Substitute Erik Lamela Turns Game For Tottenham


Substitute Erik Lamela turned the game for Tottenham as Spurs recovered from being a goal down to win 2 – 1 in the Europa League 1st leg game against AEL Limassol in Cyprus.

AEL Limassol 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Scorers: Sardinero      Soldado, Kane

Team: Lloris. Naughton, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies. Bentaleb, Paulinho (Chadli); Holtby (Dembele), Townsend (Lamela), Kane, Soldado Subs: (Unused) Friedel, Dawson, Rose, Sandro

Eric Lamela replaced Andros Townsend in the 72nd minute as Tottenham trailed to a first half goal by Limassol. Inside 2 minutes, Lamela had set up Roberto Soldado for an equaliser and in 8 minutes has created the winner for Harry Kane. In the final minutes the Argentine did his best to get on the scoresheet but was denied by the goalkeeper. The turnaround in the game will make the 2nd leg match at White Hart Lane next week so much more comfortable.

Mauricio Pochettino made seven changes from the team who defeated West Ham with only Hugo Lloris, Kyle Naughton, Eric Dier and Nabil Bentaleb starting both games. Jan Vertonghen and Paulinho started their first game of the season.

1st Half

In the early minutes, Spurs looked comfortable and missed a good chance when a cross ball from Nabil Bentaleb picked out Ben Davies. He laid it off for Harry Kane whose shot was blocked by the goalkeeper. The ball fell quickly to Soldado but he put it past the post after 4 minutes.

After 13 minutes a shot by Kane went over and then two minutes later Tottenham lost possession in midfield and in a swift counter-attack, Limassol caught the Spurs defence flat-footed. Sardinero cut between the central defenders and gave Lloris no chance from the edge of the box.

The home side grew in confidence as Spurs struggled to get any cohesion to their game and Limassol could have added to their lead with their quick breaks. The Spurs forward threat was limited as Limassol defended solidly to dispossess Tottenham in midfield or around the penalty area. Any threat they did have came from Kane who tested the goalkeeper from distance after 27 minutes.

AEL retained possession well while Spurs were ponderous in their movement. Spurs were susceptible to the break and Lloris had to make a good save after 33 minutes. It was Limassol who looked most likely to score and Tottenham were relieved to get to half-time having conceded only one goal.

2nd Half

The second half continued as the first with the danger coming from Limassol who were much more effective than Spurs in all areas.

Tottenham were fortunate to get to the last thirty minutes and still be only one goal behind. Limassol had had their chances to turn their superiority in to goals but hadn’t taken them. Gradually, Spurs started to have greater possesion. A Nacer Chadli cross found Soldado whose cushioned header was met by Kane. His shot thundered against the goalkeeper and onto the underside of the bar and away to safety.

#453913742 /

Introduction of Erik Lamela

On 72 minutes, Pochetino introduced the third of his substitutes – Erik Lamela replacing Andros Townsend. Lamela changed the game and Spurs were able to return to London with a goal advantage.

In the 74th minute, Kane won the ball in midfield and played it to Lamela who broke forward, and with a clipped pass found Soldado who powered his shot home.

More from Europa League

AEL still threatened with a shot past the post but on 79 minutes Lamela did it again. He carried the ball forward and pushed it through to Kane who fired the ball into the roof of the net.

In the final minutes Lamela then had two chances to increase the lead but put the first wide and the goalkeeper saved the second with his legs.

AEL Limassol worked hard and deserved their goal advantage and if they had been more clinical and punished Tottenham for poor defending, they could have had a comfortable victory. They didn’t make the most of their chances which allowed Erik Lamela to turn the game around for Spurs in the most exciting of ways.