Tottenham Hotspur vs. AEL: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

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Tottenham Hotspur vs. AEL: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Harry Kane, Paulinho and Andros Townsend scored the goals as Tottenham Hotspur advanced to the UEFA Europa League group stage with a comfortable 3-0 victory over AEL Limassol in the second leg of their play-off tie Thursday night at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham entered the match as firm favourites to progress following a 2-1 win in Cyprus last week in the first leg.

Kane and Paulinho netted either side of half-time to send Spurs on their way, and Townsend sealed a 5-1 aggregate victory with a 65th-minute penalty.

The final margin could have been even greater, but Kane had an early penalty saved. It mattered little, however, as Spurs dominated from the start.

With the victory, Tottenham will now enter Friday's group-stage draw, which will be held in Monaco. The group stage is set to commence Sept. 18.

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino's side will hope to maintain their positive start to the Premier League season. After winning their first two matches, Spurs will host Liverpool on Sunday in a match that should provide an early reading on their top-four credentials.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Already holding the advantage from the first leg, Tottenham looked to put the tie away early on home soil. In the sixth minute, the hosts seemed set to do just that as Kyle Naughton won a penalty. Running on to Paulinho's long pass down the right, Naughton beat Karim Fegrouch to the ball before being felled by the AEL goalkeeper's challenge.

The referee immediately pointed to the spot for a penalty, but first the two sides had to wait while Fegrouch received treatment on the pitch. With his face bloodied from the collision with Naughton, Fegrouch left the pitch on a stretcher in the 13th minute.

Following the long delay, Kane took the penalty against Pulpo Romero in the 14th minute. Kane shot straight down the middle, and Romero saved with his trailing leg after diving to his left.

Spurs were undeterred by the miss, with Kane forcing another save in the 19th minute with a hard shot from the edge of the box. Mousa Dembele directed a low effort off target in the 33rd minute, and Kane scooped another chance over the bar four minutes later.

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

The hosts wouldn't be denied much longer, though, and Kane was inevitably the man to put them ahead. Paulinho set up the chance after being gifted possession by an AEL giveaway, sliding the ball along the edge of the box to Kane. From there, the 21-year-old striker swept the ball into the bottom corner for a 1-0 Tottenham lead at half-time.

Leading by two goals on aggregate at half-time, Spurs found the net twice more in the second 45 minutes.

Paulinho doubled the hosts' advantage in the 49th minute with a low finish after Vlad Chiriches dispossessed Diallo Guidileye on the edge of AEL's box.

Townsend made it 3-0 in the 65th minute, confidently converting Tottenham's second penalty of the night after Edmar was called for a handball in the box.

Meanwhile, Spurs' defence was rarely busy. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was called into action for the first time in the 56th minute as Lukasz Gikiewicz managed a shot on target. But the Polish striker sent his effort too close to Lloris, who saved easily.

Kane had a chance to extend the lead in the 77th minute after a flowing move freed the striker on the left side of AEL's box, but Romero saved with his legs. The AEL goalkeeper saved again two minutes later, this time pushing Townsend's long-distance rocket over the bar.

Spurs kept attacking until the final whistle, Paulinho forcing another save with a spectacular overhead kick in the 84th minute.

  

Grades

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur: B+

Kane set Spurs on their way with the opening goal late in the first half. In addition, the young striker frequently put himself into position to score, held up the ball well, brought his teammates into the attack and generally troubled AEL's defence.

But Kane also missed the early penalty, as well as a few chances from open play. All things considered, Kane had a good game, but there was still room for improvement.

 

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur, Overall: A

Unlike the first leg, there was little drama at White Hart Lane. Even though Romero saved an early penalty for AEL, Spurs were in control from the start, and the result was never really in doubt.

With progress secured with a minimum of fuss, Spurs can return their focus to the Premier League.

 

Post-Match Reaction

 

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