MATCH REPORT: SPURS 6, FAMAGUSTA 1
We will take a five-goal advantage to Cyprus in two weeks time after Anorthosis Famagusta were comprehensively defeated by a 6-1 margin at White Hart Lane.
We will take a five-goal advantage to Cyprus in two weeks time after Anorthosis Famagusta were comprehensively defeated by a 6-1 margin at White Hart Lane.There were seasonal first goals for Michael Dawson, Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe (2), while Younes Kaboul and Darren Bent chipped in with their second.
There was an ideal start to this season's Euro-trail on four minutes when a corner from Tom Huddlestone was met at the corner of the six yard box by the head of Kaboul, who nodded home sweetly beyond Arian Beqaj for his second goal in our colours.
Aaron Lennon was back buzzing down the right flank, Benoit Assou-Ekotto made a welcome return on the opposite side, while there were also places for Didier Zokora and Darren Bent, with Radek Cerny taking over from Paul Robinson in goal. The England No.1 sitting on the bench as a precaution due to a slight knee problem.
The lead should have been doubled with ten minutes on the clock when Lambros Lambrou clearly took the legs of Bent away in the area and those in the stadium waited for referee Mr Dondarini to point to the spot, but the Italian simply waved play on.
Keane should have opened his account for the season after being slipped through by Steed Malbranque, but Beqaj managed to divert away. Bent was twice a threat towards the half hour mark, first just missing a low Keane centre before again being a matter of inches away from making a connection when Assou-Ekotto provided the supply line from the other side.
Five minutes before the break the advantage was extended and it was another central defender, Michael Dawson, who made the scoresheet when he pounced on a Pascal Chimbonda knock down from a Huddlestone corner.
Three minutes later Keane did get off the mark, when he flicked up an Assou-Ekotto ball and struck left footed beyond Beqaj. Bent then got in on the act when he capitalised on Nikos Katsavakis hooking the ball over his own keeper from a Huddlestone long ball. There was still a fair bit to do and the striker was really on the stretch in sliding home from an acute angle.
A Chimbonda toe poke from another Huddlestone corner nearly got us back in the goalscoring swing at the beginning of the second half, while Bent was not too far away with his header from the next corner taken by the midfielder.
It was time for Defoe shortly after the hour, with Keane making way in a change that sparked a huge ovation for both players. Dawson was handed the armband by the departing skipper, who will have been happy with his night's work and hoping his opening goal leads to a flurry in forthcoming games.
The little hitman did not take long to get going, accepting a Bent knock back before delightfully chipping Beqaj with the ball flighted perfectly into the top corner. The celebrations were long and it was obvious what the goal meant to him.
The next change was the introduction of Adel Taarabt in place of Malbranque, with Gareth Bale coming on for the impressive Assou-Ekotto with ten minutes remaining. However, on 81 minutes Famagusta grabbed a consolation when Anton Zlogar toe poked beyond a pretty much unsighted Cerny from about ten yards.
There was a gloss finish to the fixture in stoppage time when Huddlestone picked out Defoe in an advanced position and the substitute strode forward a little further before dispatching the most superb curling effort past Beqaj in near enough into the top left hand corner.
It turned out to be a good night and you wouldn't now expect particularly generous odds on us progressing to the UEFA Cup group stage.