and the expertise he has acquired at the highest level playing for his country and most recently PSG. Mousa Dembele and Son Heung-min replaced Sissoko and the suspended Dele Alli respectively. Dortmund were missing defenders Marc Bartra and Marcel Schmelzer, both injured on Saturday, and also missed star players such as Andre Schurrle and Marco Reus. Reus is not expected to return until November, and was left out of the UEFA squad for the group games. To be honest, the way the German side played, you would not have realised they suffered so many injuries.
Spurs scored a crucial and great opening goal in only the fourth minute. The move was started by Son heading down a Sanchez clearance to Harry Kane, who with Eriksen advanced before sending Son away with a run down the left flank. Son got all the way into the Dortmund box and beat goalkeeper Roman Burki with a left footed shot inside his right post, which the keeper could only flap at, such was his surprise that Son had been granted the shot by his defence.
The visitors bounced back in the best way possible, and it came as no surprise after the possession they had and the real threat they posed to the Spurs defence. It was Yarmolenko who levelled the scored in the 11th minute with a left footed curler from outside the area across Lloris’s dive and into the net at the far post.
Harry Kane restored Spurs’ lead with a great individual goal. Kane used strength and power to get the better of two defenders (Bosz claims there was a foul), taking the ball into the left side of the area and beating the keeper again to his right with a powerful shot. The Spurs crowd was buzzing, but understandably nervous due to the fact that there was no respite from the speed and accuracy of Borussia Dortmund. My feeling is that Bosz was keen not to allow Spurs to play their possession-based recycling game and in that they certainly succeeded in the first half. Spurs had scored through great counter-attacking situations – like all good teams do!
Jan Vertonghen made a great intervention to prevent a Pulisic ball reaching the feet of goal-machine Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Aubameyang had a “goal” disallowed in the second half, but he has now failed to score in two successive games, which is a rarity in his current form where he recently scored in 8 successive Dortmund games. Hugo Lloris raced out to take the ball off Aubameyang’s feet when he tried to reach Shinji Kagawa’s threaded pass. Aubameyang tried to turn provider with a low cross from the right for Pulisic, but the American (who will be 19 next Monday) turned his shot the wrong side of the post. Dortmund did have the ball in the net in these latter stages of the first half, but the offside flag had clearly been raised and the whistle blown before the shot was hit.
Early in the second half Eriksen and Dier were forward and the ball was fed to Aurier on the right whose low cross ran straight to the keeper. At the other end, Lloris was out to thwart Aubameyang again after a Davinson Sanchez error. Sanchez did not have such a comfortable game today, but then he was up against a formidable opponent in Aubameyang.
Aurier was forward again on the right and passed inside to Eriksen who teed up Kane for a shot where he could well have scored (should well have?), but fired over the bar. Kane then set up Son, who should also have found the net, but who hit a right footed shot outside the keeper’s left post. Aubameyang had the ball in the net after a corner and a cross from the right, but again the offside flag had been raised, and Spurs were saved. TV replays show that the assistant running the line had flagged two retreating players, whilst Aubameyang had not been in an offside position. Fortune had favoured Spurs on this occasion. Aubameyang took a free kick from 25 yards after 58 minutes, but this was safely over the bar.
Harry Kane made it 3-1 on the hour, following a Spurs move from the right and a final ball by Eriksen to Kane towards the left of the area. Harry scored with a very well placed finish low to the keeper’s left corner, scoring two goals in his second successive game. Harry is up and running, and showing he can score on the greatest stage.
Aurier and Eriksen combined on the right and Eriksen’s deep lofted cross reached Ben Davies, whose low shot could only be parried by Burki in the Dortmund goal. The German defence cleared. Hugo Lloris saved low from that man Aubameyang again after a Gotze corner taken from the right. Son was nearly through at the other end, but he was intercepted at the expense of a Spurs corner. This was taken by Eriksen to whom the ball was returned by Son. Eriksen crossed and Toby Alderweireld headed over. Harry Kane seized upon a long ball and passed to Eriksen on his left. Eriksen was convinced his shot took a defender’s tough, but referee Gianluca Rocchi gave a goal kick. Similarly, Eriksen provided for Kane, whose shot across goal also seemed to take a deflection. The additional assistant was almost next to the situation, but missed the action, which caused this observer some angst!
Spurs closed the game out successfully. The only blemish was a second yellow being shown to Jan Vertonghen in added time, which means he will miss that trip to Cyprus in just under two weeks. This certainly was a great European night for our beloved Spurs!
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