Harry Kane netted a hat-trick and Erik Lamela scored twice – including a truly magical strike – as we romped to a 5-1 win to register our first victory in Group C of this season’s Europa League on Thursday night.
And, on the night that we remembered the late, great Bill Nicholson on the 10th anniversary of his sad passing, it was fitting that this should be our 100th victory in European competition.
It was certainly an eventful match for Academy product Kane, who was impressive in front of goal as he grabbed his treble, and then ended the evening in between the sticks after Hugo Lloris was dismissed in the 87th minute and we had used all our substitutes. He only had to face one shot, but unfortunately couldn’t keep out Jeronimo Barrales’ free-kick to give the visitors a consolation goal on the night.
But the big talking point was without doubt Lamela’s amazing and audacious goal on 29 minutes, curling a ‘Rabona’ effort from 20 yards into the top corner of the Asteras net! It was one of those ‘I was there’ moments.
Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino made six changes to the side which lost at Manchester City at the weekend, shuffling his pack again during this busy spell of matches.
It was the visitors who fired the first shot across the bows after just six minutes, as Pablo Mazza latched onto Fernando Usero’s ball but his shot from the edge of the area drifted wide of the far post. Almost immediately at the other end, Kane’s effort from 25 yards left the visiting goalkeeper Tomas Kosicky equally untroubled.
But seven minutes later, Kane did hit the target – and the back of the net – to register his fifth of the season. It was a patient build up midway inside the Asteras half, as we probed for an opening against a packed defence. Lamela laid it inside to Etienne Capoue who shifted it on to Kane and he took a touch and simply lashed a low, right-footed drive past Kosicky and in off the post.
Asteras certainly carried a threat though and Lloris needed to be alert on 19 minutes, rushing off his line to head the danger away from Tasos Tsokanis, while at the other end Kosicky was also out quickly to deny Capoue after a fine move involving Emmanuel Adebayor and Kane.
Giorgos Zisopoulos headed over at the far post from Martin Rolle’s free-kick as Asteras threatened to level and we needed the intervention of Ben Davies to preserve our lead on 29 minutes. Tsokanis’ ball over the top evaded the defence and fell to Facunda Parra, whose first shot was saved by Lloris but the rebound fell kindly to him, only for Davies to block his second effort on the line.
But we went straight up the other end of the pitch and scored a truly remarkable goal through Lamela. Adebayor tried to wriggle through on the edge of the area but the ball was cleared as far as our Argentine midfielder, who wrapped his left foot around his right and sent a curling ‘Rabona’ effort into the top corner that literally made the White Hart Lane crowd gasp in almost disbelief!
We were well on top at this stage and almost added a third five minutes before the break. Townsend’s magnificent 50 yard pass from left to right found Adebayor, the ball ran kindly to Townsend via Lamela and Kane and the England international sent a 30 yard effort just past Kosicky’s far upright.
And we were on the front foot straight away after the interval as Adebayor headed Townsend’s cross down for Lamela but his 18-yard drive was blocked for a corner, while Khalifa Sankare almost turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Adebayor shortly after.
At the other end, Braian Lluy cracked a 25-yard volley goalwards following a cleared corner which rebounded around in the area, but Kane was alert to the loose ball and whacked clear. Just before the hour mark, Kane was involved again, this time in front of the Asteras goal when his placed right-foot shot was saved by Kosicky after good work again from Lamela and Adebayor.
But the Slovakian goalkeeper could do nothing on 66 minutes as the impressive Lamela grabbed his second. It didn’t have the stunning quality of the first but there was still plenty to admire as his initial effort with his right foot was blocked and looped up in the air, but he volleyed the rebound with his left and it was into the net in a flash.
Lloris then produced a magnificent diving save to deny Usero’s volley on the turn from Rolle’s clipped pass.
That was a rare foray forwards by Asteras, however, as we continued to dominate and duly added a fourth goal 15 minutes from time when Lamela played a short corner to Mousa Dembele, whose fierce drive was only parried by Kosicky and Kane bundled home the rebound for his second of the night.
Kane completed his hat-trick on 81 minutes when he nodded home Federico Fazio’s cross from close range and there was late drama as Lloris rushed from his line to tackle Tsokanis, but upended the Greek midfielder outside his area and duly saw red.
With all allowed substitutes used, Kane donned the goalkeeper’s jersey and gloves and went in goal for the resultant free-kick, Barrales’ low drive squirming from the striker’s grasp and rolling into the net. Fortunately the goals at the other end meant it mattered little!
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Dier, Vertonghen, Fazio, Dembele, Capoue, Townsend (Lennon 83), Kane, Lamela (Eriksen 76), Adebayor (Chadli 77). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Chiriches, Stambouli, Soldado.
Asteras (4-1-4-1): Kosicky, Lluy, Sankare, Zisopoulos, Panteliadis, Munafo, Tsokanis, Rolle (Barrales 73), Usero, Mazza (Bakasetas 82), Parra (Fernandez 80). Substitutes (not used): Theodoropoulos, Badibanga, Gianniotas, Kiriakopoulos.
Goals: Spurs – Kane 13,75, 81, Lamela 29, 66; Asteras – Barrales 89.
Yellow card: Asteras – Panteliadis.
Red card: Spurs - Lloris.
Referee: Ivan Kruzliak.