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Tottenham 3 Qarabag 1: New boy Son stars in victory

Son Heung-min’s first goals for Tottenham inspired a 3-1 victory for the White Hart Lane club against Qarabag in their opening Europa League Group J fixture.

The recent signing from Bayer Leverkusen produced two neat finishes in the first half as the Premier League outfit came from a goal behind to take the points in north London on Thursday.

Mauricio Pochettino opted to rest Harry Kane in a much-changed XI, despite the England striker still seeking his first club goal of the season.

It mattered little, however, as Son quickly picked up the goalscoring baton after Richard Almeida had given Qarabag an unexpected lead.

The 23-year-old struck twice in the space of two minutes to ensure Tottenham headed into the break 2-1 ahead.

The second period was similarly entertaining, with a good night for the hosts capped when Erik Lamela chipped home a third.

Tottenham got off to an injudicious start as Reynaldo was afforded too much time to drive at the defence, although their blushes were spared when the Brazilian failed to trouble Hugo Lloris.

There was no such relief in the seventh minute, though, as the visitors took the lead through Richard’s penalty.

Kieran Trippier was the villain, the debutant bringing down Afran Ismayilov and allowing Richard to emphatically convert from the spot.

Tottenham fans expecting an immediate riposte were left disappointed, too, as Qarabag continued to dominate in the early stages.

Yet their defending did not match that quality attacking play as the hosts were gifted a 28th-minute equaliser. Andros Townsend swung a corner into the six-yard box and Son, inexplicably unmarked, poked home.

If that goal owed much to the opposition’s fallibility, Spurs’ second came about through sheer class.

Son played a throughball to Dele Alli who turned his defender superbly and laid the ball back for the South Korean to slot in a second.

Things nearly got much better, with Alli denied by an onrushing Ibrahim Sehic before Toby Alderweireld headed a glorious chance just over.

Those misses almost proved costly, too, as Danny Rose’s misjudgement let in Ismayilov, who somehow missed the target from eight yards.

The teams traded further solid openings before the half-time whistle, and there was no let-up after the break.

A third goal almost came in the 53rd minute thanks to some more fine play from Alli.

The former MK Dons forward exchanged passes with Eric Dier but, just as he was shaping to shoot, Lamela got in front of him and curled against the post.

Qarabag continued to look a threat themselves, illustrated by Dani Quintana drawing a smart stop from Lloris.

But Tottenham could finally breathe a sigh of relief three minutes from time as Kane, having come off the bench, slipped the ball through for Lamela – who finished coolly.

Thu 17 Sep, 2015
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