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Tottenham Hotspur fall 2-1 to Anderlecht in Europa League


Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur had a chance to grab control of their Europa League group on Thursday, and for a while, it looked like they were going to do it. But they were second best after their very strong start, and Anderlecht eventually muscled their way to a 2-1 win.

Christian Eriksen opened the scoring just four minutes in, thanks to a bit of a lucky bounce. His pass to Clinton N'Jie was blocked, but the ball fell right back into his path, and he slotted a composed finish into the back of the net from the edge of the penalty area.

Spurs kept their foot on the accelerator, but lost the lead on a set piece. They failed to clear the second ball, which fell to Guillame Gillet. He popped the ball up to himself with a nice bit of skill, then placed an impressive volley into the bottom corner to level the match 13 minutes in.

For the rest of the match, Anderlecht looked more likely to score. Stefano Okaka forced Hugo Lloris into a couple of very good saves, while Spurs' next best chance of the first half came from Andros Townsend in the 44th minute.

In what appeared to be planned substitutions, Clinton was replaced by Harry Kane, while Dele Alli came on for Mousa Dembele early in the first half. Kane had a great chance to score with a one-on-one in the 69th minute, but as we've come to expect this season, he shot directly at the keeper.

Anderlecht took the lead six minutes later, with Okaka finally getting his goal. Frank Acheampong torched Kieran Trippier on Anderlecht's left, then squared for Okaka to tap in from close range.

Spurs never really looked like finding an equalizer, and needed Lloris to make a brilliant stop on Dennis Praet to have a chance to push for a point in stoppage time.


- He still looks very young and inexperienced, but Clinton looked a bit more comfortable up top than on the wing and had fewer poor touches.

- Toby Alderweireld, as good as he's been this season, did not have a good game.

- Trippier, Townsend and Ben Davies had very poor games.

- All three guys who played central midfield were pretty impressive.

- Disappointing result, but this was ultimately a slightly above average performance, away to a good team, undone by some poor individual play by decent players. Nothing to be worried about.