Goals from Dele, Harry Kane and an own goal from CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev cancelled out Alan Dzagoev’s first-half opener for the visitors, the win seeing us finish third in Group E and qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League in the process.
We were the dominant side in the first half and the Russians had Akinfeev to thank for keeping the game goalless as he made saves from Heung-Min Son, Christian Eriksen and Dele. But it was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play when Dzagoev tucked home past Hugo Lloris in the 33rd minute.
Just five minutes later though we were level when Dele controlled Eriksen’s deep cross and curled a delightful effort past Akinfeev. And we were ahead before half-time, Eriksen and Danny Rose combining for Kane to tap in from six yards out.
It was a similar story after the break as we continued to carve out good opportunities, Kane, Dele and Eriksen all going close, while there was the bonus of the return of Toby Alderweireld as he came off the bench with 22 minutes remaining for his first action since October 15.
We wrapped up the game in the 77th minute when Kane’s cross was headed goalwards by Dele and although Akinfeev kept out his effort, as the keeper fell to the ground he flicked the ball into the net with his leg.
Mauricio Pochettino fielded a strong line-up for the fixture, with just one change from the side which beat Swansea City at the weekend – Harry Winks coming into midfield in place of Mousa Dembele. Alderweireld was back in the matchday squad for the first time since mid-October and came on for Victor Wanyama midway through the second period.
SAVE: AKINFEEV DENIES ERIKSEN – 13mins
After a cagey opening few minutes we soon got into our stride and had three opportunities to take the lead. First, Dele headed just past the post from Eriksen’s first-time cross on six minutes, Akinfeev then kept out Son’s shot from a tight angle before the best chance on 13 minutes. Kyle Walker drilled a pass in to Kane whose lovely touch released Eriksen through on goal, but Akinfeev saved the Dane’s right foot shot with his legs and the rebound was cleared.
Above: Danny Rose gets away from Alan Dzagoev.
GOAL: SPURS 0-1 CSKA – ALAN DZAGOEV – 33mins
We should have taken the lead in the 25th minute when Eriksen’s clever dink over the defence found Dele in on goal but his weak effort was saved by Akinfeev and we were punished six minutes later. A long ball from Bibras Natcho was flicked on by Zoran Tosic into the path of Dzagoev and he slotted his effort past Lloris.
GOAL: SPURS 1-1 CSKA – DELE – 38mins
Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long to draw level, this time Dele showing his true goalscoring instinct with a fine effort. The build-up started on the right-hand corner of the box, Walker playing the ball out to Eriksen whose first time cross found Dele, he took one touch before curling a lovely right-foot shot past Akinfeev. Five minutes later, though, we needed Lloris to make a save low down to his left to keep out Georgi Milanov’s shot on a CSKA counter-attack.
GOAL: SPURS 2-1 CSKA – HARRY KANE – 45+1mins
The first-half turnaround was complete just seconds before the referee blew for the interval – and it was a goal as delightful as it was straight-forward. Eriksen was again the orchestrator, clipping a lovely pass out to Rose on the left-hand side of the area and his first-time side-footed centre was converted by Kane, unmarked, six yards out.
GOAL: SPURS 3-1 CSKA – IGOR AKINFEEV (OG) – 77mins
Chances were coming thick and fast in the second half as we continued to boss the game. Kane headed Walker’s cross over then fired a free-kick straight at Akinfeev, Dele shot over the bar from 15 yards, Akinfeev kept out Eriksen’s free-kick from wide on the left and then denied Kane on the stretch from Eriksen’s superb ball to the back post. But the third goal did arrive on 77 minutes when Dele met Kane’s cross with a close-range header, Akinfeev saved but as he fell back, the ball hit his leg and bounced over the line.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO SAID
"It was good, we started to show how we played against Chelsea and Swansea and today confirmed we’ve increased our level. We were much better. I’m happy because we have the opportunity to play more games here and make Wembley our home."
HARRY KANE SAID
"It was important to finish the campaign strongly and with a win here at Wembley. It could have been more than three in the end but it's a great result and we're happy to be in the Europa League. We moved the ball very well today, we found spaces in behind, the performance was better and it was good to end the group with a bit of pride here tonight."
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Winks, Wanyama (Alderweireld 68), Son (Nkoudou 61), Dele, Eriksen, Kane (Onomah 83). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Wimmer, Dembele, Sissoko.
CSKA (4-2-3-1): Akinfeev (C), Nababkin, V Berezutski, A Berezutski, Schennikov, Nacho, Dzagoev, Tosic (Gordyushenko 70), Golovin (Chalov 46), Milanov, Traore (Strandberg 79). Substitutes (not used): Chepchugov, Ignashevich.
Goals: Spurs – Dele 38, Kane 45+1, Akinfeev (OG) 77; CSKA – Dzagoev 33.
Yellow cards: CSKA – Schennikov, V Berezutski.
Referee: Nicola Rizzola (Italy).
We’re off to Old Trafford this weekend as we make a return to Premier League action against Manchester United. Jose Mourinho’s side are one place below us in sixth in the table, but are six points adrift as well. They have won once in their last eight Premier League games and are away to Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League on Thursday night.