Tottenham Hotspur came to Austria with the knowledge that a win against LASK Linz would see them qualify from their Europa League group and into the knock-outs. They didn’t get the win after Mamadou Karamoko lasered an equaliser past Joe Hart in the 92nd minute. But thanks to Royal Antwerp defeating Ludogorets, a point was enough to see Spurs qualify out of their group anyway.
The match was ridiculous, and Tottenham didn’t play well at all. Spurs got penalty goals from Gareth Bale and Dele, plus a lovely counterattacking goal from Son Heung-Min, but the home side got goals from Peter Michorl, Johannes Eggestein, and Karamoko to cancel it out.
The biggest news from Jose Mourinho’s starting lineup was his decision to finally play the “dream team” midfield of Pierre Hojbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele, and Giovani Lo Celso at the start of a match. With Harry Kane and Carlos Vinicius left in London nursing knocks, Son Heung-Min started at the top of the spear, with Gareth Bale and Lucas Moura on either side. With Joe Rodon ineligible for Europa League, Davinson Sanchez came into central defense beside Japhet Tanganga.
6’ — LASK start the match brightly and with much of the ball in the opening few minutes, pressing high and making Spurs sweat — two quick chances for the home side including one from Eggestein that pings off the crossbar. Yikes.
16’ — Gareth Bale provided the first noteworthy thing Spurs have done this half, absolutely juking a LASK defender out of his boots along the end line. Nothing came of it, but that was filthy.
20’ — LASK are having a lot more success with their high press than they did in the match in London. They force a turnover and then Renner stings the palms of Hart on a shot from outside the box.
25’ — Lucas earns the first yellow card of the match for an arm to the face of Ranftl during a midair challenge for the ball.
26’ — First half-chance of the match for Spurs on a counter. Son holds the ball up well, and a cross eventually finds the head of Lucas at the back post, but Lucas can only head the ball over.
31’ — Great save by Hart to save another shot from close range by Renner. LASK have been the better side this half.
32’ — Yellow card for LASK — It’s Michorl who earns it after he leaped up on a Bale free kick as part of the wall. Both his arms were raised and the ball went off his elbow. Bale takes the resultant free kick again and it goes off the wall, Bale has a second crack at it and it’s blocked away again. Drat.
40’ — So, uh, this has not been a great half if you’re a Tottenham fan. Few chances, fewer shots. Hart makes another punching save from a LASK shot and Tottenham having a lot of trouble with creativity and passing.
42’ — Goal to LASK. Michorl with a stunner from outside of the box that takes a hop and into the net past a diving Hart. The whole thing started from an unforced Matt Doherty turnover. 1-0 to the home side. Doherty then limps off the pitch, temporarily.
45’ — PENALTY TO SPURS! LASK with a handball in the box, and Gareth Bale steps up to take the spot kick.
45’ — GOAL TOTTENHAM! Gareth Bale converts the penalty kick and just like that Spurs are level!
HALF TIME: That penalty was the last kick of the half; Spurs were pretty abject but are fortunate to go into the second half with the score level.
No changes for either side at the break.
51’ — LASK again starting off the half on the front foot, with a couple of shot attempts that are blocked away by Spurs.
56’ — GOAL TOTTENHAM! It’s Sonny! A vintage Spurs counterattack results in Tanguy Ndombele feeding Sonny, who slots cooly past the keeper and Spurs are up 2-1! Gotta say, that’s been against the run of play. (Joao Sacramento then shouted “JOLLY WELL DONE,” lol)
63’ — HOWWWWWWWW? Spurs with another great counter. Gareth Bale was sprung and had an open look at goal but tried to pass to Sonny. Unfortunately, the pass was a yard behind him (partially deflected), and LASK scramble it away.
64’ — First subs for Spurs — Moussa Sissoko is on for Lucas Moura, and Steven Bergwijn for Ndombele.
68’ — First subs for LASK: Reiter is on for Gruber, and Karamoko on for Goiginger (and yes I had to look those spellings up).
71’ — Chance for LASK. Karamoko takes a shot off of a Spurs block, but it dribbles wide.
71’ — Sub for Spurs as Lo Celso comes off for Eric Dier.
74’ — A couple half-chances for Spurs. First Sonny gets the ball in the box but has it nicked off his feet before he could get a shot off. In the resulting corner, Hojbjerg gets on the end of the ball at the back post but fires over.
79’ — Yellow for Karamoko after he swings his arm behind him and catches Doherty in the face.
82’ — Final subs of the match for Spurs, and it’s Dele! He comes on for Sonny, while Aurier comes on for Bale. Spurs now playing with Aurier at RW and Dele at ST.
84’ — Goal for LASK. Oh no. Eggestein rips it past Hart, and LASK are level. 2-2.
85’ — OMG PENALTY FOR SPURS! Sanchez passes forward to Bergwijn, who gets taken down in the box. Stone-cold penalty and Spurs can win it.
86’ — GOAL! DELE!!! A cheeky penalty into the top corner and Spurs are back up 3-2! What a ridiculous match.
92’ — OH NO GOAL FOR LASK. Karamoko with a rocket past Hart. 3-3.
FULL TIME — Spurs earn a point that’s enough to qualify for the knockouts, but will still have to beat Antwerp to win their group. How stupid.
- What an absolutely miserable first half. It’s hard to know who to criticize first. But let’s start with the fullbacks, both of whom were pretty awful over the course of the match. Davies and Doherty provided little, and Doherty’s slip and giveaway resulted in LASK’s first half goal.
- Spurs were lucky with the handball call in the first half. The LASK player was diving and had his arm over his head and it deflected off of it. Spurs got burned by that a couple of times last season, but after the Premier League handball rules changed recently, that wouldn’t be considered a violation. However, that rule is still in effect in UEFA European competition, so... yay?
- Sonny’s goal was a vintage Spurs counterattack, and credit to Ndombele for that pass to him. Tanguy was one of the few players whom you can say was unilaterally good this match.
- Ndombele was again fantastic, especially defensively.
- You can hang LASK’s 2-2 equalizer directly on Davinson Sanchez, who was way too aggressive and just lost his man. But he made up for it with a good pass to Bergwijn, who earned the winning penalty.
- All three of LASK’s goals were saveable. Joe Hart just... didn’t save them. He’s not good, and I’ve been trying to tell y’all this!
- What a stupid match. Someone called it “pure, uncut Europa League” in the writer’s Slack and it’s absolutely correct.
- Antwerp dispatched Ludogorets at home, so functionally a draw vs. a win here doesn’t matter, as Spurs will still need to beat Antwerp in London to win their group. At least they’re through.
- I really
love hate lovethe Europa League.