And that’s how you win a Play-Off. In emphatic style Tottenham secured their spot in a successive Europa League group stage with a 3-0 win over Dinamo Tbilisi securing an 8-0 aggregate win.
The game began with a very slow tempo and Tottenham never threatened despite Jermain Defoe poaching on occasion with a shot just wide and a drive towards the keeper well saved. Through smooth passing and vision, it was clear that if Spurs were to challenge the Tbilisi back-line, the most likely makers of a chance would be either Tom Carroll or Lewis Holtby with Jermain Defoe likely to bag the goal.
The game sprung into life with the first goal of the night. On the 39th minute, Jermain Defoe found his defence splitting run met by a Lewis Holtby pass to which he curled towards goal and past the keeper. The crowd felt particularly relieved at the event as a frustrating half finally had its reward. This seemed to spark further ambition from AVB’s side. Lewis Holtby and Gylfi Sigurdsson found themselves in goal scoring spots throughout the remainder of the half however failed to test the keeper at any stage. Andros Townsend enjoyed a good half on the left flank however some decent balls into the centre were never met, much to the frustration of the crowd.
The second of the night came deep in injury time of the first half. On the 45th(+2) minute of time, Kyle Walker performed a clever step over pass through to the Icelander Gylfi Sigurdsson on the wing whom fizzed a dangerous ball into the middle to which Defoe calmly tapped away to further extend the lead to 2-0. The half time interval came as a relief to the small travelling Tbilisi fans as with a bit of ambition and keen sense of where the goal was, Tottenham looked as if they could continue their goal-scoring habit.
The second half saw the arrival of youngster Harry Kane whom replaced Andros Townsend (likely to feature at Arsenal this weekend). Kane linked well with Tom Carroll and Lewis Holtby and looked up for a fight upon his arrival. Kyle Walker was swiftly replaced for Zeki Fryers whom also had a very exciting half at times with some poaching balls played towards Jermain Defoe. The third and final goal came on the 69th minute of time. After a 30-yard screamer in midweek for the Under-21’s, Lewis Holtby enjoyed most likely his best performance for Tottenham and capped it off nicely with a goal. He picked up the ball outside the area and the rolling ball was fired towards goal whilst coming off the bar and landing over the line. Rapturous applause filled the Lane as Holtby performed a Jurgen Klinsmann tribute with a diving celebration for his fellow countryman.
The game seemed to lose its spark towards the end however an 87th minute Harry Kane driven shot from 30-yards attempted to alter this however the keeper managed to palm it away. A late penalty claim was waved away as Jermain Defoe was hacked down in the area and not given, much to the dismay of the Tottenham faithful.
Friedel – 10/10, Don’t think he had a save all night and was calm under pressure from pass backs.
Walker – 9/10, He got himself caught out on occasion however his skill during the 2nd goal was class
Kaboul – 10/10, Solid at the back and made a good surging run forward down the left
Vertonghen 10/10, Cannot fault Jan, won everything.
Naughton – 8/10, he did lose the ball on occasion but did make some good runs down the left
Carroll – 10/10, Tommy’s passing was superb. His best Tottenham performance yet
Sandro – 8/10, he stupidly got himself booked early but made some good interceptions
Sigurdsson – 8/10, despite striking the bar, Gyfli lacked pace in key areas.
Holtby -10/10, His best Spurs game. Classy goal and controlled the midfield tempo.
Townsend – 9/10, another solid performance with pace and crossing on point.
Defoe – 10/10, A delightful brace confirming he is well and truly a Yiddo.
MOTM: Lewis Holtby
I hope you’ve enjoyed yet another match review. I was lucky enough to be in attendance last night and thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere. Tomorrow see’s our brand new feature: Special Match Preview for the North London Derby where we hear from some Spurs Twitter users what the Derby means to them. Please leave a comment, like and share!