Tottenham winger Erik Lamela stole the show in a thumping 5-1 defeat of Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League on Thursday night. The Argentine scored arguably the goal of the season, whilst adding another goal later on during a fabulous night at White Hart Lane. The superb hat-trick from England forward Harry Kane only boosted the positive show from Spurs. Kane’s unlucky late appearance in goal to replace Hugo Lloris capped off an eventful night for Mauricio Pochettino’s team.
The game began on a rather dull note. A reduced capacity White Hart Lane was unaware of the spectacle ahead, with Tottenham fan group “the 1882 movement”, particularly loud in the opening stages. Scrappy fouls became the prominent feature of the first few minutes, with the match official Ivan Kruzliak awarding Ben Davies a free-kick deep inside the Asteras half.
The visitors came closest to going ahead on the seventh minute. Facundo Parra broke through the Spurs back-line and struck a weighted ball across the box and just wide of the post. But it was the lively England under-21 striker Harry Kane that looked the brightest of the bunch. Picking the ball up on the edge of the area, the youngster hit a dipping ball towards goal, with the swerve of the ball taking it just past the post.
Tottenham took the lead on the 13th minute. Harry Kane received the ball just outside the area, and after composing himself thrashed a dipping attempt into the goal, past Kosickŷ. The ease of Spurs’ dominance came as a surprise to many, given that the Greek side were top of the group going into the game.
The goal acted as a catalyst for Tottenham to further extend their superiority. Hugo Lloris comfortably saved a chance at the other end with his head, whilst Eric Dier’s dangerous cross into the Tripolis area caused problems for the Slovakian keeper. However the visiting side began to show some ability after a string of chances. The most threatening came after 25 minutes when Zisopoulos headed over for Tripolis from a troublesome free-kick. Moments later, Hugo Lloris was called into action with a save inside the box, only for Ben Davies to make a goal-line clearance to keep his team in the lead.
The moment on everyone’s minds was next in store for the White Hart Lane faithful. Record signing Erik Lamela scored one of the greatest goals witnessed in Europe after 29 minutes. The Argentine cleverly clipped a “rabona” from outside the area into the far corner and emphatically celebrated his world-class effort. The press-box was left stunned at the goal, with various taboo language the only explanation for such a fine effort.
The rest of the half simply could not compare to the moment those inside the stadium had witnessed. The offside flag was rather active from there on. The goal-scorer Lamela picked the ball up at the half-way point keen to build on his performance, but after releasing it to Kane far too late, he was flagged off.
Andros Townsend continued his bubbly start but was caught by Panteliadis after 37 minutes and was awarded a free-kick. The England international almost made it 3-0 to Spurs, however his dipping effort towards the far corner curled over. Tottenham led 2-0 at the break.
The second half continued as equally strong for the home side. Lamela almost doubled his goals for the night when his deflected effort curled behind for a corner. Tripolis’ very own Juan Munafo almost extended Spurs’ lead as his deflected tackle went behind for a corner, narrowly avoiding the own goal.
The battle for plaudits between Harry Kane and Erik Lamela raged on for the majority of the half. The pair both were as equally important defensively as they were going forward, with Lamela’s clearance from a Tripolis corner resulting in an eventual Kane mop-up to rid his defence of any scares.
Linesman Tomaš Mokoš was perhaps the busiest of all during the second spell of play. The Slovakian official caught Pablo Mazza offside three times in a matter of minutes before the hour mark, with Emmanuel Adebayor forcing linesman Tomaš Somolani to do a similar job at the other end.
The goal-fest at the Lane was far from over on the 66th minute. After some tremendous work to force a shooting chance inside the Asteras area, the deflected ball fell once again to Erik Lamela, who fired home a volleyed effort past Kosickŷ. After a barren spell for the club, Lamela struck gold in the Europa League with his second of the night. After much debate over what he brought to the side, it was perhaps necessary that the Argentine proved his worth for the Premier League squad facing Newcastle this weekend. Spurs led 3-0.
Before Mauricio Pochettino even had the chance to bring on Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen, Spurs scored a fourth. Harry Kane collected his second of the evening with yet another fine finish. The Lilywhites had destroyed their opponents and all signs were pointing up for qualification to the next stage.
The events of the final ten minutes of play proved to be the most dramatic spell of the entire fixture. Sealing his hat-trick on the 81st minute, Harry Kane performed a fine header at the far post from a Fazio cross, to extend Spurs’ lead to 5-0.
However the young Englishman hadn’t completed his work for the night. Hugo Lloris found himself on the end of a red card after a reckless challenge on his opponent outside the area. Having used Aaron Lennon as the final substitution, Kane was therefore forced to don the gloves and number one jersey of the Frenchman, to see out the final few minutes. His luck for the evening ran out, as Barrales clipped a weak free-kick in the direction of the striker which eventually found its way into the net. Kane did his best to stop the free-kick but lack of experience prevailed in Tripolis’ first. This didn’t stop the Spurs faithful who continued to launch encouraging chants at their temporary goalkeeper.
The game finished 5-1 to Tottenham who levelled Besiktas on points in Group C.