A heavily-rotated Tottenham side fell 2-1 to Monaco on Tuesday night, ending their chances of advancing to the Champions League knockout stages.
Spurs entered the must-win game with a much-changed lineup, resting several key players ahead of Saturday’s match against Chelsea. Harry Winks followed up his sparkling full league debut with his first Champions League start, while Eric Dier and Kevin Wimmer played together at the back for the first time.
It was Spurs who created the first chance within five minutes, and it was an extremely good one. Son Heung-Min was played clear through on goal without a defender within 20 yards. The South Korean tried to round the keeper but failed to even get a shot off, triggering severe PTSD of Roberto Soldado against Fiorentina.
They were very nearly made to pay soon after. Spurs failed to clear the ball despite several attempts; after a blocked shot fell to Fabinho, Eric Dier took a clumsy swing at the ball and brought the midfielder down for a penalty.
Despite controlling the majority of the possession, Tottenham struggled to create any clear cut chances. They also frequently gave the ball away cheaply and looked extremely vulnerable on the counter attack, with Monaco coming close a few times.
Just before the half Monaco were fortunate not to have a man sent off. Kamil Glik dragged Harry Kane to the ground then clearly stood on back right in front of the referee. Amazingly, he escaped without a card.
The second half started with a crazy flurry of goals. Monaco started the strongest and were soon rewarded. Benjamin Mendy easily beat Winks after being played in on the left; his sharp cross eluded the Tottenham defense and Djibril Sidibé headed home.
Spurs responded quickly, winning a penalty just minutes later. Dele Alli controlled a chipped through-ball with a beautiful first touch before being dragged down by Glik. Kane stepped up and confidently hammered home from 12 yards.
Buuuuut it was all for naught, as Monaco scored again just 16 seconds after the restart. The home side broke down the right and a cross missed everyone in the box, eventually falling to Thomas Lemar who drove through Kieran Trippier’s legs to regain the lead.
Lloris managed to keep his side in the game with a series of stunning saves. First, he miraculously turned a point-blank effort from Glik over the bar from a free-kick. The Spurs captain made another fantastic stop 10 minutes later, palming away a fierce strike from Falcao.
Alli came closest to equalizing for Spurs, getting his toe on the end of a corner at the back post, but he could only poke his effort wide.
The loss brings a disappointing Champions League campaign to an abrupt halt. Spurs play their final group game against CSKA Moscow at Wembley on Wednesday, December 7.
- Well that sucked. A win or draw against CSKA means Europa League (yay?) for Spurs, while Monaco will go through as group winners.
- Whatever that formation was (I think 4-4-2, but I’m still not entirely sure) it didn’t really work. Totally understand that Pochettino has to work with the players that are available, and we’ve been unlucky with injuries, but he was badly out-coached in this game.
- Speaking of available players, Poche made a point of signing solid (and expensive) back-ups in the last two summer transfer windows. This is a time when they would come in handy, but other than Victor Wanyama they’ve mostly been underwhelming (to be polite) and it is coming back to bite us squarely in the arse.
- Our defending looked extremely shaky at times, but with only one of our regular back-four (Danny Rose, who is most definitely due a rest) starting that isn’t totally surprising. Speaking of which...
- Trippier is bad, let’s never play him ever again.
- Evergreen bullet point: Hugo is a saint and we do not deserve him.