Two goals from Jermain Defoe in the final five minutes of the first half ensured there was no disappointment for Tottenham in their Europa League 2nd leg match against Dinamo Tbilisi at White Hart Lane.Having a five goal advantage from the first match in Georgia there was no chance of Spurs failing to qualify for the group stages but Andre Villas-Boas wanted to ensure there wasn’t an embarrassing defeat even though he rested many of his first choice players and took the opportunity of giving squad members and young players an opportunity. Michael Dawson, Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose all sat out the match in readiness for Sunday’s match with the new signings remaining on the bench.
Tottenham Hotspur 3 Dinamo Tbilisi 0
Scorers: Defoe (2), Holtby
Team: Friedel; Walker (Fryers), Kaboul, Vertonghen, Naughton; Townsend (Kane), Sandro, Carroll, Holtby (Dembele), Sigurdsson; Defoe. Subs: (unused) Lloris, Capoue, Paulinho, Soldado
Brad Friedel started his first game of the season and Younes Kaboul captained the side which had Sandro and Lewis Holtby making their first start after injury. Tom Carroll started in central midfield as the new signings had an evening off.
Tottenham took immediate control which they never relinquished, dictating the pace of the game. Tbilisi rarely threatened as Spurs strolled through the game which was little more like a training game for them.
Spurs passing football often floundered with the final pass going astray or through misunderstandings from players unused to playing together. Andros Townsend was the most dangerous for Spurs who didn’t create any clear scoring opportunities although Townsend set up Defoe who shot across goal and wide. Townsend himself then shot past and Tom Carroll had a shot over.
Five minutes before the interval Holtby played Defoe in to open the scoring and in added time Gylfi Sigurdsson received the ball from Kyle Walker on the right. He got to the bye-line and pulled the ball across goal for Defoe to score from close in.
At the start of the second half Friedel had his one and only save to make getting down low to hold a shot from the edge of the area which was straight at him. Spurs continued to control the match and as in the first half when they attacks broke down, they usually regained the ball before Tbilisi had crossed the halfway line. Defoe had a shot blocked by the goalkeeper, Sigurdsson shot against the bar and Carroll and Holtby both shot over. It was simply a question of when a goal would come and who would get it.
In the 69th minute Holtby scored his first Tottenham goal firing in from outside the area. Eight goals up on aggregate it was a matter of seeing out time, keeping a clean sheet and avoiding injury. Harry Kane had a shot well saved by the goalkeeper as Spurs ensured they didn’t concede any silly late goals as they played out time.
There will be many more important and difficult games as the season progresses starting with Sunday’s trip to the Emirates. A number of players took the opportunity to remind AVB of what they could offer to his team in the coming months.