Tottenham Hotspur cling on to win five-goal, three red card thriller in Antonio Conte’s first match
UEFA Europa Conference League Group G, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Son 15’, Moura 22’, Rasmussen OG 28’) Vitesse 2 (Rasmussen 32’, Bero 39’)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 04: Markus Schubert of Vitesse is shown a red card by Referee, Marco Di Bello during the UEFA Europa Conference League group G match between Tottenham Hotspur and Vitesse at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 04, 2021 in Lond
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 04: Lucas Moura of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with Harry Kane, Eric Dier and teammates after scoring their side's second goal during the UEFA Europa Conference League group G match between Tottenham Hotspur and Vitesse at Tott
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Rasmussen headed home a corner at the other end and Matus Bero slid a ball past Hugo Lloris before the break.
The second half saw both Cristian Romero and Vitesse skipper Danilho Doekhi commit crazy fouls to pick up second yellow cards and then the Dutch side's goalkeeper Markus Schubert joined them on the sidelines when he handled outside his area six minutes from time.
Tottenham rode their luck before having the benefit of extra numbers on the field, but held on for a victory which lifts them into second place in Group G, three points behind leaders Rennes.
TALKING POINT - EARLY SIGNS OF CONTE INFLUENCE ON KANE
It goes without saying there is a long way for Antonio Conte to go in changing Tottenham, but we may have seen a glimpse of his influence with Harry Kane already. Too often this season Kane has been more Centre Point than focal point for Tottenham's attacks, with similar mobility to the Central London structure. When Bobby Robson came to Newcastle in 1999, his first aim was to get Alan Shearer playing on the half-turn. Prior to this the England skipper seemed a forlorn figure, more often complaining and trying to win free kicks rather than attacking the opposition goal. Sound familiar?
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Kane is a different player to Shearer and will require different fine-tuning, but most evident on the second goal was the way he moved from his central position laterally to get a ball from Lucas Moura. Then in a move familiar to other Conte sides, Moura raced into the space Kane vacated and then through on goal. There was little encouragement as the game went on but from such little things, big things may grow.
While the rest of the Tottenham side might need a lot more alterations, making Spurs more mobile and less predictable up front could quickly make them a dangerous force in the final third once again.
MAN OF THE MATCH - HUGO LLORIS (TOTTENHAM)
Lloris made at least two fantastic saves to ensure Tottenham won the first game of this (latest) new era. Sondre Tronstad's dipping volley really deserved a goal but was matched by an equally good save from the French goalkeeper lunging far and high to his left to tip over the bar. Similarly, in the second half Riechedly Bazoer thought he had scored when he curled an effort which seemed to be just nipping in off the post when Lloris this time threw himself to his left to save a goal.
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 04: A child is embraced by Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur on the pitch following the UEFA Europa Conference League group G match between Tottenham Hotspur and Vitesse at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 04,
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Tottenham: Lloris 8*, Dier 6, Romero 5, Davies 6; Royal 6, Skipp 6, Hojbjerg 7, Reguilon 7; Moura 7, Kane 6, Son 7.
14' GOAL FOR SPURS! Son crashes home from a narrow angle after Moura's shot was saved, then the keeper swept the ball away from the feet of Kane to the South Korean whose effort could not be stopped on the line.
22' GOAL FOR SPURS! This was incredibly easy. Moura flicked the ball to Kane who moved to his right to receive the ball then pass back towards the centre where Moura was running free and, after taking time to count all the fans in Row A, he slotted home.
28' GOAL FOR SPURS! Davies surged through on goal and received a ball inside from Reguilon and though his effort on goal was horrendous it would have set up Kane for a tap-in but for Rasmussen sliding in to inadvertently carry the ball over the line.
32' GOAL FOR VITESSE! Rasmussen scores at the other end, easily beating Dier to head home a corner.
39' GOAL FOR VITESSE! What a strange game. Moura gives the ball away on the touchline and Gboho nudges the ball inside perfectly in front of Bero was slides the ball unerringly inside the far post.
59' RED CARD! Romero gets a second yellow card for pulling down Openda near the touchline. A very clumsy tangle which has seemingly hurt both men. But now leaves Spurs in a perilous position.
81' RED CARD! Spurs' task has been made easier as Vitesse captain Doekhi made a stupid rugby tackle on Kane in the centre of the field and picks up a second yellow card.