Tottenham Hotspur hosted Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie. Spurs didn’t look clinical at times, but did enough — Harry Kane scored a brace, Dinamo only had one real opportunity going forward, and Spurs picked up a solid 2-0 home win.
The North London Derby looms ahead this weekend for Tottenham Hotspur, and Jose Mourinho rotated for this European first leg accordingly, making seven changes from the team that started against Crystal Palace at the weekend. Only Hugo Lloris, Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, and Davinson Sanchez retained their starting spots. Spurs had a central midfield pairing of Tanguy Ndombele and Moussa Sissoko, and rotated both fullbacks with Serge Aurier and Ben Davies coming in. Eric Dier replaced Toby Alderwiereld in the back line, and Erik Lamela and Dele got starts as well.
1’ — Dinamo takes it straight at Spurs literally from the opening kick, when they dribble straight through the center of the pitch. Later, a bad pass from Tanguy forces a counterattack and Hugo makes a low save.
13’ — Spurs have found their footing and are trying to crash the box. Both Dele and Kane have had half-chances at the back post after long-balls from deep positions.
24’ — GOAL! HARRY KANE! Erik Lamela started the move with a turn and shot from the spot that plonked off the post, but Kane was there to sweep in the rebound! 1-0 Spurs!
38’ — Lamela goes down to ground for an absolutely incredible (and clean) tackle from behind. What a lunatic. What a legend.
HALFTIME: Spurs take a narrow lead into the break. They’ve been the better team but they’re not running away with anything yet. Zagreb not really troubling Spurs’ defense much. Lamela and Dele have been super fun to watch.
No changes for either side.
49’ — Ndombele gets his ankle stomped in the box, and it’s a clear penalty, but no call from the match official. Meanwhile, Ndombele is down with what looks like a hurt ankle but he ends up being okay. Europa League refs!
54’ — Nearly from Spurs! Son puts a ball in to Kane at the back post. Kane tries to knock it back to Dele in the box, but Dinamo scramble it away.
60’ — Decent counterattack from Zagreb, but Petrovic’s shot goes wide of the post. Whew!
63’ — Wow, a triple sub from Jose Mourinho. Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura, and Steven Bergwijn all coming in, with Lamela, Son, and Dele all off. Also a sub for Zagreb, as Kastrati is on for Majer.
65’ — Lovely bit of skill from Bale who fires in a pinpoint perfect cross to Steven Bergwijn who forces a save from the Dinamo keeper with his first touch of the ball!
69’ — Finally a yellow card on Dinamo. Ademi picks up the booking for, you guessed it, kicking Tanguy.
70’ — GOAL! HARRY KANE AGAIN!! Ndombele starts the play by putting in a long cross to Aurier. Serge squares it to Kane in the box, who takes a touch, nutmegs a defender, and fires into the back of the net! 2-0!
72’ — Fourth sub for Spurs, as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg comes on for Tanguy, who walks off gingerly.
77’ — Yellow for Zagreb’s Ivanusec for a tactical foul as he held Lucas back on a breakaway.
78’ — Yellow for Spurs now, Sanchez picks up the booking for a hard tackle.
83’ — LONG free kick from Bale, and it’s a beauty but the Dinamo keeper is there to punch it over the bar.
84’ — Final sub for Spurs — Harry Kane gets subbed off for Carlos Vinicius. Smart play, as Harry got kicked in the knee a couple of minutes earlier and there’s no need to risk him.
86’ — Yellow for Hojbjerg, and he’ll now miss the second leg in Zagreb for yellow card accumulation. That’s actually a good thing, as if he picked one up in the next match he’d miss the first match of the next tie (assuming Spurs go through).
87’ — Well, the cards are just flying now. Ristovski gets one for Dinamo after arguing with the official.
89’ — Sissoko just got elbowed in the face. You’d think the ref might see that and maybe IDK issue a foul or a card or something. Hahahaha, nothing.
90+3 — SO CLOSE! A great cross in from Bergwijn to the back post but Bale can’t bundle it in. Moments later, Vinicius has a weak left footed shot, no love.
FULL TIME! Spurs don’t get their third goal but they’ll take a 2-0 win to Zagreb, and most importantly, no away goals for Dinamo.
- Absolutely insane decision not to award the penalty in the second half for the foul on Ndombele. It was clear as day that he got stepped on his ankle. No idea why that wasn’t a foul.
- Tottenham got kicked a lot and this ref didn’t call most of them and it made me very mad.
- Good shift from Erik Lamela today, who was one of the bright spots of the first half.
- I don’t know if Jose sent Hojbjerg out specifically to pick up a yellow card so he’ll be suspended for the away leg in Zagreb, but I can’t prove that he didn’t and either way it’s a magnificent move.
- A 2-0 win is nice, but a 3-0 win would’ve been better as we likely could’ve played some children and rolled to a comfortable result. At least Spurs didn’t allow an away goal, which really would’ve complicated things.
- The defense looked fine and dealt with Dinamo’s counterattacking threat ably. No real complaints.
- Kane’s icing of his knee didn’t look great but I suspect he’s okay.
- In the end, it’s just a nice, solid European home win. Job done. Bring on the North London Derby.