Fresh off a resounding 4-1 victory this past Sunday vs. Crystal Palace, a red-hot Tottenham Hotspur welcomed GNK Dinamo Zagreb for the first leg of their round of 16 contest in the Europa League.
Spurs enter a critical, make-or-break stretch of games, so it was imperative they showed their class against the Croatian side. And show their class they did: Spurs dominated Zagreb in possession, opportunities, and overall play to secure a 2-0 victory. In particular, this contest was a Harry Kane masterclass.
The talismanic English striker was undoubtedly the man-of-the-match, notching a brace and driving offensive possessions with his clever passing. Right from the off, the pace was blistering. Jose Mourinho’s side ramped up the forechecking and applied consistent pressure on Zagreb any time they had the ball.
The end result? A 68-32 possession split in favor of Spurs. Such a strategy will surely suit them well in future contests, so it’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues.
In the 25th minute, a shrewd, incisive play by Erik Lamela saw Spurs break the deadlock. After avoiding Zagreb’s defenders, the Argentinian fired a clever shot off the post, which was eventually finished by Kane. He tends to find goals by being in the right place at the right time, and his first of the contest was no different.
Fast forward to the 70th minute, more of the same from Spurs’ No. 10. A cross from Serge Aurier found Zagreb defender Kévin Théophile-Catherine, who failed to decisively clear the ball. Instead, he merely tipped the ball to Kane, who shimmied and fired the ball through Théophile-Catherine’s legs and into the net.
The second goal was huge, as Spurs were able to take their foot off the gas and see through the remainder of the match. Spurs and Zagreb will finish their round of 16 tie next week, but a massively important game will be played in between. This Sunday, Spurs travel across town to Emirates Stadium to face their hated rivals Arsenal in a critical Premier League contest.
Aside from the obvious bragging rights that come with winning the North London Derby, three points would renew Spurs’ belief in Champions League football next season. Mark your calendars, you won’t want to miss this one.