Tottenham Hotspur vs Royal Antwerp

Goals from Carlos Vinicius and Giovani Lo Celso help Spurs top Group J in the Europa League with a 2-0 home win against Royal Antwerp.

The final game of the Europa League group stages saw Tottenham face Royal Antwerp, who in the reverse fixture narrowly won 1-0 with a goal from Israeli international Lior Refaelov.

The home side began the game with five defenders, with Reguilon and Doherty playing as wingbacks.

Antwerp’s formation was similar to Spurs, with Jordan Lukaku – brother of Inter Milan striker Romelu – starting on the left of the back five.

Mourinho’s men were much livelier in the first half than they were against LASK Linz a week prior, holding the ball and forcing fouls in dangerous areas.

The first opportunity came from a freekick which was whipped in by Lo Celso from the right-hand side of the pitch.

Japhet Tanganga rose highest and glanced the ball goalward, but Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Safar Beiranvand, put the ball out for a corner.

The resulting corner was played in by Lucas Moura who found Gareth Bale, but his header fell wide of the post.

Both sides fought hard, in order to gain a foothold of the game, but Spurs had the lion’s share of chances.

Central defender Abdoulaye Seck received the first yellow card for a pull on the back of Moura, who with some quick feet broke past the Senegalese player on the halfway line.

Spurs had a few more half chances in the first half but were unable to beat the goalkeeper.

One of which came from an Antwerp corner.

However, it was the home side who broke free.

Argentinian Lo Celso found space on the left side of the pitch and aimed for Vinicius who in yards of space, but Beiranvand swept the ball away.

A minute later, Lo Celso was in the centre of action again, although his outside of the boot shot was palmed away once again by the Iranian – who kept the Belgian side in the game.

Going into the changing rooms at half time, Mourinho would have been frustrated with his team, unable to score despite their chances.

The Portuguese boss made a substitution during the interval with Steven Bergwijn replacing Sergio Reguilon.

This decision switching the formation from five in defence to four for Tottenham.

Intensity increased for Spurs in the second half, with Bergwijn seemingly making a positive impact.

In the 57th minute, Lucas broke free from defender Seck once again, who committed a repeat of the foul he did in the first half.

Despite complaints from the home side and the coaching staff, the referee kept his cards in his pocket for the Senegalese man, instead brandishing a yellow card for a member of the Spurs coaching staff.

Eventually, the free kick was lined up and there was only one man who stepped up to take it.

Gareth Bale.

From around 30 yards out, the Welshman struck a thunderous shot, which dipped and swerved ferociously.

The Antwerp goalkeeper once again made a fantastic save onto the woodwork.

However, the ball fell kindly to Carlos Vinicius who tapped the ball into an empty net and celebrated in front of the 2,000 Spurs fans in attendance.

Shortly after their involvements, Jose Mourinho made a triple substitution, with Bale and Vinicius being replaced for Kane and Son.

Harry Winks was also brought off for Tanguy Ndombele and walked straight down the tunnel with a look of frustration on his face.

The changes looked to put more pressure on the Antwerp defence, showing that Mourinho’s decisions were correct again.

Heung-Min Son found space one-on-one with a defending, and his signature stepover and shot fooled his opponent, but Beiranvand tipped the ball over the bar.

Just five minutes later in the 71st minute, Tottenham were in again.

This time Harry Kane played in Giovani Lo Celso, who dispatched his shot with the outside of his foot, into the bottom left corner.

A much-deserved goal for the midfielder, who was Spurs’ most effective player.

Harry Kane added to his assist tally, with his 13th in all competitions this season.

The remaining minutes of the game were comfortable for the Premier League leaders.

Another solid defensive display from Spurs saw them earn their eighth clean sheet of the season.

Although Joe Hart was unthreatened in his goal and did not have to make a single save.

Overall, Tottenham were positive compared to their last Europa League performance.

They were fairly dominant throughout the game, especially intercepting the ball and stopping play from developing.

Lo Celso looks to be fighting for his place in the Premier League squad, putting pressure on Tanguy Ndombele, which is a great positive for Jose Mourinho, to have more options in the midfield area.

Their next game is away at Crystal Palace on Sunday, with the Europa League draw the following day.

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