Tottenham Hotspur made a convincing start to this season’s European campaign after thrashing Georgian champions Dinamo Tbilisi by five goals to nil in the first leg of their group stage qualifier for the Europa League.
With key players such as Sandro, Aaron Lennon and Jan Vertonghen out of action, and the notable absence of Gareth Bale, the night could have proved difficult for Andre Villas-Boas and his men. However, Spurs underlined their strength in depth with a ruthless display of finishing.
The tide of the game was very much in one direction throughout, and that was towards Dinamo’s goal.
Spurs looked in control from the first whistle, and took the lead through an outstanding solo run and goal scored by Andros Townsend, who played magnificently throughout.
Townsend was also involved in the second goal, which came just before half-time. Combining well with Kyle Naughton down the right flank, Townsend clipped in a perfect cross for Paulinho to score his first competitive goal for the club.
The second half was even more one-sided than the first, with the Georgian champions tiring and allowing the North Londoners to run rings around them.
The floodgates well and truly opened when Roberto Soldado scored his first of the evening, again because of fantastic wing play from Townsend.
Left-back Danny Rose then joined in on the fun, scoring his first goal for Tottenham since his phenomenal goal against Arsenal two and half years ago; and this one was no less impressive, as he exchanged passes with substitute Nacer Chadli before thumping in a swerving shot into the top right hand corner of the goal.
Soldado, who had remained fairly anonymous throughout the evening, showed his poaching instincts by scoring his second, after a perfect ball across the six yard box from Chadli, giving the Spain international a simple tap-in.
Harry Kane, Soldado’s replacement, then hit the post as Spurs kept up the pressure right to the final whistle.
There were occasions of panic in the Tottenham defence, but these were few and far between; on the odd occasion the backline were breached, the home side found a resolute keeper in Hugo Lloris, who pulled off two top-class saves.
Overall, a very successful night for Tottenham Hotspur should have ensured European football until December at the very least, along with proving to the doubters that they can cope without their talisman Gareth Bale.
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