|FK SHKENDIJA (North Macedonia) 1 (0)||TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (1)|
|Date : – Thursday 24th September 2020||Kick off : 19.00 (UK time)|
|Competition : – Europa League Third Qualifying Round||Venue : – Tose Proeski Arena, Skopje|
|Crowd : – 0,000|
|Referee : – Ali Palabiyik (TUR)||Linesmen : – Serkan Olguncan ; Cem Satman (TUR)|
|Fourth official : – Arda Kardesler (TUR)|
|Weather : Warm|
|Spurs kicked off and attacked the first half|
|FK SHKENDIJA||TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR|
|1||Kostadin ZAHOV||12||Joe HART|
|16||Mevlan MURATI||24||Serge AURIER|
|4||Egzon BEJTULAI||4||Toby ALDERWEIRELD (c)|
|20||Jan KRIVAK||6||Davinson SANCHEZ|
|3||Antonio PAVIC||33||Ben DAVIES|
|19||Bruno DITA (17. Arbin ZEJULLAI 85)||8||Harry WINKS (18. Giovani LO CELSO 59)|
|8||Ennur TOTRE||28||Tanguy NDOMBELE|
|10||Valon AHMEDI||23||Steven BERGWIJN (27. Lucas MOURA 66)|
|23||Valmir NAIFU (77. Florent RAMADANI 85)
||20||DELE Alli (10. Harry KANE 60 )|
|14||Ljupco DORIEV (22. Zeja MERDJANI 85)||11||Erik LAMELA|
|7||Besart IBAIMI||7||Heung-Min SON|
|40||Beki REDJEPI||1||Hugo LLORIS|
|15||Leard SADRIU||2||Matt DOHERTY|
|24||Medzit NEZIRI||15||Eric DIER|
|34||Aboubaker Es SAHHAL||17||Mousa SISSOKO|
|FK SHKENDIJA||TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR|
|Manager||Ernest Gjoka||Manager||Jose Mourinho|
|Kit Supplier||Macron||Kit Supplier||Nike|
|Shirt Sponsor||Ecolog||Shirt Sponsor||AIA|
|Colours||Shirts : black right half, a red left half and red/black stripe
between them; white and black detail around buttoned neck.
Shorts : Black
Socks : Black with red turnover, one black hoop around it
|Image from the Colours of Football website|
|Naifu 54m 12s||Lamela 04m 02s|
|Son 69m 38s|
|Kane 87m 54s|
|Bejtulai (foul on Dele) 39||Winks (foul on Doriev) 36|
A scare ten minutes into the second half gave Tottenham the impetus to go on and win this match by a 3-1 margin that looked like it might be much higher than that in a dominant first half. When Naifu let fly from 25 yards in the 56th minute, not even a reduced height goal could have hindered the flight of it into the top corner. And the pre-match kerfuffle about the goals being 5cm too short was a long forgotten concern, as this goal gave Spurs something more serious to think about.
The pack was shuffled by Mourinho, making six changes to the side that overcame South Coast Big Club so easily, with Joe Hart being handed his first start for the club between the posts and he he nothing to do for the majority of the game, other than pick the ball out of the net. Zahov in the other goal was the busier of the two and even then, Spurs only managed eight shots on target.
Tottenham started the game at a good pace, with lot so possession, but nothing much to show for it until the game reached the four minute mark. Bergwijn and Son linked on the left, with Heung-Min sliding a pass right to Lamela inside the right side of the box and he put the ball across the keeper low into the net with his right foot to give Spurs an ideal start. It had been all Spurs up to that point, so it was not a shock when the goal came, only the early timing of it.
With the first half over and with Jose Mourinho constantly urging the players to close down the home side, it would be job done if they could have scored a second in the first period. It was three minutes into the half when Lamela went on a mazy run from right to left across the face of the penalty area, before hitting a left foot shot that the keeper couldn’t hold, but was cleared away. In the next attack Aurier’s cross was missed by Son and the ball wouldn’t come down for Bergwijn the have a shot. Dele was held off as a cross came in and when a free-kick came to nothing, Son tried a dipper from 30 yards, but it didn’t come down. In the 53rd minute, Winks dinked a delightful ball into the box, where Erik tried to flick it with his left foot, with only the keeper to beat, but missed the ball completely. A minute later, Joe Hart had to do something, when a neat passing move almost put in one of the Shkendija players running into the box, before the Spurs keeper came out to claim it.
Lucas Moura was added into the mix, with Bergwijn going off with 35 minutes left. Kane missed what appeared to be a siple header, when Aurier checked onto his left foot to cross from 18 yards out on the right, but Harry’s glancing header went a couple of feet wide of the keeper’s right-hand post. Tottenham needed a second goal, because the opponents had shown they could score out of nothing.
A good move saw Lo Celso feed Moura in on the right side of the box and his shot was pushed out by the keeper, straight to Son, who lifted it over the two defenders and the keeper in front of him and into the roof of the net. It was a striker’s clinical finish and one that Tottenham desperately needed at this stage of the game. Now they needed to go on and finish the game off in the last twenty minutes.
Son’s deep corner was headed down and at goal by Harry Kane, but it was a simple pick-up for the goalie, with no power in the effort. With a couple of minutes remaining and from more or less the same position, this time Kane headed down past the keeper from six yards out that put Son’s cross back across the keeper to give Spurs a breathing space. The move had followed a long series of passes from the back to front and exploited the tiring Shkendija team.
Ndombele and Son had a good break on, but it slowed down, allowing Shkendija to get back behind the ball and the move ended with Moura heading over when he got under the ball.
Spurs kept possession to see out the game and progress to meet Macabbi Haifa at home next week in the play-off to qualify for the group stages. It was a little bit worrying at 1-1, with the goal of the game coming form the home team, but the substitutions after the Shkendija goal swayed the match in Tottenham’s favour, with Kane, Lo Celso and Moura adding more guile to the attack. As usual, social media slaughtered some of our players, but the side stand and fall as a unit and worked to ensure that the home side were limited to just one shot on target. It was just such a well-placed effort that it was more or less unstoppable.
With the games piling up and a decision on the Orient League Cup tie still to be made, it could be that we are pitched in against Chelsea before the Europa League play-off. It will utilise the squad and some of the players who were left behind from this trip might be selected in either the matches against Newcastle on Sunday, Leyton Orient/Chelsea on Tuesday and Maccabi Haifa on Thursday. It is a mad schedule, but one that we will have to go through to achieve securing a trophy.
That’s something that Mourinho and the players have to get into their mindset, unless the Government start moving some other goalposts.
First time Spurs have played North Macedonian opposition.