Two goals in five minutes helped Tottenham Hotspur to a comfortable 2-0 win in the UEFA Europa League as Anzhi Makhachkala were beaten at the Stadion Saturn in Moscow.
Jermain Defoe fired Spurs into the lead after 34 minutes with a goal that puts him just one behind Martin Chivers’ record for European Tottenham goals.
Five minutes later, Nacer Chadli knocked in his second goal for the club to double the away side’s lead and they held on for victory against an Anzhi side who have seen their finances and squad seriously depleted in the last few months.
Andre Villas-Boas reverted to his ‘cup team’ for the game as Defoe, Chadli, Erik Lamela and Lewis Holtbly came in amongst others. Meanwhile, Anhzi put out a team that on paper was a shadow of the team that beat Liverpool in this competition last season as big stars such as Samuel Eto’o, Willian and Yuri Zhirkov were all sold due to a severe change in their financial state.
The difference in quality showed from the start as Tottenham dominated possession and looked comfortable. They could have took the lead after 13 minutes as Defoe was allowed space to a fire a shot from 20 yards, but the England striker pulled his shot just wide to the relief of the home fans. The chances kept coming as both Sandro and Lamela had long-range shots well saved by the Ahnzi goalkeeper Evgeni Pomazan and it seemed like a matter of time until Tottenham took the lead.
The goal was what you would consider to be a trademark Defoe strike as he collected Holtby’s pass and rocketed the ball into the roof of the net with an emphatic finish. Pomazan stood no chance and it marked Defoe’s seventh European goal of the season which is a remarkable feat at this stage of the season.
It was important for the Russian side that they reacted well to conceding the opening goal, but Tottenham were like a shark who smelled blood as they doubled their advantage in the 39th minute. Kyle Walker broke forward from right-back and delivered a measured low cross that was easy for Chadli to guide into the bottom corner with a cultured finish from ten yards out.
With that goal, the game was over and the pace of the match suffered for it. Tottenham took their foot off the pedal but Anzhi didn’t have the confidence or ability to take advantage of that. In fact, it was the leading side who had the only other chance of note in the game. Chadli did well to skip inside past a couple of tackles and flashed a powerful low shot towards goal, but it flew inches wide of the far post.
With the win, Tottenham have made it two wins from two games in their group, while also keeping two clean sheets which will be the most pleasing aspect for Villas-Boas.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)