Besiktas began the game strongest out of the two sides. The Turkish opponents were hot on the heels of Spurs, eager to hunt down every ball. Tottenham were facing a familiar face in Demba Ba and he was very strong in the opening minutes. He then picked up a booking for an elbow on Vlad Chiriches and this seemed to contain the striker. Ben Davies was into the book moments later for a hasty challenge.
Hugo Lloris endured a moment of panic as the former Chelsea striker hit an effort against the bar, sending Twitter a blaze with “Ba” puns. Townsend made up for some earlier poor attacking moments with an excellent piece of defending. The England winger came back in typical Aaron Lennon fashion to sweep up the ball and continue with play.
Around the 20 minute mark, Spurs began to come into the game. Some good link-up play between Eric Dier and Benjamin Stambouli was not to go unnoticed. The young Englishman was unlucky not to control his touch which would have positioned nicely inside the box. Nabil Bentaleb was beginning to replay his performance against Nottingham Forest, as he continued to lose the ball in midfield. A Scott Parker-esque turn inside his own box a particularly scary moment for Spurs fans.
Tottenham’s good work in the final third was to be rewarded as they took the lead. Harry Kane picked up the ball from Bentaleb (who made a superb turn), and took it to the left hand side of the goal. Drawing in two defenders, the striker then smashed an effort across the face of goal and put the hosts ahead.
Despite not holding the lead, Besiktas came out to terrorise Spurs. Hugo Lloris made a potential save of the season to prevent this, with his excellent foot preventing the goal. Ben Davies did well down the left side to provide a ball for Harry Kane moments later, but it whistled over the bar. Townsend looked to double Tottenham’s lead before the interval. His cross was collected by the keeper, however any touch from the incoming Paulinho and it would have been 2-0 Spurs. The hosts entered the break ahead.
The second half began poorly for Tottenham. Despite being faultless in the air, Fazio was booked for a tussle with Demba Ba, with his teammate Nabil Bentaleb picking up a yellow moments later. A selection of Townsend shots over the bar were all to note before the hour mark, when the game really began to heat up.
Hugo Lloris continued his fine form with a stunning save after Besiktas came racing through the middle. The Frenchman noted after the game he was pleased with the performance against “a big Turkish side.” Nabil Bentaleb was unlucky not to double the lead when his shot narrowly went wide. Soldado worked well before the chance to set the shot up.
The game really began to heat up around the 70 minute mark. The referee missed two awful fouls on Dembélé and Kane and awarded nothing as a result. The fans inside the Lane became frustrated with this, as did the captain who came racing out of his goal to challenge the official. Kane was unlucky not to score again when his thunderous effort was saved by the keeper. Lloris continued to deny the Turks at the other end.
The deciding moment of the game came inside the final ten minutes. Vlad Chiriches concluded his terrible night when he handled inside his own area. This resulted in a booking and penalty, of which Demba Ba calmly finished. The game finished one-a-piece.
*MOTM* Lloris – Faultless. Wonderful. (Excellent)
Dier – Comfortable night (Good)
Chiriches – Didn’t deserve the shirt tonight (Poor)
Fazio – Won every aerial duel. (Good)
Davies – Looked a little clueless at times. Some good deliveries (Average)
Bentaleb – Good assist for Kane. Otherwise poor. (Average)
Stambouli – Skilful throughout, played well (Good)
Paulinho – Terrible, made no impact whatsoever (Poor)
Townsend – Defended better than his forward movement (Average)
Soldado – Little impact with lack of service (Average)
Kane – Superb goal and overall performance (Very good)