Match Review – Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 AEL Limassol (Agg. 5-1)

The game began on a rather quiet note. The almost empty White Hart Lane witnessed a slow start with Townsend conceding an early freekick, and only a selection of throw-ins to date.

However, the game sparked into life just minutes later. Tottenham were awarded a penalty as Kyle Naughton came thundering down the right side, only for the goalkeeper to completely take the right-back down. Despite a positive moment for Spurs, the Limassol goalkeeper came out of the challenge in a bad state. After seven minutes of attention by the medical team, Fegrouch was finally stretchered off with applause from the White Hart Lane faithful.

The negative start was continued, as Harry Kane stepped up to take the penalty, only for his powerful strike to be saved by the substitute goalkeeper. This unfortunate effort however seemed to ‘spur’ the home side on. Kane had a chance to redeem himself moments later. His long range effort was saved by the keeper, only for the rebound to be just out of reach for the incoming Paulinho.

Sandro and Ben Davies attempted to change the fortunes of Mauricio Pochettino’s side with some clever play in the area. The pair connected well with several short passes, but we’re let down by Davies’ final touch, which was collected well by the keeper. Davies started the game brightly with passing a clear strength of the former Swansea left-back.

Tottenham continued to plug away. A Kane header was fired just over the bar on the 28 minute mark, with Mousa Dembélé dragging a shot wide just moments after. Spurs were building some pressure, and the early chance was driving them on. This was rewarded with the opening goal of the night. Harry Kane picked the ball up from Paulinho and sprinted into the box, placing a composed effort into the goal. Spurs led 1-0 at the break, and deservedly so.

After a moderately dull first half, Spurs were much more exciting after the interval. Dembélé, Sandro and Paulinho came out looking new players, and were fighting for every single ball. The second half got off to a flyer! Paulinho made it 2-0 to Tottenham after Vlad Chiriches did tremendously well to battle for the ball and supply the assist. Paulinho’s second half was drastically better, and this was evident through his workrate. Perhaps a half time talk from Pochettino changed his mind-frame. His assist for a cheeky Aaron Lennon effort took place just moments later, with a goal-line header keeping it out.

Spurs rounded off the night with a penalty. Kyle Naughton attempted to cross the ball inside the area, only for the Limassol defender to handle the ball. ITV commentators Gordon Strachan and Jermain Jenas felt the decision was harsh, however the referee gave the decision. Andros Townsend had been struggling up until this moment, and Kane saw the penalty as a chance to help his team-mate change his fortunes. Townsend stepped up and buried the ball, to put his side 3-0 up. The sign of relief on his face was evident after a less than promising game from the English winger.

The second half came to a close with only a handful of efforts to mention. Paulinho concluded his smashing half with an excellent acrobatic effort, which was saved from the keeper. New signing Ben Davies too had a go, with his long-range drive drifting wide of the post. It finished Tottenham 3, AEL Limassol 0.

Player Ratings

Lloris – Made some risky runs but a comfortable night. (Good)

Naughton – Won both penalties and played well (Good)
Kaboul – Solid at the back all night (Good)
Chiriches – Superb performance. Great to have him back (Excellent)
Davies – Excellent passing. Good night (Good)

Sandro – The beast was solid. Much better (Very good)
Paulinho – Second half was much improved (Good)
Dembélé – Took him time to get going, fitness played a part (Average)
Townsend – Good penalty but poor all round (Poor)
Lennon – Not his best night, despite a good chip effort (Average)

(MOTM) Kane – Outstanding workrate and goal (Excellent)



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