Five alive! Back to winning ways in style
Spurs 5-0 Crvena zvezda
Tue 22 October 2019, 21:52|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Champions League campaign was placed firmly back on track on Tuesday evening as we brushed aside Crvena zvezda 5-0 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to register our biggest-ever win in the competition.
Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son each scored twice and Erik Lamela got on the scoresheet on what was his 200th Spurs appearance to move us up to second in Group B.
To cap a good night all round, Juan Foyth and Giovani Lo Celso stepped off the bench to mark their returns from injury, Foyth making his first Club appearance of the season while fellow countryman Lo Celso was back after missing our last eight games.
There was a real verve and fluidity to our play in the opening stages, almost rewarded five minutes in when Son weaved his way past a couple of challenges but could only shoot tamely at goal. We only had to wait a further four minutes for the opener however, Lamela’s inswinging corner met on the edge of the six-yard box by Kane, whose glancing header flew past goalkeeper Milan Borjan before he could react. With intensity in our play both with and without the ball, we were swarming all over our Serbian visitors and doubled our advantage on 16 minutes. Serge Aurier played the ball down the right flank for Lamela, his neat turn left Milan Rodic on the floor allowing the Argentine to deliver the perfect deep cross for Son who smashed it on the bounce past Borjan.
At the other end, Nemanja Milunovic powered a header over the bar but we were back on the offensive soon after, Tanguy Ndombele forcing Borjan into a smart save on 22 minutes and two minutes later the visitors' keeper was leaping across his goal to push away Lamela’s prod from 12 yards. We stepped off the gas a little midway through the first half as Crvena zvezda enjoyed a spell of possession, going close a couple of times with former Huddersfield Town man Rajiv van la Parra testing Paulo Gazzaniga with a far-post header from Marko Gobelic’s cross and when the latter’s deflected shot fizzed across goal, Marko Marin poked the ball just wide. But a fine first half was capped off with a breakaway third for us. Marin lost possession on half-way allowing Ndombele to drive forward and slide a pass in to Son, powering forwards to join the attack, and the South Korean took a touch before beating Borjan at his near post with a low finish.
It was a similar story at the start of the second period as we continued to play with confidence, Lamela skewing a shot wide with only Borjan to beat but he did hit the target moments later. Kane found Aurier with a superb pass, the right back cutting inside Rodic and squaring for Lamela, who swivelled and drilled home on his landmark appearance. It was almost 5-0 as Son fired inches wide from the edge of the area and Kane couldn’t quite get enough glance on another header, while in between times Gazzaniga snaffled up Mateo Garcia’s fierce angled drive as the visitors looked for a consolation. Marin then curled just wide of the far post.
With 18 minutes remaining we did score the fifth. Ndombele had the time and space to pick out a through ball for Kane down the left channel inside the area and, although confronted by a couple of defenders, he simply side-footed the ball through Gobeljic’s legs, past Borjan and into the far corner. Substitute Eric Dier poked Kane’s cross just wide in the 85th minute, but it mattered little as the job was well and truly done by then.
Having started the game with such tempo and drive, it would have made for a tricky contest had our flowing football not been rewarded, so the opening goal so early in the game was certainly significant.
It was straightforward enough in its creation, Kane glancing home Lamela’s corner just nine minutes in, but it set the tone for the rest of the match – and we took full advantage.
Speaking afterwards, Mauricio Pochettino told us: "I told people two things (before the game) - it's important to win the three points, of course, but also important for our confidence. The best medicine is to win games and to have a good performance and tonight we were fantastic. I feel good – not great, because there is a lot of work to do – but I think we are in a good way.
"We need to stay calm. Look, of course, to celebrate a victory is so important, but we know we need to work hard to improve. It’s always the first little step that is important to cut the negative dynamic and in football, we know that. I’m happy for the players and happy for our fans, they were fantastic. They created the atmosphere you need to perform in your best way. I want to congratulate them because we felt the love from the first minute on the pitch."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Spurs 5-0 Crvena zvezda
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga, Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen (Foyth 74), Davies, Ndombele, Sissoko, Lamela, Dele (Lo Celso 79), Son (Dier 68), Kane (c). Substitutes (not used): Austin, Winks, Eriksen, Lucas.
Crvena zvezda (4-2-3-1): Borjan, Gobeljic, Degenek, Milunovic, Rodic, Canas (Petrovic 62), Vulic, Garcia, Marin (c), Van la Parra (Vukanovic 82), Tomane (Pavkov 62). Substitutes (not used): Popovic, Ivanic, Babic, Jander.
Goals: Spurs – Kane 9, 72, Son 16, 44, Lamela 57.
Yellow card: Crvena zvezda - Milunovic.
Referee: Marco Guida (Italy).
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Partly cloudy, light winds, seven degrees.