Dembélé fires Tottenham past Anderlecht
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Tottenham 2-1 Anderlecht
Mousa Dembélé's excellent goal three minutes from time left Anderlecht bereft and took Spurs a point clear of Monaco at the top of Group J.
Article top media content
- Tottenham Hotspur strike late to beat Anderlecht
- Substitute Mousa Dembélé's fine 87th-minute goal makes the difference
- Anderlecht replacement Imoh Ezekiel cancels out Harry Kane opener
- Spurs lead Group J after Qarabağ and Monaco draw earlier
- Next games: Monaco v Anderlecht, Qarabağ v Tottenham (26 November)
Tottenham Hotspur moved ahead of Anderlecht in the race for qualification from UEFA Europa League Group J, with substitute Mousa Dembélé's magnificent late strike sealing victory in a rematch of the 1984 UEFA Cup final.
Perhaps with that historical disappointment in mind, the Belgian side began purposefully, with only alert defending from Jan Vertonghen twice denying Stefano Okaka in the opening five minutes. Steven Defour then had a shot tipped over by Hugo Lloris before Youri Tielemans fired just wide after a slick passing move.
By contrast, Spurs made their first really clear chance count, moments before the half-hour, when Harry Kane turned smartly onto Christian Eriksen's pass to slam past Silvio Proto and into the far corner. Proto plunged at Erik Lamela's feet as the half drew to a close with Mauricio Pochettino's men raising the tempo.
If the interval came at a good moment for Besnik Hasi's team, they used it to regroup and again started strongly. Defour stung the hands of Lloris and Hasi threw caution to the wind, sending forward Imoh Ezekiel on for midfielder Tielemans. Ezekiel's impact was almost immediate, as he drifted onto Defour's curling cross to guide a wonderfully controlled finish in off the inside of a post.
Just when the life looked to have drained from Tottenham, two of Pochettino's substitutes combined to even more spectacular effect. Son Heung-Min found Dembélé on the periphery of the area and he cracked an unstoppable shot past Proto to win it.
History recognised in north London
With a lively atmosphere in White Hart Lane at kick-off, anticipation was high, particularly behind the Paxton Road goal where Tony Parks's penalty shoot-out save from Arnór Guðjohnsen 31 years ago clinched the UEFA Cup trophy for Spurs. Lloris followed Parks's example, pulling off a pair of strong stops from Defour.
Advancing Dele Alli
Having starred in Tottenham's last home game in the competition against Qarabağ, 19-year-old midfielder Dele Alli was moved into a more advanced role here, as Ryan Mason returned to the lineup in a holding position. The recent England call-up showed some interesting touches without quite dominating as he had in that match.