UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP B
WEDNESDAY 6TH NOVEMBER, 2019
CRVENA ZVEZDA 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4(1)
Lo Celso, 34
Referee:- Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Assistants:- Juan Carlos Yuste (ESP), Roberto Alonso (ESP)
Fourth official:- José Luis Munuera Montero (ESP)
Video Assistant Referee:- José María Sánchez (ESP)
Assistant Video Assistant Referee:- Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)
Crvena zvezda (4-2-3-1):- Borjan; Gobeljic (sub Ribeiro Santana, 46), Milunovic, Degenek, Rodic; Jovancic (sub Canas, 62) Petrovic; Garcia (sub Boakye, 68), Marin (Capt.), Van La Parra; Pavkov
Subs not used:- Popovic; Pankov; Vulic, Simic
Booked:- Petrovic (foul on Rose)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Gazzaniga; Foyth, Dier, Sanchez, Rose; Sissoko, Ndombele; Lo Celso (sub Skipp, 86), Dele (sub Eriksen, 62), Son (sub Sessegnon, 75); Kane (Capt.)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Alderweireld, Davies; Lucas Moura
Booked:- Dier (foul on Pavkov), Skipp (foul on Boakye)
Slick Spurs gain 4-stroke win!
If the 5-0 home win against Crvena zvezda was their best home win in Champions League football, this 4-0 win was surely Spurs’ best away win in the competition. Spurs endured one or two nightmares by a profligate Red Star side, and had Paulo Gazzaniga to thank for a couple of fine saves (one with his outstretched left foot), before overcoming the home side with a performance of slick, confident football. The performance has to be gauged by the apparent different level of the Serbian team, but if Spurs can replicate this type of performance in the Premier League they will surely climb up the domestic table. As a result of these back to back wins against Red Star, Spurs have all but secured another passage to the Round of 16, with a home match against Olympiacos to follow later this month. If all goes according to form, the last game in Munich could be a dead rubber.
The Spurs team seemed to enjoy this performance, not least Giovani Lo Celso, given his first Spurs start, which was capped by a first club goal at the end of a concerted Spurs attack in which they hit the woodwork twice. Son Heung-min added two goals, which he celebrated with humility and a gesture towards Andre Gomes, who was so horribly injured in last Sunday’s Everton game. Gomes is making a recovery and Son’s red card issued by Martin Atkinson and confirmed by VAR Anthony Taylor has since been rescinded. Even out of form Christian Eriksen added a fourth goal for Spurs, created by a confident Ryan Sessegnon, at last getting more than Sunday’s token appearance. In his fifteen minutes at the end of this game, the goal was not the only time Sessegnon teed up Eriksen.
Eric Dier, making his first Champions League start for Spurs this season, had a very good game beside Davinson Sanchez, and Tanguy Ndombele grows in confidence and stature. The partnership with Moussa Sissoko is beginning to click.
I wouldn't call the atmosphere in the Rajko Mitic Stadium intimidating for the Spurs players, or indeed their travelling army of over 1,000 fans. The home crowd was certainly vociferous in their support, whistling many touches of the visiting side, but I was not aware of anything other than reasonable chanting and support. This was a factor that continued long into the period after the game, when Spurs fans were held in their section (very poor facilities by the way) for an hour after the game. Even this is not a length of time reaching previous delays imposed upon Liverpool last year and Arsenal in the past. Incidentally there was some irony in the fact that Spurs fans starting singing “You play Thursday because…..” when they realised that Arsenal were also playing last night, but of course in the Europa League. There were a good number of vacant seats in the home section for this game.
Both sides played 4-2-3-1. The early pattern of play was for Red Star to fire long balls forward to their runners such as Pavkov and Van la Parra. They gave the Spurs defence one two scares too, but good defensive skills were demonstrated. It wasn’t long before Spurs dominated possession (67% in the first half), which ultimately reaped rich rewards.
Red Star kicked off and one of their early threats followed a poor clearance by Danny Rose. At the other end, Rose released Son on the left with a good ball, but “Sonny” was signalled offside. After 18 minutes, Dele won the ball back in midfield with a determined challenge and then won a free kick, but nothing came of that. Moussa Sissoko enjoyed a good spell in midfield, instigating good moves b Ndombele and others. The best move led to a flick by Dele, a pass by Lo Celso and a shot across goal by Son..
Spurs had some desperate defending to do after 22 minutes against Van La Parra and Pavkov before Gazzaniga made his first meaningful save with that outstretched left foot. The Spurs defence swarmed around their area in support of their keeper. Spurs had a free kick and a corner after 26 minutes, before Sissoko had a shot that was very wide and very high! Ndombele hit a piercing diagonal ball for Son, but the home defence cleared.
Spurs’ opening goal followed a n excellent midfield win by Lo Celso, who passed to Kane on his right. Kane’s shot was placed, rather than hit with power, and rebounded off Borjan’s left post. Son’s follow-up was blocked in front of goal, before Kane crossed low for Son to hit the bar with another shot before finally Lo Celso found the net from close range. Spurs were now spending a lot of time in their opponents’ half, but they had a scare two minutes before the break when I think Gazzaniga got a touch to Van La Parra’s shot which rebounded off the post. Davinson Sanchez got an involuntary touch on the rebound and the ball then hit Spurs’ bar before Gazzaniga patted clear.
At the start of the second half. Crvena zvezda coach Vladan Milojevic replaced right back Gobeljic with Ribeiro. Two minutes into the second half, dele fed Kane who advanced between two defenders but stumbled in the box. Ndombele was caught in possession in his own half but Pavkov wasted his chance, shooting wide of Gazzaniga’s right post. Spurs had a corner and Lo Celso sent a good cross to the back post where goalkeeper Borjan flapped the ball away from the likes of Eric Dier. Spurs increased their lead following g a driving run by Tanguy Ndombele, a pass by Dele Alli and a shot into the roof of the net by Son Heung-min who clasped his hands together in a gesture clearly aimed towards the injured Andre Gomes.
The Red Star fans were undaunted and kept singing. Paulo Gazzaniga got down well to hold a long shot by Pavkov. Son had a second goal within minutes following another slick move where Danny rose got on the end of a well-weighted Harry Kane pass, and crossed for Son to fire home this time from the right of the area.
Mauricio Pochettino’s first change was to replace dele with Eriksen, who overall played much better than his recent form, although he was not immune to a mistake or two. Eriksen hit a cross from the right for which both Kane an d Lo Celso challenged, but a goal kick was the result. Double goal scorer Son was replaced Ryan Sessegnon with great applause for both players by the Spurs section. Another Eriksen pass gave Lo Celso a chance, but this shot was wide.
Crvena went down to 10 men when Pavkov had to leave the field with a nasty ankle injury after he had fallen awkwardly. The Rajko Mitic stadium has a cart, not just a stretcher. Sessegnon’s first impactive pass to Eriksen was held by the goalkeeper when Eriksen shot, but in the 85th minute, Eriksen did get a second club goal of the season, and his seventh Champions League goal. Christian took a couple of touches when he received the ball, and his final shot was deflected past Borjan’s right hand. Red Star had to play the final minutes of added time with just 9 men as another player was injured and could not be replaced.
This was a another comprehensive Champions League win for a Spurs side which will hopefully draw more confidence from their performance. Saturday’s home game against Sheffield United will be far more difficult.
Champions League Group B
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Bayern Munich 4 4 0 0 15-4 +11 12
2. Spurs 4 2 1 1 13-9 +4 7
3. Crvena zvezda 4 1 0 3 3-13 -10 3
4. Olympiacos 4 0 1 3 5-10 -5 1