Tottenham Hotspur beat Austrian Bundesliga side LASK 3-0 in their Europa League tie at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to mark a perfect start to their Group J campaign.
LASK topped a group that featured Sporting Lisbon, PSV and Rosenborg in last season’s Europa League but Spurs, despite making a raft of changes from their 3-3 draw with West Ham to include six summer signings in their starting XI, never looked troubled.
Lucas Moura opened the scoring with 18 minutes gone, latching on to Carlos Vinicius’ square pass, and Vinicius could have opened his account for the club just shy of the half-hour mark on his debut.
However, as the former Benfica man looked poised to fire home Gareth Bale’s low cross, Andres Andrade poked it past his own keeper to double Tottenham’s lead.
The Brazilian would add another assist – this time for Heung-Min Son late on – via a cushioned header into the path of the onrushing South Korean, who finished past Alexander Schlager to round off a polished Tottenham performance.
Son's 30-minute cameo definitely brought a missing spark to an otherwise composed Spurs team, but the man he replaced - Bale, who was making his first start for the club since rejoining this summer, had a good game in spite of some signs of rust still evident.
LASK rarely troubled the home side, but Peter Michorl was a constant threat from set pieces, with key chances falling to Lukas Grgic and Petar Filipovic from corners.
Next up for Spurs, a trip to Antwerp in a week's time while LASK welcome Ludogorets to the Linzer Stadion that same evening.
Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur after their sides second goa
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur) - While Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg impressed with a warrior-like performance at the base of midfield, Lucas was a constant threat with his dynamism and Vinicius had a strong debut with two assists, the man of the match award has to go to Davies. The stand-in captain was playing out of position at centre-back and produced a brilliant lofted pass from deep to find Vinicius in space when he assisted the first goal before making multiple headers and blocks to thwart any LASK attacks. Spurs may have just signed his international team-mate Joe Rodon as centre-back cover, but with the signing of Reguilon taking away Davies' starting left-back role, he may start to see more minutes at the centre of defence.
TALKING POINT - IS VINICIUS THE KANE BACK-UP SPURS HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR?
After having to suffer with the likes of Vincent Janssen or Roberto Soldado struggling to fill Harry Kane's boots as back-up and more recently relying on players playing out of position as striker, an impressive debut from Carlos Vinicius would have been a welcome sight for Tottenham fans. The 25 year-old topped the Portuguese Primeira Liga goalscoring charts for Benfica last season with 18 goals, but it has been a sudden ascent for the Brazilian, who had three mixed loan spells before his prolific season for Benfica.
However, he led the line brilliantly against LASK on his debut, demonstrating good positional awareness, strong link-up play and also showing he has an eye for a pass with two good assists. As mentioned in the tweet above, he does not really need to do anything special when serving as Kane's back-up, but simply slot into the side seamlessly, supplementing other players in the team and preventing the team from having to alter their system too much.
Tottenham Hotspur: Hart 7, Doherty 8, Sanchez 7, Davies 9, Reguilon 8, Hojbjerg 8, Winks 6, Bale 7, Lamela 6, Moura 8, Vinicius 8...Subs: Sissoko 7, Alli 6, Son 8, Lo Celso 6, Clarke N/A
LASK Linz: Schlager 6, Andrade 5, Trauner 5, Wiesinger 6, Renner 6, Ranftl 6, Michorl 7, Holland N/A, Gruber 5, Balic 5, Raguz 5...Subs: Grgic 6, Filipovic 6, Potzmann 5, Eggestein 5, Goiginger 5
Marko Raguz of LASK is tackled by Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur
Image credit: Getty Images
17' - GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!! Brilliantly worked opener from the home side. Davies plays a beautiful lofted ball to Vinicius on the left, who's found space beyond the defence on the edge of the box. He plays it across to Lucas Moura, who finishes with fantastic composure to make it 1-0.
26' - GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!! All too easy. Spurs make it 2. A marauding run from Reguilon helps him beat multiple defenders and cut inside from the left before a simple pass to Lamela. The Argentine moved it onto Bale inside the box, whose attempted low cross towards the unmarked Vinicius is deflected into the back of the net for an own-goal by Andres Andrade.
28' - CLOSE ONE!! Spurs almost score right after the restart as an effort from Vinicius nearly finds it's way in, but LASK 'keeper Schlager does just about enough to keep it out.
45' - Two good chances for LASK and Spurs are in danger for the first time this game! Balic and Gruber both come close for the visitors but the first effort is blocked strongly, while Hart produces a brilliant diving save to deny the Austrians for a second time.
47' - Wow! Marvellous opportunity for Spurs already, as Lamela gets on the end of a Vinicius pass in the box and attempts to bend a shot inside the left post, but it rolls marginally wide.
64' - LASK threaten from a corner again! Michorl directs it towards the near post and Filipovic rises to head it awkwardly but his effort goes slightly over the bar.
74' - Schlager clears it off the line!! Vinicius provides an opening for Alli in behind the LASK defence. Schlager gets his hands to the subsequent shot but is not able to stop it fully and it trickles towards the goal line. The LASK 'keeper sprints back and produces a sliding clearances to get it away.
83' - GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!!! Spurs slice open the LASK defence again this evening with an impressive team goal. It is another assist for Vinicius too, with Doherty's brilliant cross being headed down by him into the path of the onrushing Son, who finishes past Schlager with ease. They have been a noticeably better side since Son has entered the pitch and that goal rounds off their performance nicely.