Spurs seal last 32nd place in Europa League despite defunct Karamoko leveler for Lask | Europa League


It wasn’t exactly how Jose Mourinho would have expected it. But after seeing his Tottenham side struggle for extended periods against opponents who competed in Austria’s second tier as recently as 2017, a late penalty from substitute Dele Alli ensured they have now qualified for the eighth of Europa League final with one game to spare despite the late equalizer of Mamoudou Karamoko.

On a night that Joe Hart will want to hastily forget, a penalty from Gareth Bale and Son Heung-min at the 12th goal of the season seemed sufficient until Lask equalized with six minutes left after taking the lead. after a mistake by the former English goalkeeper. But in a frenzied final, Alli kept his cool before Karamoko’s latest blockbuster won a share of the points for the Austrian team.

‘People are wrong,’ Mourinho replied when asked before the game whether Tottenham’s position at the top of the Premier League after a quarter of a season meant he was enjoying life more than in recent years. “When people thought I didn’t like it, there was nothing wrong. I still had my passion.

But after selecting a solid starting lineup despite eight squad changes that dulled Chelsea’s attack this weekend, even he reportedly struggled to find the bright spots in their lackluster first-half performance.

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With Spurs crushing those opponents in a comfortable 3-0 win at the end of October to start the group stage, Dominik Thalhammer’s side entered the game knowing that only a win could keep them going. hopes to progress and might consider themselves unlucky not to be ahead in the opening six minutes. Johannes Eggestein was given far too much space after Tottenham gave the ball into a dangerous position and the German striker on loan from Werder Bremen saw his effort cannon leave the post in the first of a series of opportunities created by hosts.

The decision to retain Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele and Son from the draw against Chelsea was an indication of the importance Mourinho had placed on advancement with a game to lose, with Harry Kane being left out after missing the training on Wednesday. The England captain is expected to return to face Arsenal on Saturday, but it remains to be seen if that applies to Harry Winks, who was left on the bench with Alli. “Options,” the manager explained.

Son Heung-min scores Spurs' second goal in Austria.
Son Heung-min scores Spurs’ second goal in Austria. Photographie: Guenther Iby / Getty Images

Bale has only played 116 minutes in the Premier League since signing on loan from Real Madrid, but made his fifth straight start in the competition. As well as seeing a tied free kick volleyball-style hit by Michorl, his main contribution up to his penalty with the last kick of the first half was losing track of the player he was supposed to score as Hart. forced to an excellent stop to refuse René Renner.

Hart should have dealt with Lask’s next attempt after Matt Doherty lost possession, but Michori’s effort from afar gave his team a deserved lead. Tottenham needed a stroke of good luck to step in and it came just before the break when Ndombele’s shot hit hapless Panamanian defender Andrés Andrade – who scored an own own goal in the London meeting in October – on the arm up close and Bale caressed the house. room for his 200th career goal.

Doherty reappeared for the second half after limping when Lask took the lead and Tottenham were in the lead within 11 minutes of the restart. Ndombele’s turnover in midfield left Lask’s defense at the mercy of Son’s electric pace and he didn’t make a mistake in giving Spurs the lead. He should have had another soon after, but Bale’s selfless pass through the box was irrelevant.

The introduction of Moussa Sissoko to replace Lucas Moura with 25 minutes left was a sure sign that Mourinho was happy, while Eric Dier was also introduced for Lo Celso as Tottenham tried to go out of business. For once, the plan didn’t work. Davinson Sánchez was guilty of playing Eggestein in play, but Hart was at fault again as the striker’s shot beat him at his near post before his replacement colleague Steven Bergwijn was shot down at the other end to give to Alli his moment.

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