Tottenham Hotspur vs. AEL: Winners and Losers from Europa League Game
Tottenham Hotspur are through to the group stage of the Europa League following a comfortable 3-0 win over AEL Limassol on Thursday at White Hart Lane.
Harry Kane, Paulinho and Andros Townsend all found the back of the net for Spurs, who eased past their Cypriot opponents following a nervy first leg in which they scraped a 2-1 victory.
Despite making a decent start to the match, AEL ended up being found out repeatedly as Spurs pressed high up the park, forcing turnovers and imposing themselves in the attacking third.
Following are some of the winners and losers from the encounter.
Winner: Harry Kane, Who Missed a Penalty but Then Scored the Winner
Harry Kane put in a useful 90 minutes against AEL Limassol on Thursday and scored what proved to be the winner when he beat goalkeeper Pulpo Romero from in close following an accurate Paulinho pass.
But the Spurs striker began his night with a saved penalty—a setback that might have affected him negatively.
He pressed on, however, and generally made excellent use of space in the goalmouth. The goal he eventually scored was very much deserved.
Loser: Karim Fegrouch, Who Conceded a Penalty and Went off Injured
Barely six minutes had ticked off the clock when AEL goalkeeper Karim Fegrouche rushed off his line and fouled Kyle Naughton inside his own 18-yard box.
Predictably, the referee awarded a penalty on the play, but Harry Kane was only able to step up eight minutes later—Fegrouch having taken Naughton’s knee to his head and requiring medical attention.
The 32-year-old was then carried off the field on a stretcher, rushed to hospital and replaced by Pulpo Romero.
Winner: Paulinho, Who Played His Best Match of the Season
Paulinho had a mostly forgettable summer.
After losing his starting place in the Brazilian national team at the World Cup, the midfielder struggled in his first few appearances after returning to Tottenham Hotspur.
But on Thursday the former Corinthians man looked as good as he has in months—pressuring the AEL ball-carriers, creating turnovers, playing accurate passes and, in the 49th minute, finding the back of the net.
He may even have done enough to work his way into the Spurs squad for Sunday's Premier League showdown with Liverpool.
Loser: Edmar, Who Sent Andros Townsend to the Spot
AEL wing-back Edmar had a rather up-and-down evening at White Hart Lane.
Tortured by both Andros Townsend and Kyle Naughton, he managed to hold his own until just after the hour mark, when he waved his arm at a Townsend pass and gifted Spurs a penalty.
Townsend made no mistake from the spot, and the hosts proceeded to slow the game down to a walking pace from there.
Winner: Pulpo Romero, Who Saved Harry Kane's Penalty
Pulpo Romero's first piece of action at White Hart Lane came in the 14th minute when he was called upon to face Harry Kane, who had been waiting eight minutes to take a penalty.
Karim Fegrouch, having been carried off the pitch following his foul on Kyle Naughton, had to be substituted, and Romero replaced him just in time to face Kane.
He ended up making an excellent save on the Spurs forward—diving to his left to keep the ball out of the back of the net.
Loser: Valentinos Sielis, Who Had a Night to Forget
Valentinos Sielis will have been relieved to hear the final whistle on Thursday.
The AEL Limassol defender had a nightmare at White Hart Lane, where he couldn't seem to place a pass and was repeatedly dispossessed.
He, more than any of his teammates, was responsible for the opening in the 49th minute that allowed Paulinho to score.