Lo Celso, Son shine against Red Star
Crvena zvezda 0-4 Spurs - Champions League Group B
Wed 06 November 2019, 22:30|Tottenham Hotspur
Giovani Lo Celso scored on his full debut and Heung-Min Son struck twice as we breached Crvena zvezda's fortress Rajko Mitic Stadium to leave us in a commanding position to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Christian Eriksen was also on target as we became the first English team to topple Crvena zvezda on home soil in the European Cup/Champions League. Indeed, in 10 matches against English opposition in Europe, only Arsenal (Europa League, 2017) and Bolton (UEFA Cup, 2007) had beaten Crvena zvezda in Belgrade.
A commanding performance wasn't without a scare or two - most notably Paulo Gazzaniga's point-blank save from Milan Pavkov with the scoreline still at 0-0 in the first half - but we controlled the game from the first to last whistle.
The result moves us onto seven points in Group B and victory over Olympiacos in Matchday Five at the new stadium on Tuesday 26 November will see us join Bayern Munich in the knockout stage of the competition. The Bundesliga champions booked their place in the last 16 by beating Olympiacos earlier on Wednesday.
Mauricio Pochettino made five changes to the team that started at Everton. Most notably, there was a first start for Lo Celso and a first start of the season for Juan Foyth, in at right-back. Eric Dier returned to start at centre-back and Harry Kane was back after illness.
Early possession helped dampen the spirits of the home fans. Kane and Son both went close but with 23 minutes on the clock, Crvena zvezda were suddenly clean through in front of our goal. Pavkov got the run of the ball on the edge of the box and only had Gazzaniga to beat - he couldn't do it, as an outstretched leg turned the chance away.
We forged ahead with a crazy goal. Lo Celso instigated it by winning the ball on halfway and leading the charge. He played in Kane, who hit the post. Son's follow up was cleared off the line, Dele may have been fouled, Tanguy Ndombele played it back in, Kane volleyed across goal, Son turned the ball against the crossbar and then Lo Celso, calm in the storm, controlled and pinged into the top corner, his first Spurs goal.
The pattern continued for the rest of the half but again, despite our control, Crvena zvezda carved out another chance from nowhere. This time Rajiv van la Parra was played in right side, he struck the post and Davinson Sanchez played the rebound back onto his own crossbar before we cleared.
Pavkov had another chance four minutes into the second half but we went into overdrive from there. Ndombele played a huge part in the key second goal on 52 minutes, breaking from deep and then finding the pass to Dele on the edge of the box. Dele rolled into Son who rapped the ball into the top corner.
It was 3-0 four minutes later as Kane played a delightful pass inside Mateo Garcia for Rose darting into the box and the full-back's cross was perfect for Son to convert at the far post. Oliver Skipp and Ryan Sessegnon both came off the bench for their first Champions League appearances and Sessegnon picked up an assist straight away. The move was similar to the third goal as this time Rose played in Sessegnon inside the full-back, Sessegnon squared to Eriksen who found the bottom corner from 10 yards.
There were many - Lo Celso's opener is an obvious starting point and then Son's second to give us a deserved cushion, but the key moment has to be Gazzaniga's save from Pavkov with the scoreline still goalless in the first half. We may well have still been too good on the night but, as they say, goals change games...
Speaking after the victory in Belgrade, Mauricio told us: "We all feel happy. It was a great performance, I’m very pleased and that’s the way we need to approach the games. We needed a victory like today, I’m so happy with the three points and it’s a big step to build our confidence and trust to now perform in the best way. We need to win games in the Premier League too and to get into a better position in the table and I think this type of victory can help a lot."
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Crvena zvezda 0-4 Spurs - Champions League, Group B
Crvena zvezda: Starting XI: Borjan, Gobeljic (Jander 46), Milunovic, Degenek, Rodic, Jovancic (Canas 62), Petrovic, Garcia (Boakye 68), Marin (C), Van la Parra, Pavkov. Substitutes (not used): Popovic, Pankov, Vulic, Simic.
Spurs: Gazzaniga, Foyth, Dier, Sanchez, Rose, Ndombele, Sissoko, Dele (Eriksen 62), Son (Sessegnon 75), Lo Celso (Skipp 86), Kane (C). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Alderweireld, Davies, Lucas.
Goals: Spurs - Lo Celso 34, Son 57, 60, Eriksen 85.
Yellow cards: Crvena zvezda - Petrovic 65. Spurs - Dier 30, Skipp 90+2.
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP).
Attendance: To follow...
Venue: Rajko Mitic Stadium, Belgrade.
Weather: Cloudy, 13 degrees at kick-off.