Spurs won their second Champions League outting, away to Apoel Nicosia, thanks to a perfect Harry Kane hat trick and some good luck.
Another CL game, another three goals and another three points and with both results in the group another good night, as Spurs sit joint top of the group with Madrid, ahead of third place Dortmund by six points and nine goals.
Not bad after another iffy performance.
The game against Dortmund could have gone the other way if they had taken their chances, this game was much the same.
Previously Dortmund were missing a number of players, here it was Spurs turn. What with suspensions, injuries and then the late withdrawal of Eriksen through illness, Pochettino had to shift things about.
I had wondered if he’d swapped round his choice of right backs for the games after Aurier’s red card at the weekend but in the end both started. Aurier on the right, Trippier on the left, while Davies filled the spot vacated by Vertonghen, where he plays for his country.
The left is not the ideal spot for Trippier, one reasonable cross but too much passing back on his right foot.
The first half was just a discombobulated Spurs, giving the ball away and Apoel fluffing the chances they were gifted. Thankfully Spurs also fluffed the chances they gifted the hosts. The rebound off Sanchez from Lloris’ kick mercifully rolling just the right side of the post.
Even more thanks for the fact there’s Harry.
Just before the break, Toby played a glorious through ball, Harry let’s it run past him, controls it and then slides it into the far corner with his left. First shot on target, first goal.
The second half was much the same. Had to wait until the hour before he doubled it. By then Pochettino had shifted to a more 4-4-2 approach with the substitution of Lloernte for Aurier, with Trippier tacking back the latters position.
From that position Trippier played a nice ball through to Sissoko on the edge of the area, before he could stuff it up he cut the ball back to Kane, his first touch gives him the room to score with his right.
Two shots, two goals. His usual brace for September.
The third came just five minutes later and probably the best of the lot. Started by Kane from the middle played the ball out to Trippier, he controlled it a put the perfect cross in for Kane, who had kept moving after his initial pass, to head home for his first hat trick of the season.
Left, right, head, the perfect hat trick. Perfectly timed to get his team out of the trouble they were getting themselves in.
Shaky moments all round, no control and a few players disappearing. Winks had a couple of good runs through the hosts but did he do enough, was there too many easy sideways/backwards passes, did he demand the ball enough? He certainly wasn’t a like for like replacement for Eriksen. Son was hardly mentioned, Sissoko was Sissoko. Toby was caught out, Lloris had the ball at his feet far too often.
Real Madrid next, they’ve matched them results wise so far, if they can keep the scoring up while performing a lot better it would be nice…