Son’s brace, Lo Celso’s goal earn pair 8/10 scores as Spurs roll past Red Star
Tottenham Hotspur won their first game away from home since May on Wednesday, comprehensively beating Red Star Belgrade 4-0 in Champions League Group B.
Mauricio Pochettino’s out-of-form Spurs put their turbulent run of form behind them as Son Heung-Min notched a clinical second-half brace after Giovani Lo Celso opened the visitors’ account in less conventional style in the opening half. Christian Eriksen rounded off the scoring with a well-taken goal in the final five minutes.
Fans’ biggest positive will no doubt be Son’s imposing performance after he was evidently, and understandably, distressed by Sunday’s events at Goodison Park. Tanguy Ndombele’s determination in midfield stood out too, and Ryan Sessegnon’s rare appearance in the final 15 minutes amid his return from injury injected a needed confidence boost into the club.
Spurs’ only real concern would be Deli Alli’s continued below-par run of form. The 23-year-old will take some credit for recording an assist for Son’s opening goal, but that record masked a performance that lacked confidence in which his first touches and passes were noticeably off the mark. There were a couple of clumsy errors in defence and cases of ball-watching to note too, which — later in the competition — will no doubt be punished.
Manager rating out of 10
8 — Pochettino admirably included Son in Spurs’ squad despite his involvement in Andre Gomes’ horrific ankle break on Sunday. Although Spurs weren’t short of their defensive faults, and were perhaps fortunate not to concede, Pochettino’s move to place Eric Dier in the heart of defence worked. Substitutes made an impact too, with Eriksen scoring while Sessegnon provided an assist.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Paulo Gazzaniga, 8 — Kept Tottenham in the game during the first half with one excellent reaction save and a fingertip push to prevent what could’ve been an own goal. Distribution was another strong point in his fine performance.
DF Danny Rose, 7 — Displayed great commitment to the cause, evident no more so than when he made a dashing run down the left to create Spurs’ third goal. Solid performance that will no doubt inject a dose of confidence.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 6 — A mixed performance that wasn’t helped by his ball watching, which granted Red Star a golden chance to score in the opening half. Had to thank Gazzaniga for preventing what could’ve been a sloppy own goal too.
DF Juan Foyth, 6 — Got into great pockets of space and adopted the modern full-back role by pushing forward when possible. Crossing was more miss than hit, an end product was certainly lacking though.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, 8 — Covered great ground and his link-up play with Son and Harry Kane during Spurs’ forward movement was a particular highlight. Rewarded for his persistence with a goal in rather unorthodox style.
MF Eric Dier, 6 — Initially a quiet start, but did notably lose his man shortly before the half-time whistle — and was lucky to watch Red Star squander the subsequent opportunity. Linked up with Alli at times, and appeared to slot into his centre-half role well, underlined by Spurs’ clean sheet.
MF Tanguy Ndombele, 8 — A great first-half performance was almost undone when he clumsily gifted Red Star possession deep inside Spurs’ half before the hosts’ golden chance was fluffed. Brilliant again in the second half, work rate couldn’t be faulted.
MF Moussa Sissoko, 6 — A solid if unspectacular performance, and it will be interesting to see if he retains his starting spot off the back of it after he linked up well with Ndombele.
MF Deli Alli, 4 — Looked like a player lacking in confidence. Touches and passes were sloppy, his efforts put Spurs a step behind the game and didn’t show the levels of composure expected when under pressure.
FW Son Heung-Min, 8 — Was pleasing to see his name on the team sheet after his involvement in Gomes’ injury. There were no signs of psychological weakness, Son made great runs in behind the defence and scored a clinical goal.
FW Harry Kane, 6 — Brilliant movement, although was caught offside on the odd occasion. Clinical flair wasn’t quite there either, as he should’ve put Tottenham up moments before the opening goal. While he lacked a goal, his work off the ball helped silence a dampened home audience.
MF Christian Eriksen, 7 — Added to Red Star’s misery when netting a rather tame goal in the final five minutes.
MF Ryan Sessegnon, N/R — Came on in the final quarter of an hour to bag some helpful minutes. Picked up a useful assist too when fellow substitute Eriksen scored in the concluding minutes.
MF Oliver Skip, N/R — A Champions League debut was made when he replaced the brilliant Lo Celso with minutes left.