UEFA Europa League Matchday 1: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 LASK

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 22 October 2020

LASK lost their UEFA Europa League group opener 3-0 to Tottenham Hotspur. Strikes from Lucas Moura and Heung-Min Son either side of an Andrés Andrade own goal clinched a comfortable win for the Group J favourites in the British capital.

It was a new-look Tottenham that lined up for their first match against Austrian opposition in 29 years, with head coach José Mourinho starting six of his summer signings and making eight changes to the side that drew 3-3 with West Ham in the Premier League. LASK, fresh from facing Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Europa League only two and a half months ago, largely stuck with the team that beat SV Wörgl 3-0 in the Austrian Cup. Peter Michorl, Husein Balic and Andreas Gruber were the only new faces in boss Dominik Thalhammer’s starting XI.

Despite losing James Holland to an early ankle injury, the visitors largely held their own in the opening stages of the game and – a Vinicius header in the ninth minute aside – denied their illustrious hosts a clear sight of goal in the opening quarter of an hour. But they were caught off guard in the 17th minute as Moura stole in behind Gernot Trauner and slotted home Vinicius’ ball into the box to make it 1-0 to Tottenham.

That lead was doubled nine minutes later when Sergio Reguilon went on a lung-busting run past three opponents down the left and picked out Erik Lamela. The Argentine fed Bale, whose ball across the face of goal with the outside of his boot was turned into his own net by Andrade. Lamela almost added a third seconds later when his shot slipped underneath Alexander Schlager, though the 24-year-old custodian ultimately scrambled back to keep it out.

LASK, who replaced Rene Renner with Petar Filipovic in the 39th minute, rarely posed a threat to the Tottenham goal in the first half – although Gruber did draw a flying save from Joe Hart with a lovely curling effort from outside the box on the stroke of half-time.

Dominik Thalhammer made two further changes at the interval, introducing Johannes Eggestein and Marvin Potzmann in place of Gruber and Andrade. But Spurs remained in the ascendancy after the restart and came close to a third in the 47th minute when Lamela wriggled past Filipovic in the box and sidefooted narrowly wide of the far post.

José Mourinho shuffled his pack for the first time on the hour mark and made a triple substitution, with Bale, Lamela and Højbjerg making way for Heung-Min Son, Dele Alli and Moussa Sissoko. The South Korean had a goal disallowed for offside in the 68th minute and then fired over the bar four minutes later after being teed up in the penalty area by Alli. At the other end, Filipovic headed Michorl’s corner narrowly over the bar.

While the 2019 Champions League finalists continued to look threatening with their high-tempo attacks and were denied another when Schlager scraped Alli’s effort off the line, LASK rarely managed to pick out the gaps in the Tottenham rearguard or provide regular service to centre-forward Marko Raguz, who cut an isolated figure. Thomas Goiginger came on for Balic as Dominik Thalhammer attempted to inject new momentum into his attack, while his opposite number José Mourinho withdrew Moura and sent on Giovani Lo Celso in his stead.


But LASK’s hopes of finding a route back into the game were dashed with seven minutes remaining when Vinicius headed Doherty’s cross into the path of Son, who fired home. Having claimed his second assist of the night, Vinicius was subsequently withdrawn and replaced by youngster Jack Clarke for the final few minutes. Raguz had a half-chance to pull a goal back with a minute to go, but his looping header was comfortably dealt with by Hart and the Londoners maintained their three-goal cushion until the final whistle.

Next up for LASK in Group J is a home game against Bulgarian champions Ludogorets next Thursday (18:55 CET). Tottenham will travel to Belgium to take on Royal Antwerp in the group’s other game.

The line-ups:

Tottenham Hotspur: Hart, Doherty, Sanchez, Davies (c), Reguilon, Højbjerg (Sissoko, 62), Winks, Lamela (Alli, 62), Bale (Son, 62), Moura (Lo Celso, 78), Vinicius (Clarke, 86)

LASK: Schlager, Wiesinger, Renner (Filipovic, 39), Michorl, Balic (Goiginger, 78), Gruber (Eggestein, 46), Trauner (c), Holland (Grgic, 4), Ranftl, Raguz, Andrade (Potzmann, 46)

by Lee Wingate from The Other Bundesliga