TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 vs FC SHERIFF TIRASPOL 1
TOTTENHAM boss Andre Villas-Boas hailed record-breaker Jermain Defoe and the blossoming Erik Lamela after the pair sank Sheriff and sent Spurs into the Europa League last 32.
Record buy Lamela scored one and helped lay on the second for Defoe, as the England striker broke Martin Chivers’ record of 22 European goals for the north Londoners.
“We are all particularly happy for him,” Villas-Boas said of Defoe. “It’s a great honour and will stay in time as Martin’s [did] and will be very, very difficult to break.”
Lamela’s goal was his first in 10 games since a £30m move from Roma, and Villas-Boas added: “We were waiting for a good performance from him and I think we got it. He had no fear, took on people, created a lot and we saw signs of what he can do for us.”
Defoe could have struck just before half-time but failed to connect with Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross. It was a symptom of a dire half in which the Moldovans went closest to scoring, Ismail Isa striking a post after an opportunistic break.
Pessimism was punctured on the hour, however, when Cristian Eriksen’s flick ricocheted to Lamela and the Argentinian swept a first-time shot in at the near post.
Six minutes later he undid them again, balletically evading two challenges before being halted by Djibril Paye. Defoe took the penalty – and with it the record – and not even Isa’s late strike could spoil the occasion.