Spurs make hard going of Europa progress

Lokomotiv Plovdiv 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Despite largely dominating their UEFA Europa League tie in Bulgaria, Tottenham struggled past nine-man Lokomotiv Plovdiv by the skin of their teeth thanks to late goals from Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele.

A shock appeared on the cards when Georgi Minchev nodded Plovdiv ahead eighteen minutes from time. However, with the clock running down, Dinis Costa handled Ben Davies’ goalbound attempt – Kane converted the resulting spot-kick – Costa became the first Plovdiv player to head for an early bath, swiftly followed by Birsent Karagaren for appearing to damage the penalty spot ahead of the England skipper’s kick.

Tanguy Ndombele snatched the winner to book a third qualifying round tie with Macedonian outfit, Shkendija. Speaking after the game, Lilywhites relieved boss, Jose Mourinho, explained: “We started creating even more chances and the penalty arrived with the Portuguese boy saving with his hand, Ben Davies’ goal. So penalty and red card.

“At that moment I felt immediately that if we score the game is in our hands of course.

“Then on top of that, one of their players started digging with his foot a hole in the penalty spot and of course the referee gave him the second yellow card so they went to nine.

When we scored the goal I was not even panicking about killing the game in ninety minutes because if you got to extra-time it will be thirty minutes, of course, impossible for them to hold us, but we started pushing and after the second goal game over.

“Of course, when they scored it was a moment to dream and a moment for us to fear for our future in the competition.”

Lokomotiv Plovdiv: Lukov, Petrovic, Masoero, Dinis Costa, Karagaren, Vitanov, Salinas, Umarboev (Minchev 68’), Tsevtanov, Aralica (Ilic 68’), Iliev (Capt). Subs not used: Pirgov, Muslimovic, Pugliese, Nikolaev, Mihaljevic

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (Capt), Doherty, Dier, Sanchez (Lucas 73’), Davies, Hojbjerg, Sissoko (Ndombele 61’), Bergwijn (Lamela 70’), Lo Celso, Son, Kane. Subs not used: Hart, Carter-Vickers, Sessegnon, Winks.


Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]