After a bad away loss to Royal Antwerp, Tottenham Hotspur needed a good result today in Europa League group play. A trip to Bulgaria proved to be not much of an issue for Spurs as they got goals from Harry Kane, Lucas Moura, and Gio Lo Celso en route to a comfortable 3-1 win over Ludogorets. Claudiu Keserü provided the only (fluky) goal for the home side.
Tottenham didn’t want any surprises away in Bulgaria like they had against Plovdiv, and Jose Mourinho named a very strong side that included Gareth Bale and Harry Kane in the starting XI. Joe Hart got the nod in goal with Hugo Lloris on the bench. Matt Doherty and Ben Davies were as expected the starters at fullback. Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko started in midfield, while Lucas Moura also started in attack.
1’ — Oh my, Kane missed an absolute sitter straight off the bat after a chip from Winks (!!) fell right to him and he put it over the bar.
6’ — Nearly another from Kane! He fires a shot that takes a slight deflection and pings off the post.
9’ — Lovely free kick from Gareth Bale (god I’ve missed those) that forces a good save from the Ludogorets keeper.
12’ — GOAL!! Harry Kane gets his 200th goal for the club with a powerful header from a corner kick! Spurs are battering the Bulgarian hosts early on. 1-0 Spurs!
24’ — HOW? Lucas had a shot inside the keeper’s area from point blank range off of a square ball from Kane, and he somehow missed the target. Looks like he might have been tackled...
25’ — Lucas again with a darting run into the box, and he falls over in the box. Looked like a penalty but on replay he just tripped over his feet and fell on the ball.
33’ — GOAL!! Lucas Moura redeems his earlier misses by easily slotting home a cross into the box by Gareth Bale. 2-0!
38’ — Nearly another for Kane. A deflected cross to the back post is headed centrally by Bale, but Kane’s header is saved. Just after, Kane has another attempt inside the box which is again saved.
HALFTIME: Well, that’s just about the easiest, most comfortable half of football you’ll ever see. Tottenham ran riot the entire half, scored two, and could’ve scored five.
Two halftime subs for Spurs — Moussa Sissoko and Harry Kane are off for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Carlos Vinicius.
50’ — Uhhhhh Goal for Ludogorets. That was a big ol’ whoops. A shot deflected off of Harry Winks and falls to an onside [checks notes] Claudiu Keserü who fires past Hart. 2-1.
53’ — Another chance for Spurs, but Vinicius was only able to sweep a one-touch ball over the bar. Probably should’ve done better with that.
55’ — Close from Spurs, this time it’s Lo Celso who’s low shot goes juuuust wide of the left post.
61’ — Sub for Spurs — Lucas Moura makes way for Son Heung-Min.
61’ — GOAL!!! Gio Lo Celso! Instant impact for Son Heung-Min who takes a pass from Hojbjerg, then feeds Lo Celso in the box for the goal. Wonderful stuff! 3-1!
65’ — Another sub for Spurs — Gareth Bale comes off for Steven Bergwijn.
70’ — Ludogorets gets a rare look at goal from inside Spurs’ box and Cauly shanks it well wide.
71’ — Another sub for Spurs, as Lo Celso comes off for Tanguy Ndombele.
82’ — Spurs’ foot is firmly off the gas, but Hojbjerg has a free kick that takes a bounce and nearly spills past the arms of the Ludogorets keeper.
FULL TIME! A comfortable win in Bulgaria. Job done.
- Ludogorets aren’t very good. Yes, I know they scored, but that goal was fluky as hell and they barely mustered any offense otherwise. It was a pretty comprehensive thumping.
- Kane’s goal was his 200th Spurs goal in just 300 matches. Wild.
- Gio Lo Celso was amazing, just flat out running stuff in midfield. His goal was deserved for the shift he put in.
- I remain extremely Vinicius curious, but I don’t think we’ve seen what he can really do yet. He seems pretty cromulent at holding the ball up even though he didn’t do much going forward.
- Jose Mourinho continues to find new and unique ways to disrespect Dele. No minutes in a comprehensive Europa League thumping over a Bulgarian side with five subs?
- Except for a couple of minutes in the middle of the second half, it was nice to not have to stress out over a Tottenham Hotspur football match. More of that, please.
- On to the Hawthornes!