Spurs stay perfect, smash Anzhi
Roberto Soldado scored a hat trick as Tottenham Hotspur beat Anzhi Makhachkala 4-1 to make it six wins out of six in Europa League Group K.
Soldado broke the deadlock with a glancing header in the seventh minute and then swept in a fine finish nine minutes later to make it 2-0 as Spurs made a fast start at White Hart Lane on Thursday night. Ewerton reduced Anzhi’s arrears just before half-time, but Lewis Holtby restored Tottenham’s two-goal lead with a delightful effort on 54 minutes.
Soldado then completed his treble from the penalty spot after substitute Ryan Fredericks had been brought down by Jucilei, providing Andre Villas-Boas’ side with the perfect finish to their group campaign. The Russians came to north London having not won a league game all season, but they almost caught Spurs cold at the start.
A mistake from Holtby allowed Ilya Maksimov to race through, but Brad Friedel, starting ahead of the rested Hugo Lloris, came off his line to block. Any early nerves were soon put to bed, though, as a much-changed Spurs team took the lead after five minutes.
Abdul Razak clattered into Andros Townsend to win a free-kick on the edge of the box. Sigurdsson whipped in a cross and Soldado stole in to glance the ball home off the far post. Ten minutes later and Spurs were 2-0 up. Erik Lamela slipped the ball to Soldado through Gia Grigalava’s legs and the £26million man fired the ball across and beyond Evgeni Pomazan.
Soldado was oozing confidence. The Spaniard jinked past one player and muscled his way past another before being blocked by a third Anzhi player. Lamela’s trickery made him a danger on the right and he also showed tenacity, scrapping with Razak for the ball to the point where the Argentinian was lucky to escape a booking.
Although the game was a dead rubber, Villas-Boas was totally consumed by it and he reacted angrily when Holtby gave the ball away, allowing Maksimov to race clear before Etienne Capoue came to the rescue with a late sliding tackle.
Spurs continued to pile on the pressure. Kamil Agalarov hacked the ball off the line from a corner and Townsend missed a good chance by chipping wide. Friedel suddenly found himself under pressure, tipping over Jucilei’s header over with an acrobatic save.
Moments later, the American was picking the ball out of his own net. Slack marking from Naughton allowed Ewerton to get his foot to a Nikita Burmistrov cross and he stabbed the ball home. The home crowd booed, but they only had to wait a few minutes for Spurs to restore their two-goal cushion.
Townsend cut in from the right and whipped a ball in to Holtby, who teed up the cross with his left foot and then flicked the ball past Pomazanwith the outside of his boot a millisecond later. It was a sublime bit of skill that drew deserved applause from the 23,000 inside White Hart Lane.
Tottenham’s fourth came by a much easier method. Substitute Ryan Fredericks was clipped in the box by Jucilei. At first, referee Kennet Stefan Johannesson waved Tottenham’s penalty appeal away, but after consulting the official behind the goal, he pointed to the spot and Soldado did the rest to wrap up his first hat-trick for Spurs.
The Spaniard earned a standing ovation when he came off soon after. Lamela almost grabbed a late goal, but Pomazan palmed wide and Tottenham had to settle for four.