Just the result that Tottenham were looking for with five goals to ensure their progress into the Group stages of the Europa League. Andros Townsend starting his first Tottenham game since last October took the opportunity to impress Andre Villas-Boas with a goal and two assists as Tottenham scored five without reply in Tbilisi as Roberto Soldado scored twice in the second half.
Dinamo Tbilisi 0 Tottenham Hotspur 5
Scorers: Townsend, Paulinho, Soldado (2), Rose
Team: Lloris; Naughton, Dawson, Kaboul, Rose; Capoue, Dembele, Paulinho (Carroll); Townsend, Soldado (Kane), Sigurdsson (Chadli)
Subs: Friedel, Fryers, Walker, Coulthirst
With a strong team Tottenham dominated possession and controlled play from the outset against Dinamo Tbilisi who looked to maintain a solid 4 – 4 – 2 formation, relying on the quick break to trouble Spurs.
Quality passing in midfield allowed Spurs to control the pace of the game and an early goal by Andros Townsend helped them settle into their rhythm. From a corner, Gylfi Sigurdsson headed clear and after the ball ran loose, Townsend picked it up inside his own half and headed towards goal. With defenders back-pedalling, Townsend shot from 20 yards giving the goalkeeper no chance after 12 minutes. The goal encouraged Spurs and the winger who was a constant problem for the home defenders. Another run caused them trouble and when the ball fell to Soldado inside the area the goalkeeper had to react quickly to save at his near post.
A free-kick for a foul on Townsend was hit into the side netting by Sigurdsson. With Spurs dominant it was a shock when Hugo Lloris had to react quickly to a header from a cross from their left, saving for a corner.
Spurs continued to threaten a second goal and three minutes before the interval it came courtesy of a run by Townsend. Kyle Naughton dispossessed Tbilisi in his own half and fed the ball forward to Townsend who took on his defender and beat him on the edge of the area. He lifted a cross onto the head of Paulinho who headed home.
Any early threat from Tbilisi was ended with another Townsend run. With the ball cleared from a corner, Townsend ran at pace after 57 minutes and got to the bye-line and pulled it back to Soldado who finished clinically. Townsend had another chance to shoot but lifted the ball towards Paulinho whose overhead kick went over. A minute later it was 4 – 0 when Nacer Chadli who had replaced Sigurdsson laid the ball back to Danny Rose whose shot went into the top corner from 20 yards.
With 24 minutes to go Chadli sent in a beautiful cross from the left which was met perfectly by Soldado to score his second.
With the match won, Tbilisi were dispirited and it allowed Tom Carroll and Harry Kane to come on for the final 22 minutes. Kane had an opportunity to add another but was unlucky when his header beat the goalkeeper only to hit the post and bounce back into his hands. This came from a Townsend run and cross by Chadli.
In the final minutes Tbilisi tested the Spurs defence and Lloris who made a number of good saves to ensure he kept another clean sheet.
There were many positives for AVB with Townsend and Naughton playing well and Kaboul who was at his usual dominant self until tiredness crept into his game in the final minutes. A great result for Spurs which will allow AVB to rest some of his players and use the squad players and younger ones in next week’s 2nd leg match.