Tottenham Hotspur 2 Dinamo Zagreb (we are on a roll!)
Five straight wins in a row for us. Our team seems to be getter stronger, and with Bale, Kane and Son in it, the question is, how far can we go and what can we achieve by the end of the season?
Our man Harry Kane scored twice as we got a step closer to the Europa League quarter-finals with a solid display against Dinamo Zagreb. Kane opened the scoring with a 25th-minute rebound before doubling our advantage with a calm, low finish in the 70th minute.
Sadly, Kane couldn’t go no further (to achieve a hat-trick) as he limped off late in the game with a knock on his knee. However, according to Mourinho, Kane will be up and ready for our game against Arsenal on Sunday. His substitution was a cautionary one.
“Sunday is a match everyone wants to play, and little things will not stop him,” Mourinho told BT Sport. “I don’t have the feeling it is anything serious.”
We made seven changes to the side that beat Crystal Palace on Sunday. Still, by keeping Kane as a starter, Jose signalled the club’s intent to fight for Champions League qualification via the Europa League.
“Kane is doing everything,” added Mourinho. “He is doing the striker job of scoring goals. The teamwork of creating space and linking play and the extra work not many strikers do in defence. “He helps us a lot. He has an incredible number of clearances from crosses and corners. We couldn’t be happier. I gave a rest to many of the players, but with Harry on the pitch, it is a different story for us.”
As we all know, Jose Mourinho has won the Europa League with both Porto and Manchester United and hopes to do the same with Spurs.
We took the lead when Erik Lamela skipped forward and struck a post, with Kane on hand to tap in the rebound midway through the first half. We continued to push forward after Kane’s goal. However, we should have been awarded a penalty just after the restart when Tanguy Ndombele was brought down in the box by Lovro Majer. Nevertheless, Kane eventually got us a deserved two-goal lead, slotting home after Kevin Theophile-Catherine’s clearance fell straight to his feet.
Zagreb keeper Dominik Livakovic made a fine save from a dipping Gareth Bale free-kick late on as we got our win over the Croatian team, who offered little going forward.
“I believe one more goal would be a good reflection of the game and would put us in a much better position,” said Mourinho. “But before the game, if you asked if 2-0 is a good result, I would say it was.”
We have progressed from each of our previous three knockout ties in the Europa League when we won the first leg – against Lyon and Internazionale in 2012-13, and Wolfsberger in the last round.
Dinamo Zagreb remain winless away to English opponents in European competition (D2, L7), with each of their past six trips ending in defeat.
We have won each of our past five games in all competitions, equalling our longest winning streak under manager our manager.
Including qualifiers, Dinamo Zagreb suffered their first loss in European competition since September 2020 (1-2 v Ferencváros), ending a run of nine games unbeaten and six consecutive wins coming into tonight’s defeat.
Harry Kane has now scored 26 goals for Spurs in all competitions this season, already surpassing his goal tally from each of his previous two seasons (24 in both 2019-20 and 2018-19).
Among Premier League players in all competitions this season, Harry Kane has scored the most goals and made the joint-most assists (16).
A good result for us going into the Arsenal game on Sunday. The team from Uranus also won their Europa league game 3-1 against Olympiakos, this means that both teams will be buoyed up for the game on Sunday.
Currently, we are 7th in the league, but five points behind Chelsea in fourth. Arsenal are more in the sinkhole, 12 points behind fourth place. It will be an interesting clash between the North London teams.
I shall be off in a few hours (Friday) to get my COVID-19 jab. To get the jab, I have to go to Reading FC’s ground (Madejski Stadium); which is a 25-minute drive away. When your opportunity comes, take it. Then hopefully we can all get back to normal.
What next for us?
Arsenal, which will be played on Sunday 14th at 4.30. And may the best team – Spurs – win.
Be safe and take care, Glenn