Spurs 1-2 Monaco
Report from Wembley
14 September 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Champions League campaign started with a setback at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday evening as we opened Group E with a 2-1 defeat to Monaco, despite a battling second half performance.
The visitors raced into a two-goal lead within half an hour, Bernardo Silva firing them ahead after 15 minutes before Thomas Lemar doubled their advantage, although they were the only real attempts at goal that Monaco had in that first period.
But we reduced the deficit just before half-time when Toby Alderweireld powered a header past Danijel Subasic to give us something to fight for in the second half and we gave it a real go after the break. Dele Alli had a volley tipped over, Christian Eriksen had a couple of efforts blocked and Subasic was there to deny Harry Kane late in the game as we mounted sustained pressure on the Monaco goal.
Unfortunately, though, we just couldn’t find the breakthrough to level the game and it was the Ligue 1 visitors who left Wembley with the points.
A crowd of 85,011 packed into the stadium, breaking three records in the process. It was our highest home attendance of all time, the highest crowd for an English club at home in the Champions League and the highest attendance ever for a club game in England.
Mauricio Pochettino made just the one change from the side which won so convincingly at Stoke City on Saturday, Erik Lamela coming in for Victor Wanyama. The formation saw Alli drop into the midfield two alongside Eric Dier with Lamela, Eriksen and two-goal hero against Stoke, Heung-Min Son, in the attacking three. Ben Davies continued at left-back while former Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao started up front for Monaco.
Chance: Raggi off the line to deny Son – 8mins
Despite the fantastic atmosphere inside the stadium, the game began fairly cagily with a couple of cleared crosses at either end until we broke forward and almost grabbed the lead on eight minutes. Eriksen’s first-time pass set Kane free down the right, his early cross went all the way through to Son at the back post who took a touch and fired goalwards, only for Andrea Raggi to clear off the line. A few minutes later, another dangerous ball into the Monaco area fell to Alli, but Fabinho blocked his shot.
Goal: Spurs 0-1 Monaco – Bernardo Silva – 15mins
We were starting to apply the pressure, only to fall behind to a sucker-punch on 15 minutes. Lamela lost possession midway inside our half, Silva was immediately attacking our back four and he cut inside Jan Vertonghen before beating Hugo Lloris with a left-foot drive.
Goal: Spurs 0-2 Monaco – Thomas Lemar – 31mins
We kept playing our usual football despite the setback of the first goal and enjoyed plenty of possession without really creating any clear-cut chances, only to concede a second just after the half-hour. Djibril Sidibe had plenty of time to tee up a cross into the area, a few players went up for the ball which then landed kindly for Lemar, who smashed a shot high past Lloris from six yards out.
Above: Mousa Dembele on his return to action for us.
Goal: Spurs 1-2 Monaco – Toby Alderweireld – 45mins
It had been a tough half and the longer it went on, the harder we were finding it but out of nothing we pulled one back. Kane won a corner, Lamela delivered a perfect cross and Alderweireld rose highest to power a header past Subasic. It was just the lift the players and the supporters needed and we so nearly levelled in stoppage time, Lamela again crossing but Alli just unable to get a touch when unmarked on the penalty spot.
Save: Alli close on the volley – 48mins
Mauricio made a half-time change, bringing on Mousa Dembele for his first game back after serving a six-game domestic suspension. Son made way and we were on the front foot right from kick-off of the second half. Kane almost got on the end of cross before Alli tried his luck with a dipping 30-yard volley which Subasic had to tip over the bar.
Chance: Kane denied by Subasic – 78mins
We completely dominated the game in the second half and put Monaco under a sustained spell of pressure. Half-chances came and went, penalty appeals were waved away but we kept battling and had a glorious chance to level 12 minutes from time. Eriksen fed a ball to substitute Vincent Janssen – on for Lamela – down the right channel, he shrugged off Jemerson inside the box and slid a pass to Kane, who took a touch before drilling a shot straight at Subasic. Moussa Sissoko came on for Eric Dier with nine minutes remaining as we continued to chase the game but we couldn’t fashion anything meaningful.
Mauricio Pochettino said
"We feel very disappointed. We started very well and created a few chances to score but then the way we conceded the goals was a bit of a shame and disappointed me a lot because in the Champions League, you cannot concede the goals how we conceded. It was then difficult to manage the game."
Christian Eriksen said
"It's far from good enough and far from what we'd hoped for. We played for 365 days last year to get to this point and then to play like this, it's very disappointing.
"If you look back at the game, I think we had the chances even before they scored to score our goals, even in the second half, but it didn't happen. It made it very difficult for us because we had to come from behind and we didn't take our chances."
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier (Sissoko 81), Alli; Lamela (Janssen 71), Eriksen, Son (Dembele 46); Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Trippier, Carter-Vickers, Wanyama.
Monaco (4-2-3-1): Subasic; Raggi, Glik, Jemerson, Sidibe; Bakayoko, Fabinho; Dirar (Lemar 5), Moutinho, Silva; Falcao (c, Germain 81). Substitutes (not used): De Sanctis, Traore, Jean, Diallo, Toure.
Goals: Spurs – Alderweireld 45; Monaco – Silva 15, Lemar 31.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Kane; Monaco – Glik, Fabinho.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy).
There’s no let-up in the fixtures as we are back in Premier League action this Sunday at White Hart Lane for the visit of Sunderland. David Moyes’ side go into the weekend with just one point to their name, second from bottom in the table and on the back of a 3-0 home defeat to Everton last Monday. The game will see the return of former Spurs Jermain Defoe and Steven Pienaar, while we’ll be looking to preserve our unbeaten record so far on the domestic scene.