Euro journey ends with defeat at Dinamo - report and debrief
Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 Spurs (AET, agg 3-2)
Thu 18 March 2021, 20:40|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Europa League campaign came to a shuddering halt in Croatia on Thursday evening as Dinamo Zagreb overturned our first leg advantage with a 3-0 win after extra time.
Despite taking a two-goal lead with us to the Croatian capital, that was wiped out with a second-half double from Mislav Orsic to take the round of 16 tie into extra time, with the striker then completing his hat-trick to put his side ahead and we were unable to claw our way back into the game and exited the competition.
The opening half-hour was quite even with neither side creating anything of real note, before Lovro Majer whistled a shot just wide from the edge of the area, with our best chance of the half coming shortly before the break as Harry Kane’s close-range effort was smothered by goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.
The only option for Dinamo after the interval was to go for broke in search of the two goals they needed. Arijan Ademi headed straight at Hugo Lloris from a corner and Bruno Petkovic blasted over from a tight angle as they ramped up the pressure and scored the opening goal on 62 minutes, Orsic’s excellent curling effort from 22 yards finding the top corner. We were on the back foot at that stage with Rasmus Lauritsen poking wide and then Kristijan Jakic skewing high and wide from the edge of the area, but had an opportunity of our own in the 71st minute when substitute Giovani Lo Celso’s shot took a deflection and was well saved by Livakovic. It was Lo Celso’s first action for 88 days after picking up an injury on 20 December.
The aggregate scores were level eight minutes from time when Ademi pushed the ball out to Iyayi Atiemwen down the inside right channel and his low cross was swept home by Orsic for his and Dinamo’s second of the game. We almost grabbed a vital away goal shortly after as Gareth Bale’s deep cross was well met by Kane only for the goalkeeper to save and Kevin Theophile-Catherine cleared the rebound off the line. The last action of the 90 minutes saw Bale fire a free-kick over the bar and the Welsh forward had the first effort of the subsequent extra time, fizzing inches wide from 25 yards in the 13th minute of the first period.
Dinamo took the lead for the first time in the tie just a minute into the second extra period as Orsic completed his hat-trick with another stunning goal, picking the ball up on the left, drifting inside past a couple of challenges and rifling past Lloris from 20 yards. It was now our turn to chase for goals and we went so close, Lo Celso having another shot well saved by Livakovic, who then produced an even better stop to keep out Kane from six yards. We launched everything at the home side in the dying seconds, but the ball just wouldn’t fall our way and the final whistle signalled the end of another season in Europe.
Result signals Euro exit
There’s no doubt the goals from Orsic were of the highest quality, but our performance overall on the night was a disappointment and cost us our place in the next round of the Europa League. Last week in N17, we were dominant throughout the entire 90 minutes and scored two goals which looked like it might have been enough, but we couldn’t reproduce that form in Zagreb.
Our first half-chance came on 25 minutes when Theophile-Catherine produced a great block to deny Erik Lamela, who was played in by Dele, before Dinamo went close themselves 10 minutes later with Majer’s drive while it needed a vital touch from Davinson Sanchez a moment later to prevent Jakic’s pass from finding Ademi in front of goal. It was a swift counter-attack that brought about Kane’s chance late in the half, ending with Lucas sliding a ball to his left to the striker inside the area but Livakovic was quickly off his line to smother his effort.
The home side went on the offensive after the break and had a flurry of decent chances without really troubling Lloris until their opener just after the hour mark. Majer picked the ball up just inside our half and advanced forwards before playing it out to Orsic to his left, he shifted the ball onto his right foot and scored with a quite magnificent strike.
We were struggling to make much happen in our final third although it needed a smart save from Livakovic to deny Lo Celso’s shot on the turn, before Dinamo levelled the match and the tie through Orsic. Our attempted response was almost immediate though, Kane’s header from Bale’s cross saved and then scrambled away by the Dinamo defence with just five minutes left of normal time. Neither side could find a winner in 90 minutes and so extra time was needed – the first time we had played the added half-hour in Europe since our Europa League quarter-final in Basel in April, 2013.
There wasn’t a great deal of action in the early moments of extra time, not until Bale’s low drive flew just wide in the 103rd minute, but Dinamo went ahead in the tie in the first minute of the second period as Orsic completed his treble in some style. Late chances came and went for us as Livakovic saved from Lo Celso and Kane, while Lloris made an excellent stop to prevent Luka Ivanusec from rounding him when one-on-one in the final seconds.
At the start of the night, Jose Mourinho made seven changes to the team that started the north London derby on Sunday. Aurier, Eric Dier, Ben Davies, Moussa Sissoko, Harry Winks, Dele and Lamela came in for Matt Doherty, Toby Alderweireld, Sergio Reguilon, Tanguy Ndombele, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Heung-Min Son and Bale. Academy youngsters Marcel Lavinier and Dane Scarlett were also on the bench.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'To say I'm sad is not enough'
Jose said after the match: "I don't just feel sad - sad is short for what I feel at the moment. I know that football is football and in football, anything can happen and I'm humble enough to congratulate them for what they did - it's also because of things like this that football is a beautiful game but sad is not enough for me, I feel very hurt for my personal pride and I think that our performance is unacceptable.
"Big heart and big determination beat us so if we think that big heart is not part of football, we are wrong because big heart is part of football and it was what they did. You can say that in the second half of extra time we did enough to score a goal and go through, of course we did, but I feel that would be undeserved for them because they gave everything they had and I praise them for that. To say I'm sad is not enough."
Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 Spurs (AET, agg 3-2)
Dinamo Zagreb (4-3-3): Livakovic, Ristovski (Stojanovic 90), Lauritsen, Theophile-Catherine, Franjic (Leovac 81), Majer (Gavranovic 81), Jakic (Atiemwen 75), Ademi (c) (Peric 117), Ivanusec, Petkovic (Misic 90), Orsic. Substitutes (not used): Zagorac, Josipovic, Cabraja, Kastrati, Tolic, Burton.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier (Bergwijn 108), Sanchez, Dier, Davies (Reguilon 90), Sissoko, Winks (Ndombele 68), Dele (Lo Celso 68), Lamela (Bale 60), Lucas (Vinicius 85), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Hart, Doherty, Lavinier, Alderweireld, Tanganga, Scarlett.
Goals: Dinamo Zagreb – Orsic 62, 82, 106.
Yellow cards: Dinamo Zagreb – Jakic, Lauritsen, Stojanovic; Spurs - Lamela.
Referee: Davide Massa (Italy).
Venue: Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb.
Weather: Clear sky, light winds, five degrees.