The foul for the red did not lead to a spot kick, and Kane hit the subsequent 24-yard free-kick into the wall. And although Marseille had been the dominant side in the first half, after going down to 10 men in the first three minutes of the second half, the game became Tottenham’s to win.
Conte is not afraid to go for it when the circumstances call for it
Up a man for almost an entire half, if Tottenham did not take all three points, it would likely be something the club would come back to rue in the Champions League group stage. This opportunity that could not be lost was not lost on Antonio Conte, who made changes to ensure that Spurs would take all three points.
Bringing on Dejan Kulusevski for Emerson Royal had a major impact on the game. Emerson had not played poorly, but Kulusevski is a true attacking force who can drive Tottenham forward.
This move also marked the first time we have seen Spurs’ top four forwards on the pitch together. Although Dekki had neither a goal nor an assist, Spurs scored twice, and the desired outcome was attained.
As a fan, seeing Conte sense the situation and go for it like we want the whole team to do was positive.
Having a second striker pays dividends for Tottenham Hotspur
One of the biggest complaints regarding Spurs squad during most of the Harry Kane era has been the lack of a competent backup striker. The option to take Kane off and have a Premier League-proven striker has not been an option before this season. Now that Tottenham has a second striker, however, the dividends have been immediate, and Richarlison’s impact in the match is unquestioned with his two goals.
Conte was not technically playing a twin striker formation; however, both goals Richarlison scored demonstrated the benefit of having a second striker in the box.
On the first goal, Richarlison had already made one run toward the near post as it looked like Ivan Perisic was going to attack toward the end line. However, Perisic cut back to his right foot instead of attacking to his left.
As two Marseille defenders converged on Kane, now making the move toward the near post, Richarlison was left unmarked behind Kane and headed home. An inexperienced striker likely would not have made that play; however, as an experienced striker, Richarlison noted the change and backed out enough to reframe the goal and provide a new target.
Likewise, on his second goal, Richarlison reset after the initial corner was cleared and then demonstrated his expert finishing ability, hammering a header off the post and into the goal.
Maybe a less experienced player makes both those plays; maybe they do not. We know that Tottenham has a competent and competitive alternative to Kane, which is something new for Spurs.
Tottenham was not perfect and was even a little lucky, but taking all three points, earning a clean sheet, and getting goals from a new source made it a great night at the stadium.