The Independent London Newspaper
21st May 2019

Spurs beat CSKA Moscow to qualify for the Europa League

    Published: 7 December, 2016
    By PAUL COWLING at WEMBLEY
     
    Uefa Champions League, Group Stage
    Spurs 3,  CSKA Moscow 1
     

    TOTTENHAM manager Mauricio Pochettino said he wanted to 'thank the supporters' as Spurs came from behind to defeat a poor CSKA Moscow side in the final round of Champions League matches.

    "To have 62,000 here shows we are a big club, said Pochettino, after the match. And the Spurs boss was philosophical as Tottenham bowed out of the Champions League in relative style. "After fighting last season for the right to play in the Champions League, we can feel a little disappointed, said the Argentine. We need to learn and improve, so that in the next few seasons we can compete for the Champions League places."

     

     
    Wembley decked out in Spurs branding
     

    Pochettino was bouyed by his side's victory, which ended a wretched run of seven defeats at Wembley. "It was important to win here at Wembley, and change the bad feeling after losing to Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen, said Pochettino. "We need to have more opportunities to play here and make Wembley our home, and with an important competition like the Europa League, we can do that."

    Spurs started the game on top, with Christian Eriksen at the forefront of Tottenham's attaching intent. The Dane providing chances for Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son, and then forcing a save from Igor Akinfeev. On 25 minutes, Alli should have done better when put through by Eriksen, but his dragged shot was smothered by Akinfeev.

    But, completely against the run of play, CSKA took the lead on 33 minutes, when both Eric Dier and especially Jan Vertonghen were badly caught out of position. Manchester United flop, Zoran Tosic headed on a long ball for Alan Dzagoev to run on to and fire past Hugo Lloris, who up up until then, had been a spectator.

    The lead lasted five minutes, as Alli made up for his fluffed effort earlier. Once again Eriksen provided the cross for the England man, who dragged the ball back before driving past Akinfeev. 

     

     

    Dele Alli gets on the scoresheet

     
    And, it got even better for Spurs. With the first half going into injury time, Harry Kane put Spurs in front for the first time, as he calmly tapped in a Danny Rose cross.
     
    Needing only a draw to secure a place in the Europa League knockout stages, Spurs could relax in the second half. 
     
    Kane should have done better on 62 minutes, but his misplaced header went well over. Alli had an even better chance to increase Tottenham's lead, but he skied over from just outside the penalty box on 68 minutes.
     
    A minute earlier, there was a huge roar from Spurs fans, as key defender Toby Alderweireld - back after a knee injury - came off the bench in place of Victor Wanyama. 
     
    Spurs, who had struggled in matches during the Belgian's absence, added a third in the 78th minute, when a header from Alli was parried into the net by a hapless Akinfeev. Alderweireld could have been the toast of Wembley, but his close-range header sailed just over the crossbar on 80 minutes.
     
    Asked about the return of key players like Alderweireld, Pochettino said the team were stronger. "We have trust in ourselves, and we now need to be focused in the Premier League,' he said. 'It has been a struggle to compete in the last few months, and we are now starting to have a fully fit squad, and we are showing real quality,'
     
    SPURS:  Lloris; Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose: Wanyama (Alderweireld 68) Winks; Son (N'Koudou 61) Alli, Eriksen; Kane (Onomah 82)
    Subs not used: Vorm, Sissoko, Dembélé, Wimmer
    Attendance: 62,034
     

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