GROUP J MATCHDAY THREE
THURSDAY 5TH NOVEMBER, 2020
(5.55pm – UK)
LUDOGORETS 1(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(2)
Lucas Moura, 32
Lo Celso, 62
Referee:- Fran Jovic
Assistants:- Ivica Modric & Hrvoje Radic
Fourth official:- Mario Zebec
All officials from Croatia
Ludogorets (4-4-2):- Iliev; Ikoko, Terziev, Verdon, Nedyalkov (Capt.); Cauly Souza, Badji (sub Yordanov, 90+2), Anicet Abel (sub Santana, 59), Yankov (sub Tchibota, 75); Keseru (sub Mitkov, 59), Manu (sub Tekpetey, 46)
Subs not used:- Stoyanov; Cicinho, Moti, Josue Sa;
Booked:- Anicet Abel(foul on Lucas Moura)
Spurs (4-2-1-3):- Hart; Doherty, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies; Sissoko (sub Hojbjerg, 46), Winks; Lo Celso (sub Ndombele, 72); Bale (sub Bergwijn, 65), Kane (Capt.) (sub Vinicius, 46), Lucas Moura (sub Son, 61)
(Armband to Dier)
Subs not used:- Lloris, Austin; Sanchez, Cirkin, White; Dele, Clarke
Booked:- Doherty (foul on Tchibota)
Another landmark goal for Harry Kane
As expected Jose Mourinho went “full power” and fielded a strong side and five strong substitutes after the defeat last Thursday in Antwerp. The highlight of a comfortable win for Spurs was yet another landmark goal for Harry Kane. Kane was captain for his 300th club appearance and scored club goal number 200. On Sunday at West Brom he’ll be looking for his 150th Premier League goal.
Ludogorets are nine-time champions in Bulgaria and lead their table at the moment, but the difference in class was considerable, although Spurs did not always make good use of the ball, or their chances to score. Harry Kane’s goal should have been his third on the night.
Jose made seven changes to the team which started in Antwerp. The Ludogorets side included a man called Elvis who scored a hat-trick last week in a 4-3 defeat against LASK, but he was off at half-time having made little impression. The “Eagles” too often struggled to play the ball out of their own half and gifted the ball to Spurs. The grass looked lush and maybe that was holding up some of the Spurs passes which sometimes did not make their target.
The home side kicked off but Harry’s first chance came after only one minute when the other Harry – Winks – lifted a ball over the defence and Kane managed to lift his shot over the target from 10 yards. Winks was getting forward more than usual, and played well for most of the half. His form dipped in the second half. Kane had another chance – this one self-made – from 22 yards, when he hit a right foot shot which rebounded clear off the inside of goalkeeper Iliev’s left post. Kane had scored four goals past Iliev in England’s 2020 Euro qualifiers against Bulgaria.
Verdon fouled Lo Celso and Bale took the free kick which bounced in front of the keeper, who did manage to save. Lo Celso took the corner which was met in front of the near post by Alderweireld, who headed over. Bale played well in his allotted time. From a central position after 12 minutes he passed to Ben Davies who crossed quickly from the left. Lucas Moura’s shot was blocked. That led to a corner from the left which was taken by Lo Celso and headed home by Kane for that landmark goal. All the Spurs connections knew the significance.
Ludogorets failed to clear their lines after which Bale teed up Lo Celso for a shot which was blocked. After a poor clearance, Lucas Moura had a right foot shot go just wide of the keeper’s right post.
The home team had a corner after 22 minutes and wanted a foul or handball but referee Fran Jovic was not interested. One of his assistants was named Modric!
Lo Celso fed the ball to Kane towards the right of the area. Harry crossed for Lucas Moura, whose effort was blocked. Matt Doherty had a follow-up shot well saved by Iliev. In a subsequent attack Lucas went down in the area when sandwiched by two defenders, but there was no foul. Lucas seemed to have been winded when he fell on the match ball.
Goal number two came in the 32nd minute when Bale passed to Kane who again was towards the right of the area having made good movement ahead of the ball. Kane crossed into the 6-yard zone and Lucas Moura swept the ball into the net. I had begun to worry that our failure to convert chances might cost us, but I relaxed a little now.
A right foot shot by Romanian International Keseru took a deflection and passed just outside Joe Hart’s left post. Hart had hardly had a touch of the ball. Kane had a header go straight to Iliev after good play by Bale and Lucas Moura on the right. He also had a right footed shot from an angle on the right saved by Iliev.
I would suggest that Jose intends to play Sissoko and Hojbjerg on Sunday, as each played 45 minutes tonight. The other half-time substitution was Vinicius for Kane. Sadly, Vinicius did not make the best use of his time, despite team-mates clearly trying to tee him up as the game progressed.
I had to pause my personal relax mode when Ludogorets got a goal back five minutes into the second half. Harry Winks had missed a tackle in the Ludogorets half allowing them to make a run forward. Ultimately, I think it was Winks who tried to block substitute Tekpetey’s shot, but the ball looped over the defence and fell nicely for Keseru who couldn’t miss.
Vinicius hit a shot well over the target from 10 yards after Lo Celso’s short cross from the left. Carlos hit another chance wide of the far post after Bale fed Doherty, who crossed from the right side of the area. After another Doherty cross, the ball came off the back of Vinicius’s head reaching Lucas Moura at the edge of the area. He passed to Hojbjerg, who worked his way forward and tried to get a shot in, but found his path well blocked, but a defence that was now packing the central area.
Lucas was replaced by Heung-min Son whose first touch was to tee up Lo Celso for Spurs’ third goal. Hojbjerg had assisted the assister with a pass to his left from the top of the area. Son’s excellent short pass took out the goalkeeper and a defender. I could relax again!
Joe Hart picked up a deflected shot by Cauly Souza at the other end, before Gareth Bale was replaced by Bergwijn. Bergwijn showed plenty of energy and some skill, without always being successful in his intended passes. Bergwijn had one shot go just wide across the goal after Son’s touch. A tame shot at the other end by substitute Mitkov was easy for Joe Hart. Another chance for Cauly Souza was spurned and put wide after a ball from the right.
Spurs’ final change was Ndombele for Lo Celso. Ludogorets captain Nedyalkov set up Cauly Souza for another chance but the shot was held by Hart.
Bergwijn had another right-footed shot held by the Bulgarian keeper, before Doherty got Spurs’ one booking of the game. After a foul on Ndombele about 25 yards out, Hojbjerg took the kick which was saved and cleared although the keeper had fumbled his save. One of those attempts to tee up Vinicius come from Bergwijn who crossed short from inside the area on the left, but Vinicius’s movement was not good enough.
Spurs managed the closing stages effectively. Once again we have no injuries and Jose should have his pick of the squad for Sunday’s game.
LASK have done what Spurs failed to do last week, and won (1-0) in Antwerp. This puts all three teams on 6 points, with Spurs top of the group on goal difference. The reverse fixtures will be played in three weeks’ time and Spurs must now b e favourites to win their group.
Europa League Group J
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Spurs 3 2 0 1 6-2 4 6
2. Antwerp 3 2 0 1 3-2 1 6
3. LASK 3 2 0 1 5-6 -1 6
4. Ludogorets 3 0 0 3 5-9 -4 0