A hat-trick from Harry Kane, a brace from Giovani Lo Cleso and single contributions from Lucas Moura and Dele Alli were more than enough to take Spurs into the group stages of the Europa League. But they were made to work harder than the scoreline suggests, forced to do plenty of chasing and various bits of last-ditch defending in a wild first half.
That seemed unlikely when Kane scored after two minutes, but Tjaronn Chery’s spectacular equaliser was well-deserved, Maccabi knocking the ball around the parking cones in the Spurs midfield with ease. But three minutes later Moura put the home side back in front, and two goals in three minutes from Lo Celso, who doubled his Tottenham tally, finished the tie.
But there was still plenty more to come, a dodgy penalty apiece making it 5-2, before Kane completed his 15th career hat-trick with a typically accomplished finish. So Spurs are in the hat for tomorrow’s draw, and will visit Manchester United on Sunday in good heart – something that did not look especially likely when they conceded a 96th-minute equaliser just five days ago.
It’s been a while, but might it be it that Jose Mourinho has picked on the right player? Admittedly, Spurs were winning 4-1 when he came on, but he nevertheless produced a performance of flair, endeavour and imagination, which just goes to show, yet again, that Mourinho’s methods are infallible. Or that Alli is a high-class player who he could just as well have left alone, definitely one of the two.
Quite where Alli can play for him remains to be seen. Generally speaking, Mourhino has no interest in number 10s and even less interest in two attacking midfielders. So, with Giovani Lo Celso in excellent form and able to offer the speed that Alli cannot, perhaps Alli should be considered for a box-to-box role that could suit his physical, technical and mental disposition.
It might seem like a stretch, but as proved, once again, by Maccabi Haifa, there is no combination of Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, Tanguy Ndombele and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg that offers enough to not want something different, and quickly.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham Hotspur) Settled the tie just before half-time with two excellent finishes, and his pace and exuberance was a constant threat.
Tottenham Hotspur: Hart 7, Doherty 6, Sanchez 6, Alderweireld 6, Davies 7, Winks 6, Hojbjerg 6, Lo Celso 8, Bergwijn 7, Kane 8, Moura 7. Subs: Alli 7, Sissoko 6, Reguilon 6.
Maccabi Haifa: Cohen 6, Arad 6, Habashi 5, Planic 3, Menachem 6, Mabouka 5, Lavi 6, Abu Fani 7, Chery 7, Rukavytsya 7, Haziza 7. Subs: Donyoh 6, Ashkenazi 6, Rodriguez 6.
Harry Kane has now scored 15 career hat-tricks.
2’ - GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Maccabi Haifa (Kane) This is excellent and simple, Davies playing inside to Bergwijn who takes a clever first touch, opening his body so that the ball can run across it and he can glide a fine return ball into stride; Davies takes another touch, crosses, and Kane taps home from a few yards.
18’ - WHAT A GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Maccabi Haifa (Chery) Deep in his own half, Sanchez attempts a crossfield ball and Mabouka intercepts, feeding Chery who turns to get the ball onto his left foot and is allowed to wander infield, but who expected this? From 25 yards, he absolutely clatters a screeching, spitting, hissing outswinger that flies into the top corner!
21’ - GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Maccabi Haifa (Moura) Doherty swings a decent kick into the near post where Moura attacks it, backhead, neck and backing it into the far side-netting.
36’ - GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Maccabi Haifa (Lo Celso) Doherty marauds down the right and swigs over a fine cross that Moura meets well, but he heads into Davies who, with his back to goal, funnels the ball backwards to Lo Celso, who paggas a left-footer past Cohen. Good finish, and game over.
39’ - GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Maccabi Haifa (Lo Celso) Kane wanders onto the ball after Planic miskicks embarrassingly and finds Lo Celso outside him. His touch is a little heavy, but because of that, Cohen comes out, which allows Lo Celso to lift the ball over him. Another very acceptable finish, and in three minutes he has doubled his tally for Spurs.
50’ - PENALTY HAIFA! This is so, so stupid. Haziza flicks a bouncing ball inside Doherty and hits the arm by his side, about two-thirds of the way up. That is an absolute crock.
51’ - GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 Maccabi Haifa (Rukavytsya pen) Hart dives right and Rukavytsya rolls left.
55’ - PENALTY SPURS! Davies crosses from the left, into Mabouka, whose arms are in front of his midriff. The ball hits them, and there we go again. That's more of one than they Maccabi one, but still not one.
56’ - GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 5-2 Maccabi Haifa (Kane pen) Cohen dives right and Kane clips down the middle.
74’ - GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 6-2 Maccabi Haifa (Kane) Alli slides a ball out Bergwijn, who flicks feet over the ball and skips away from Habashi before slipping a pass in behind which Kane seizes on, clipping the hat-trick goal over the diving Arad. What a player!
90’ - PENALTY TO SPURS! This is brilliant! Moura darts a ball into the box for Alli, who looks so graceful as he controls, takes a touch, pirouettes and pokes a ball through Planic's legs; Planic can't handle the shaaaame, so hails him down.
90+1’ - GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 7 [seven]-2 Maccabi Haifa (Alli pen) Alli opens his body and punches hard; Cohen barely moves.