TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 5 ASTERAS TRIPOLIS 1
DISPLEASED Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino admits he was riled by aspects of his side’s showing despite thrashing Greek minnows Asteras Tripolis at White Hart Lane last night.
Homegrown striker Harry Kane notched his first career hat-trick before taking over in goal following Hugo Lloris’ dismissal and conceding the first shot he faced from substitute Jeronimo Barrales, while Erik Lamela bagged twice, the first an expertly taken yet outrageous ‘rabona’.
But while Spurs’ first Europa League group stage victory of the season sees the north London club trail Turkish outfit Besiktas at the summit of Group C only on goal difference, Pochettino insists there is plenty of scope for performance enhancement.
“I am happy with the result but we need to improve,” said Pochettino. “The game, the situation and the sending off of Lloris, for that I am not happy and looking forward it is only three points. “The last goal made me dissatisfied. For me it wasn’t a sending off but I am not happy with the situation where we gave the possibility for Asteras to arrive with the keeper.”
Asteras were playing Greek fourth division football just 11 years ago but arrived at White Hart Lane as surprise group leaders after drawing with Besiktas in Istanbul and beating Partizan Belgrade at home.
But it was Tottenham who opened the scoring in the 12th minute, Kane collecting Etienne Capoue’s square ball before arrowing a low strike across Asteras keeper Tomas Kosicky and into the bottom corner of the Slovakian stopper’s net.
Tottenham doubled their lead through an exquisite strike from Argentina’s Lamela, who wrapped his left leg around the back of his right to angle the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Lamela scored his second of the night in the 66th minute, keeping his eye on the ball and steering an impressive left-footed volley low past Kosicky.
With Greek hopes of a comeback looking forlorn, a stark reminder of their attacking intent was issued moments later as Lloris was forced into an instinctive one-handed save to repel Fernando Usero’s acrobatic volley from point-blank range.
Kane’s love affair with the Europa League continued with 15 minutes remaining, reacting first to prod home after Kosicky had parried Moussa Dembele’s shot.
And the England Under-21 forward completed his hat-trick on 81 minutes when his downward header from Federico Fazio’s cross beat Kosicky, taking his tally in this season’s competition to six and staking a compelling claim for a Premier League starting berth against Newcastle on Sunday.
Kane’s eventful evening was far from over and after Lloris saw red for felling Tasos Tsokanis, he donned the goalkeeping jersey with Spurs out of substitutes, only to bundle the resulting Barrales free-kick into his own net.