Friday, July 21, 2017

Tottenham 4 Monaco 1: Lamela hat-trick clinches top spot in Group J

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Dec 2015

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Erik Lamela hit a first-half hat-trick as Tottenham clinched top spot in Group J of the Europa League with a 4-1 triumph over Monaco at White Hart Lane.

Lamela broke the deadlock inside two minutes before a goalkeeping howler gifted him a second after a quarter of an hour. His third arrived shortly before the break, taking his tally in the competition this season to five.

Tom Carroll also scored for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, as they stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to nine matches with a third successive home win in Europe.

Stephan El Shaarawy’s fine effort on the hour was no more than a consolation for Monaco. The Ligue 1 side finish behind both Tottenham and Anderlecht – who defeated Qarabag 2-1 at home – in the final standings.

With a place in the last 32 already guaranteed, Pochettino had the luxury of naming Delle Alli and Harry Kane among the substitutes.

The two England internationals had to be in their seats on the bench quickly to see the game’s first goal, Lamela producing a first-time finish to Ben Davies’ low cross from the left.

If his opener had been laid on a plate by Davies, Lamela’s second was gifted to him by visiting goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

The Croatian looked to have a low shot from just outside the area covered as he dived down to his left, only to somehow let the ball slip underneath his body and into the net.

Monaco briefly threatened to make a game of it after going 2-0 down, with Tiemoue Bakayoko seeing an effort deflected just wide of Hugo Lloris’ left post.

However, the visitors saw their qualification hopes go from slim to none when Lamela completed his treble eight minutes before the break.

Clinton N’Jie seized possession just inside Monaco’s half before teeing up his team-mate for a right-footed shot that he thrashed past Subasic.

The only disappointment for Tottenham in the first half was the loss of Eric Dier through injury, although his departure presented Nabil Bentaleb the chance to make his first appearance at club level since suffering an ankle injury in August.

Subasic denied Joshua Onomah from close range before a fourth goal arrived on the hour mark, albeit for the away side.

El Shaarawy – who had scored the equaliser in the 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture – produced a curling shot that Lloris proved unable to keep out. Had Nabil Dirar found the target with a header soon after, Tottenham could have endured a nervy finish. 

Instead, Carroll made sure the hosts had the final word, tricking his way past a defender before cleverly slotting the ball into the far corner from tight to the touchline.

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