Tottenham Hotspur 4 Anzhi 1
Scorers: Soldado (3, 1 pen), Holtby Ewerton
Team: Friedel; Naughton, Capoue, Fryers, Rose (Fredericks); Dembele (Eriksen), Holtby; Lamela, Sigurdsson, Townsend; Soldado (Coulthirst) Subs: (unused) Archer, Dawson, Chadli, Dombaxe
Roberto Soldado rediscovered his goalscoring touch to claim his first hat-trick for Spurs and they were heartened with the return of Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen after injury.
Andre Villas-Boas selected a much changed team to cope with injuries and the pressure from the number of matches coming in the next three weeks. Only Kyle Naughton, Etienne, Mousa Dembele and Lewis Holtby remained from the team which started against Sunderland on Saturday. Danny Rose started his first match since being injured in the opening group game of the Europa League in September. The lack of central defenders meant that Capoue continued in that role playing with Zeki Fryers who moved in from the left back position, where he has normally played.
Dembele and Holtby who made a significant contribution to Saturday’s win both started with Erik Lamela, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andros Townsend endeavouring to open up the defence for Soldado.
Anzhi started quickly and in the first minute were awarded a free-kick on the left but Fryers headed out the cross to the edge of the area and the ball was cleared for a corner. The visitors threatened again after 3 minutes when Holtby lost the ball in midfield and Anzhi broke through the middle but Fryers put in a recovering tackle and Friedel blocked the shot.
After five minutes Andros Townsend caused problems on the left with his pace. He played the ball to Roberto Soldado and took a return pass before being brought down on the edge of the area. Sigurdsson played the cross in and Soldado got a touch to flick the ball into the net off the post.
Spurs were lively with Townsend always a threat with his running and pace. After 10 minutes, Soldado played the ball wide to Kyle Naughton who fired in a cross/shot which the goalkeeper palmed out. Five minutes later Dembele played the ball across the pitch to Erik Lamela who put a first time pass into the area for Soldado to shoot across goal for number two.
For a match with nothing at stake, the game was played with pace as Spurs continued to dominate. Townsend fired in a cross from the left but it was cut out before it could reach Soldado and then after half an hour, his cross was headed past by Sigurdsson. Only slack play by Spurs presented Anzhi with the opportunity to get forward and three minutes later Spurs had another warning when Holtby lost possession again but Capoue recovered to deny them.
The goalkeeper punched out a Holtby free-kick and a deflection was cleared off the line. Five minutes before the interval, Townsend was played in by Soldado but with only the goalkeeper to beat he lifted the ball past the post. In the final minutes of the half, Anzhi created some pressure on the make-shift Spurs defence which resulted in a goal poked home by Ewerton from a corner.
At half-time Ryan Fredericks replaced Rose and there was early pressure from the visitors but the young defender did well to clear a cross when under pressure. Any doubts Spurs had were relieved after 53 minutes when Holtby scored an excellent goal which they worked from one end of the pitch to the other. Dembele was under pressure in his own area but worked his way out to play the ball forward to Holtby. He found Sigurdsson who played the ball wide to Townsend on the right. The winger cut inside and lifted a chipped ball over the defence to Holtby who had continued his run forward. He controlled the ball in the air and lifted a delicate shot over the goalkeeper.
Spurs kept the pressure on Anzhi with Fredericks showing tremendous place on the right. He put in a cross which Soldado flicked on with his head but was saved by the goalkeeper. The fourth goal arrived as Fredericks burst into the area at pace. He went past his man and went down under pressure. After a delay and consultation with his officials the referee awarded a penalty which Soldado placed into the net although the goalkeeper got his hand to the ball.
Spurs continued to create chances but Anzhi threatened with quick counter-attacks with Friedel having to come out quickly to cut out the through ball. After 71 minutes a Lamela header from a Fredericks cross was tipped over by the goalkeeper and he made another good save from a shot by Holtby from 30 yards.
Shaq Coulthirst replaced Soldado to make his first team debut but it was the oldest man in the competition who showed his ability with a double save after 80 minutes. Friedel blocked a powerful shot and was immediately back on his feet to keep out the second effort. A comfortable win for Spurs which could have been greater if they’d accepted the chances as Lamela had a late effort saved by the Anzhi keeper.
Tottenham qualified with maximum points, to become only the 7th team to achieve that in the history of the Europa League. Soldado was back among the goals and athere were encouraging performances by the younger Tottenham players while Townsend demonstrated how effective he can be playing on the left from which Soldado benefited greatly.