Tottenham Hotspur picked up its first win of the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, beating Slovenia’s NŠ Mura 5-1. A pair of goals from Dele and Giovani Lo Celso in the first 10 minutes provided the hosts with a cushion for most of the match, while substitute Harry Kane provided the insurance goals through a second half hattrick.
An almost completely rotated team from Sunday’s loss at Arsenal made an impact quickly, though Mura provided an early gift. Goalkeeper Matko Obradović committed a blatant foul on Dele, conceding a penalty in the third minute that Dele converted for a 1-0 lead. Mura’s unsettled start to the match got worse just five minutes later, which Lo Celso put the hosts 2-0 up after scoring from a tight angle on the left side of the goal.
After the initial burst of goals, Spurs remained the better side but Mura became a little more organized. The first half then played out blandly, with Dele recording one more meaningful chance in the 33rd minute that was eventually saved.
Mura swapped early misfortune in the first half for a great stroke of luck to start the second, cutting the lead in half when Žiga Kous scored from distance in the 53rd minute. Conceding seemingly prompted Spurs manager Nuno Espírito Santo to put his first choice attackers into the match, putting on Kane, Son Heung-min, and Lucas Moura six minutes later.
The subs made the difference, with Kane scoring a hattrick in 20 minutes. The first came in the 68th minute, as Kane received a cross from Lucas before finishing from close range. Kane combined with Son for a second goal just eight minutes later, with Son sending a square pass to Kane for the finish. In the 88th minute, Kane completed his hattrick with a simple finish after receiving the ball from Lo Celso.
The result puts Spurs top of Group G, ahead of Rennes on goal difference.
Thoughts on the Match
- Spurs were undoubtedly the better team throughout, but again seemed to struggle going forward for much of the first half. Eight first half shots aren’t meaningless, but the attacking plan once again felt very unclear.
- Kane has not enjoyed a terrific start to the season, but he clearly remains the team’s best option up top. The second half provided a glimpse of what Spurs will need to be successful this year — an in form Kane, combined with the likes of Son and Lo Celso.
- In addition to Kane, Son, and Lo Celso, Dele enjoyed a standout night. Just about everyone, though, performed well individually.