Friday 22 August 2014
A star turn by Erik Lamela helped Tottenham Hotspur rally from a goal down to seal a first-leg victory over AEL Limassol in the UEFA Europa League play-offs.
Mauricio Pochettino played a strong side for the visit to the side from Crete but, in sweltering temperatures, the north Londoners found themselves a goal down when Adrian Sardinero scored with under a quarter of an hour played.
The visitors remained a goal behind until 16 minutes from time when Lamela, who had been introduced to the match just two minutes earlier, set up Roberto Soldado to equalise with a first-time shot, and, with four minutes left, the Argentinian forward played Harry Kane through to score the winner.
"It was a very tough game a difficult game, a hard game because the conditions were difficult and the weather was difficult," Pochettino said. "I'm happy with the performance. In the end 2-1 is an important result for us."
Lamela twice came close to scoring himself in the closing stages and will be hopeful of starting Sunday's Barclays Premier League match at home to Queens Park Rangers.
Hull City will need to come back from a first-leg deficit if they are to continue their maiden European adventure.
Steve Bruce's side slipped to a narrow defeat in north-west Belgium after an error by Allan McGregor was exploited by Hans Vanaken.
McGregor, who came to Hull's rescue on Saturday when he saved a late penalty from Charlie Austin to help his side claim an opening-day victory at Queens Park Rangers, made two extraordinary saves from Nill De Pauw and Junior Dutra to keep his side in the tie but was caught in possession by Vanaken, who rolled the ball into an empty net.
"Allan won us the match on Saturday and then he makes a mistake like that," Bruce said. "That's the life of a goalkeeper for you.
"Up until that moment we were very comfortable. We were going well and all of a sudden the roof caved in."
The Tigers will be looking to bounce back with a second successive BPL victory at home to Stoke City on Sunday.
Thursday 28 August
Hull City v Lokeren, 7.45pm
Tottenham Hotspur v AEL Limossol, 7.45pm