LASK Fought and Fell Hard at Tottenham in Europa League

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with Harry Winks of Tottenham. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with Harry Winks of Tottenham. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 22: Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with Harry Winks of Tottenham. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

Jose Mourinho said the game would be tough and it was, but Tottenham Hotspur were too much for LASK in both clubs’ opening Europa League match of 2020-21.

The Austrian Bundesliga is on the rise, so much so that Jose Mourinho said they may be entering a “golden period” for football in their country.  Whether that is true, or it was just typical Jose Mourinho mind games, LASK was expected to be a tough opponent and they were, but Tottenham Hotspur did their business and dispatched LASK 3-0 in London.

Tottenham Transfers Take Stage

The initial start to the game was truly a settling in period for Tottenham Hotspur as the line-up featured all six available new signings and a new center-half. Gareth Bale was making his first start for the club out on the right wing and his support behind him was new signing Matt Doherty – who had a major impact on the match.

Fellow new signing Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, maned the middle of the park and Carlos Vinicius got his first opportunity to lead the line. Sergio Reguilón started at left back and his normal competition Ben Davies, who started on the left side of the center-half pairing with Davinson Sanchez. All of these defenders held the line in front of Spurs new number two keeper Joe Hart.

Ultimately the team was similar, but not the same as our projected XI and gave us even more of our new signings than we had expected, which is good. While Carlos Vinicius missed the first real opportunity of the match, the squad got it figured out and performed rather well. Spurs were not as quick off the mark as Kane and Son have been of late but found the net sooner than later.

Tottenham Take Charge

After trading shots and fouls with each other, Tottenham found the breakthrough they needed to get on top of the game. At about 16 minutes Gareth Bale beat his man on the right but was kind of blocked off and went to ground. No flag was raised, and no whistle blew, so Spurs were going to have to find their breakthrough in open play, not on a free kick.

Tottenham had won possession and recycled it around the back, with Hojbjerg sending it wide to Ben Davies. Davies carried up toward midfield and spotted Carlos Vinicius making a diagonal run. Davies floated the ball up to Vinicius who brought the ball down and cut it back across his body to Lucas Moura. Moura adjusted his feet and blasted it home first time for the 1-0 lead.

Shortly after the goal, Hojbjerg was struck by an elbow and had a cut that many a referee would have stopped the fight for. After some pressure, some goo, a new head-based mummy wrap, and of course a new jersey the Dane came running back on the pitch.

Gareth Bale floated a sweet free kick into the box at about 23 minutes, but no one could get on the end of it. Then finally, following some nice dribbling from Reguilón and a quick touch to Erik Lamela, the Argentine found Bale on the right. Bale saw Vinicius in the middle of the box and sent in a cross with the outside of his left foot.

Unfortunately for LASK and fortunately for Spurs, Andrade tried to block the cross and deflect the ball past his keeper for Spurs second on the evening, with the own goal. Immediately following the kickoff Vinicius played in Lamela, who got the ball just under keeper Alexander Schlager, but the keeper scrambled and got on the ball before anyone else could kick it in. Before the half was over, Matt Doherty gave up his body to block a strong shot and Joe Hart went full extension making a big glove save. To get a shutout you need players making big defensive plays too and these were them for Spurs on the night.

Spurs See the Match Out

The second half was much more of the same, with the game relatively open and back and forth but only one side was getting real chances, Tottenham, and LASK was hoping to catch a break on a half-chance. LASK had 11 total shots and four on target, but Hart was only really made to work the one time at the end of the first half.

Lamela had another chance early in the half after Vinicius played him in, but Lamela was just wide of the post. Gareth Bale made a couple runs up the right-hand side, once being played in by Erik Lamela and once off a Joe Hart throw. But Bale would have to live with the own goal he created, as he, Lamela, and Højbjerg were removed for Heung-Min Son, Dele Alli, and Moussa Sissoko.

Following the substitutions, the game continued to flow, with Tottenham having the better of the play. A bit after 70 minutes Dele played in Son, but his shot was knocked over the bar. Then a few minutes later, Vinicius played in Dele, but the ball was blocked and then saved off the line. While there may have been a question or two about offside, given there is no VAR it looked like it would have been a Dele goal had it not been cleared off the line.

Lo Celso got a little run out as he is coming back from injury and then Matt Doherty played the ball up to Vinicius who nodded it down into the path of Son inside the box. Son knew what to do from there and put Tottenham ahead 3-0, which would be the final score.

Jack Clarke Debuts for Spurs

Jose Mourinho, did use his fifth and final substitution bringing on Jack Clarke late for Vinicius – who had a great debut of his own – giving the teenager his first team debut. Like Vinicius in the first half Clarke had his chance to score on nearly his first touch. Doherty sent in a cross, which Clarke brought down on the far post. The young Spur was just a bit too eager and caught the ball when still coming up off the bounce on the half-volley and hammered it over the goal.

A goal for Clarke would have been amazing, but the winger will have to live with making his Tottenham debut. While Matt Doherty had one more cross in him before the final whistle, the scoring was over the tie was decided well before the familiar sound. It was a good start for Tottenham Hotspur in Europa League as they look to win silverware.

Spurs next play on Monday in the Premier League at Burnley, then again in Europa League next Thursday at Royal Antwerp, who beat Ludogorets in the other Group J opener.