Erik Lamela had his best game for Tottenham scoring the opening goal and winning the penalty which enable Jermain Defoe to set a new European record for Tottenham in their 2 – 1 success over FC Sheriff. The win ensured Spurs qualification for the next stages of the Europa League.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 FC Sheriff 1
Scorers: Lamela, Defoe Isa
Team: Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Naughton; Capoue (Paulinho) Dembele; Lamela, Eriksen (Holtby), Sigurdsson (Kane); Defoe Subs: (unused) Archer, Chiriches, Lennon, Soldado
Andre Villas-Boas made 9 changes to the team which played at Everton. Only Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen retained their places but the Belgian had returned to central defence alongside Younes Kaboul.
Spurs dominated possession in the first half and controlled the game but as in Moldova, FC Sheriff defended in depth and broke quickly threatening on a number of occasions. Erik Lamela was prominent in the early stages, running at defenders and looking to take them on. Mousa Dembele brought the first save from the goalkeeper after 6 minutes when he ran at the defence and shot low from the edge of the area.
Lamela was constantly looking for the ball but after a period of dominance, midway through the half, Sheriff had two chances to take the lead. First with a quick break from defence Ricardo Cavalcante ran through the centre drawing in defenders before releasing Isa who shot from the edge of the area but Kaboul recovered to put in a challenge which diverted the ball onto the post. Two minutes later, Christian Eriksen gave the ball away in his own half. Cavalcante gathered the ball but he pulled his shot wide.
After those scares, Tottenham regained control but were finding it very difficult to create any goal scoring chances but Lamela could have had a penalty as he jinked into the area. Late on a cross by Lamela was deflected onto the outside of the post but the best opportunity came to Defoe in the final minute. From a cross by Gylfi Sigurdssen from the right, Defoe got ahead of the defender at the near post but failed to get a touch on the ball. In the final seconds of the half the visitors had another break through Cavalcante but Kaboul got back to defend.
The second half continued in a similar vein with Sheriff looking to break quickly. A shot by Luvannor was saved low by Friedel. After 55 minutes Eriksen picked up a loose ball and ran towards the area unleashing a shot from 20 yards which the goalkeeper tipped over.First for Lamela
Lamela got his first goal for Spurs after an hour. He picked up the ball on the right and cut infield playing the ball across to Eriksen who played a return pass into the area. The ball hit a defender and fell to Lamela who finished coolly. The goal lifted Spurs and inspired Lamela who continued to trouble the Sheriff defenders with his close control and willingness to take on his markers in tight situations.
23 For Defoe
Six minutes later Lamela ran into the area and was brought down. This time the penalty was awarded. Up stepped Defoe to confidently hammer the ball into the roof of the net. It gave Spurs a two goal advantage and was his 23rd European goal for Spurs, to move one ahead of Martin Chivers as Tottenham’s leading goalscorer in European competitions.
A surprise break by Sheriff brought an end to Spurs run without conceding in Europe. Friedel parried a long range shot but the ball fell to Isa who finished with a good effort from a narrow angle after 72 minutes.
Spurs saw out the final minutes without any further trouble knowing that qualification for the knock-out stages was assured.
Congratulations to Jermain Defoe on his record and to Erik Lamela on his first Tottenham goal.