Roberto Soldado notched a hat-trick and Lewis Holtby scored a spectacular goal as Tottenham Hotspur beat Anzhi Makhachkala 4-1 on Wednesday to finish atop Europa League Group K with maximum points.
Tonight's victory is our 8th straight win in European competition, equalling our all-time record in Europe 2006/07 #THFC— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 12, 2013
Anzhi, who are struggling domestically, pulled one back late in the first half through Ewerton but were easily second best throughout the 90 minutes at White Hart Lane.
That said, it was the Russian giants who made the better start to the encounter—after just four minutes, they might have taken the lead when Ilya Maximov forced Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel into a fine stop after being played through by Jucilei.
Three minutes later, however, Soldado had his first and Spurs were off to the races.
Following Abdul Razak’s foul on Andros Townsend just outside Anzhi's 18-yard box, Gylfi Sigurdsson whipped in an accurate cross that found the Spaniard’s head en route to goal.
Shortly after the quarter-hour junction, the hosts were two goals in front—Soldado getting his second after being sprung by a fine Erik Lamela through ball.
Spurs might have taken a 3-0 lead at the 30-minute mark when Sigurdsson misplaced his header from Townsend’s cross, then a minute before the break Anzhi had a lifeline in the form of Ewerton.
Nikita Burmistrov, who was one of his side’s better attacking players on the night, played in a searching delivery from the corner that his teammate, having shaken his marker, managed to deflect past Friedel and into the back of the net.
HT 2-1 - Anzhi have managed to make chances against Spurs' makeshift defence, but think AVB will be very happy with their attacking play.— Jack Pitt-Brooke (@JackPittBrooke) December 12, 2013
But Tottenham’s two-goal cushion was restored in some style by Holtby just nine minutes after the restart.
Having controlled Townsend’s cross with his left foot, the Germany international bobbled the ball into the air and volleyed an accurate shot with the outside of the same boot that came to rest inside the far corner of the net.
By this time Ryan Fredericks, who had replaced Danny Rose at the interval, had already been making his presence felt and in 69 minutes, he earned a Spurs penalty after being brought to ground by Jucilei.
Soldado stepped up to do the business and had his hat-trick after beating Anzhi 'keeper Evgeny Pomazan who, despite guessing correctly, could only get his fingertips to the ball.
Key Player Grades
Roberto Soldado: A+
The Spain international feasted on a disinterested Anzhi defense on Wednesday, scoring his first hat-trick for Spurs and also winning two tackles on the defensive side of the ball in what was his finest showing for his new club to date. (Statistics courtesy WhoScored.)
Nikita Burmistrov: B+
The 24-year-old delivered the corner for Ewerton’s goal and had 76 touches of the ball, despite the fact that his side was so completely outplayed at White Hart Lane. He also took two shots at target and executed a pair of tackles.
Next up for Tottenham is a Sunday match at home to Liverpool. On December 18 they’ll welcome West Ham to this ground in the Capital One Cup.
Anzhi will play three more Russian Premier League matches before Christmas, against Rubin Kazan and Moscow sides Spartak and CSKA.