Friday 02 August 2013
Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City have a foot in the UEFA Europa League group stage after both managed to score five goals in their play-off first legs.
Tottenham Hotspur completed a resounding victory in Georgia as they routed Dinamo Tblisi at the Boris Paichadze National Stadium.
"For all the young players we are bringing through, the competition is extremely difficult and when you overcome that you can only become a top player"
Andros Townsend gave the visitors the lead after just 12 minutes when he ran 50 yards before sending a low strike past Giorgi Loria from outside the area.
The impressive 22-year-old also provided the assist for the visitors' second goal, a header by Paulinho a minute before the interval, and the first of two goals by Roberto Soldado, who scored on 58 and 68 minutes.
Danny Rose scored Spurs' other goal when he fired into the top right-hand corner from the edge of the area, but it was Townsend who particularly caught the eye of head coach Andre Villas-Boas.
"Andros has been working well in training, so we felt it was time to give him an opportunity and he did very well," said the Portuguese tactician. "If we have the type of performance we had today [from him] we can always count on him.
"For all the young players we are bringing through, the competition is extremely difficult and, in my opinion, when you overcome that type of opposition you can only become a top player. He is doing it the right way. He seems very focused after last year's experience."
Villas-Boas added that it was his the clinical finishing of his side that proved the difference on the night. "We had some very good moments and the thing that was the difference was scoring from the chances we had," he said. "The killer instinct was there from the chances we had and that didn't happen in Dinamo's case. That is why, in the end, the result is as expressive as it is."
The north London side defend their five-goal advantage at White Hart Lane next Thursday.
Swansea continued their confident procession towards the group stage with a commanding success against Romanian side Petrolul.
"We played very well, kept the ball and gave nothing away"
The hosts took the lead through Wayne Routledge on14 minutes and never looked back thereafter as Michu pounced from close range midway through the interval and Routledge scored again, with a diving header, three minutes later.
Petrolul had no answer to the superior pace and movement of Michael Laudrup's side save for a spectacular consolation strike by Gheorghe Grozav three minutes from time, but by then the Swans had added to second-half strikes from summer signings Wilfried Bony and Alejandro Pozuelo, whose dinked finish crowned a wonderful display by the hosts.
"We played very well, kept the ball and gave nothing away," said Swansea manager Michael Laudrup. I'm very pleased we'll be going through to the group stage. They need a miracle, but miracles happen for a reason. If we go there and we are strong and competitive again, we will go through."
Swansea also play the away leg on 29 August.