Wolfsberger vs Tottenham Hotspur

Promising performances by Dele Alli and Gareth Bale see Spurs beat Austrian side Wolfsberger 4-1 in the Hungarian capital.

With coronavirus restrictions in Austria preventing these two teams playing in the country, the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary became the venue for this Europa League Round of 32 tie.

The first of two legs, in which the home side Wolfsberger, had to travel six hours by coach – a longer trip than the away side Tottenham.

Ferdinand Feldhofer’s men finished second in group K behind Dinamo Zagreb, and currently sit 6th in the Austrian Bundesliga.

Jose Mourinho brought a squad of 23 players to Budapest, with the inclusion of three academy players – Dane Scarlett, Jamie Bowden, and Marcel Lavinier.

More notably, Harry Kane opted to not fly with the squad, as he felt it was a game he could miss out in order to rest for the Premier League fixture against West Ham at the weekend.

The Portuguese manager made six changes from the loss against Manchester City, with Dele Alli and Gareth Bale looking to make their mark after difficult spells.

As the game began, the North London club were quick to gain possession – passing the ball from side to side.

Wolfsberger pressed high however, and this created gaps in their defence that Tottenham could exploit.

Six minutes in, Korean forward Heung-Min Son carried the ball towards the area, and cut in on his left-foot, only for his shot to glance wide of the left post.

Spurs were comfortable, and solidity in defence saw them regain the ball quickly.

With the away side camped in the opposition half, Gareth Bale found space on the right and flashed a cross towards the penalty spot, which was met by the head of Son.

The ball flew through bodies and into the bottom corner, making it 1-0 to the Premier League club after 13 minutes.

A goal at the Puskas Arena for the recent winner of the FIFA Puskas award.

It was one way traffic following the goal, and the team from Austria could not make any forward moves.

Lucas Moura came close with shot from the edge of the area, and Dele Alli was denied by a superb save from Alexander Kofler.

Eventually after 23 minutes of defending, the team in black and white, were able to venture into Spurs’ half.

Striker Dejan Joveljic tried his luck from range, but his left-footed effort dragged across the floor and was a comfortable first save for Hugo Lloris.

Moments later, Mourinho’s men began another attack.

A pass down the line from Matt Doherty found Gareth Bale, who cut inside – sending Jonathan Scherzer the wrong way – before powering a left footed shot into the far corner, doubling the lead.

Bale showing an essence of his old self.

Following the goal, the home side had a brief spell of possession, which almost resulted in a goal.

Hugo Lloris clawed a header from Dario Vizinger onto the crossbar to deny a fantastic header hitting the back of the net.

Despite almost conceding, Tottenham remained in total control.

With ten minutes left of the first half to play, Harry Winks played a through ball to Brazilian Lucas Moura.

He drove his way into the box, beating three defenders in the process, before finding the bottom left corner and making it 3-0.

A fantastic first half for the away side.

The second half saw Wolfsberger make two changes to their team, as they looked to cover the gaps in defence that Spurs were able to penetrate in the first 45 minutes.

Jose Mourinho also made a change, with Heung-Min Son earning some rest and Carlos Vinicius being the replacement.

Goalkeeper Kofter tipped away an early shot from Bale.

And then seven minutes into the half, Christopher Wernitznig looked to be in on goal, but a clumsy challenge from Moussa Sissoko resulted in a penalty, and a yellow card to the French international.

Michael Liendl stepped up for the spot kick, against Hugo Lloris.

Captain against captain.

The Austrian midfielder came away victor however, as he fired the penalty into the bottom left corner.

A chance to get back into the game.

With the match now 3-1, Wolfsberger kept on pushing for another goal.

In the 68th minute Wernitznig was involved again.

This time the midfielder let fly from inside the box and rattled the crossbar – beating Lloris in the process.

The ball bounced onto the goal-line but did not cross, and Spurs got away with some poor defending with a bit of luck.

Despite their efforts to close the gap of two goals, Feldhofer’s men struggled with opportunities from then on.

As the game became scrappy, Mourinho introduced Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Erik Lamela, with the midfielders proving to have an impact.

Two minutes from time, Hojbjerg’s cross found the head of Lamela and the Argentinian tried to head hope.

But striker Carlos Vinicius stuck out a leg and prodded the ball into the opposite corner that it was travelling.

The game ended 4-1, with Tottenham taking a three-goal lead into the second leg.

Wolfsberger will have a mountain to climb if they want to progress to the Round of 16, as they are the lowest ranked team left in the competition.

Pivotal performances from out of favour Alli and Bale, gives Jose Mourinho a lot of options ahead of the game against West Ham at the weekend, as they look to try and fight their way into the European spots.

Match Report by Nathan Salmon

Twitter: @SalmonSport

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