Tottenham Hotspur 3, CSKA Moscow 1
Tottenham centre-forward Harry Kane insists they have lifted the Wembley curse after beating CSKA Moscow on Wednesday night to prolong their European campaign into the second half of the season.
Kane’s seventh strike in six games, a cool finish from Dele Alli and an own goal from goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saw Spurs recover from conceding the opener to clinch their place in the Europa League.
Their failure to take even a point from two previous group games at Wembley – their designated home for European ties this season – had already helped to ensure they would not progress in the Champions League.
But a first win at the national stadium in seven attempts earned the consolation of entry into the second-tier continental competition and, Kane feels, lifted a weight from their shoulders.
“That’s what we wanted to put right. A lot of people have been talking about it and it’s been a bit annoying, so it was good to go out there today and win that game,” he said.
“Now we’re into the Europa League and we’ll be playing here again, so we can build on this and hopefully go far in that competition.
“We have learned you’ve got to make sure you win your home games, especially against top teams. You can’t rely on away results – we have this season, which is disappointing.
“But we finished the campaign well, there was a bit of pride there, and it was good to send the fans home happy. Now we’ve got to concentrate on the Premier League and the Europa League when it comes around.”
Tottenham finish third in group
Tottenham’s victory secured third place in Group E, behind Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen, and means they will feature in the Europa League for a sixth season in succession.
It also ends their unwanted run at Wembley – something manager Mauricio Pochettino had been anxious to eradicate, with the club likely to play all home matches there next season while their new stadium is built.
Pochettino made just one change in a strong starting XI, yet they fell behind against the run of play in the 33rd minute when Alan Dzagoev ran onto Zoran Tosic’s knock-down and slotted past Hugo Lloris.
Alli atoned for two earlier misses by equalising moments later, the England midfielder controlling Christian Eriksen’s cross from the right and placing a half-volley beyond Akinfeev.
Kane continued his prolific form since returning from injury and ensured Spurs would go in at half-time in front by tapping in from Danny Rose’s low ball across goal.
Akinfeev unwittingly gifted Spurs a third 12 minutes from time when, having parried Alli’s point-blank header, he hooked the ball back past him with his leg as he fell to the ground.