Sports

Spurs survive Europa League scare

Spurs survive Europa League scare
Players of Tottenham and Lokomotiv Plovdiv fight for the ball during their Europa League match.
London, Sep 18 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/18/2020 12:56:44 PM IST

Tottenham survived a Europa League scare to come from behind and beat nine-man Lokomotiv Plovdiv 2-1 to progress into the third qualifying round.

Spurs were staring at an embarrassing defeat with 19 minutes remaining in Bulgaria after substitute Georgi Minchev fired plucky Plovdiv ahead.

However, Harry Kane’s 80th-minute penalty, awarded after Dinis Almeida was sent off for handball on the line, and the dismissal of Birsent Karagaren for dissent turned the game in Spurs’ favour.

Tottenham substitute Tanguy Ndombele sealed the comeback with five minutes remaining as Jose Mourinho’s side set up a third qualifying round tie against Shkendija in North Macedonia next Thursday.

Spurs could have had a much easier evening than they did, had Heung-Min Son dispatched Giovani Lo Celso’s through pass inside two minutes, but the outstretched leg of goalkeeper Martin Lukov prevailed.

Steven Bergwijn rattled the crossbar midway through the half and then should have been awarded a penalty when he was up-ended in the box by Lucas Masoero, but the referee and linesman missed the clear foul.

Spurs were unable to find a breakthrough before the break but created their best opening within eight minutes of the restart as Ben Davies’ cross reached Son unmarked, but the South Korean scooped over from six yards.

And things took a turn for the worse on 71 minutes when a corner was flicked to substitute Minchev at the back post and he rifled home past Hugo Lloris to give Plovdiv the lead.

But it lasted just nine minutes as Davies’ header was blocked on the line by Almeida, who was shown a straight red card, and he was quickly followed off the field by Karagaren who picked up a second yellow for his protests.

Kane stroked his first goal of the season from 12 yards and, with parity restored, Spurs used their two-man advantage as Ndombele bundled home Lucas Moura’s cross at the back post five minutes later to seal the victory.

Tottenham Hotspur  travel to Southampton in the English Premier League on Saturday before travelling to North Macedonia for Thursday’s Europa League third qualifying round tie against Shkendija.

 

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