UEFA Europa League
White Hart Lane, London, England
61′ Stephan El Shaarawy
Tottenham Hotspur finished the Europa League group stage as Group J winners thanks to a fine four-one victory over French side, AS Monaco. Argentinian winger Érik Lamela netted a first half hat-trick that helped the London side on their way to the top, with Tom Carroll adding a fourth late on after Stephan El Shaarawy pulled one back. Heung-min Son also played a key part, providing two assists.
The home side started well and put the visitors under immediate pressure and were ahead within the first couple of minutes. Clinton N’Jie played in Ben Davies in the final third and the full-back pulled the ball back to find Érik Lamela, who finished first time to give Spurs the lead.
Since the goal, the visitors grew into the game, but lacked the instinctive pass in the final third, much to the credit of the home side’s organised defense.
The home side were playing some nice intricate football and created many half-chances early on, in one of which, Heung-min Son found space to fire off-target. However minutes later, he was involved in the home side’s second. A Toby Alderweireld header was flicked on by Son towards Lamela, and a tame strike from the Argentinean somehow managed to squirm past Danijel Subašić.
The London outfit thought they had a third soon after when the same two combined again. This time Lamela turned provider for Son, who finished with relative ease past Subašić, only to see his strike chalked-off for offside. The South Korean was marginally offside when the initial pass was played.
In the 20th minute, he almost got his goal, volleying just wide from a Tottenham corner.
Three minutes later the South Korean was in the thick of it yet again, he found Tom Carroll, whose effort floated just over the bar.
A minute later the Principality side were inches away from pulling one back, a deflected Tiemoué Bakayoko strike flew wide of the post following a João Moutinho set-piece. The following corner eventually made its way to Moutinho who fired over on the volley.
In the 27th minute, the Portuguese midfielder played in another good delivery only for Wallace to head over from close range.
The away side looked much better since going two behind and a deflected effort from Chelsea loanee, Mario Pašalić just floated over.
In the 37th minute, the home side made it three and Lamela completed his hat-trick. A misplaced pass from the away side was seized upon by N’Jie, who found Son, and for the second time in the game, he saw the Argentine in space, and the former Roma winger made no mistake on his weaker right foot. It was his fifth in the competition.
In the 41st minute, the home side were forced into an early substitution with Eric Dier, struggling with an injury, taken off for Nabil Bentaleb.
That was the last action of the first period as the referee blew to end the first half, where Tottenham comfortably led by three goals to nil.
During the interval, the away side opted to make a change; Moutinho, who was struggling with an injury was replaced by Thomas Lemar.
The second period began with Tottenham in the ascendancy, dominating possession early on. However, they were guilty of slightly over-playing the ball. Bentaleb tried to be cute with a drag back and was tackled, and when the ball found its way to Lemar, the substitute could only fire wide.
The visitors were eager to try and get back in the tie, knowing that only a victory would help them qualify for the knockout stages and in the 55th minute, the visitors took Lacina Traoré off for Kyllian Mbappe Lottin.
A minute later, the home side almost got their fourth, youngster Josh Onomah almost netted his first senior goal for the home side, only to be denied by the feet of Subašić.
A minute after the hour-mark, the away side pulled one back, substitute Lottin found Stephan El Shaarawy (on-loan from Milan), who curled a fine effort past Hugo Lloris in the far corner, to reduce the deficit.
Soon after, scorer of all goals, Lamela made way for Nacer Chadli.
The away side should’ve netted a second moments later when a Lemar corner found Nabil Dirar, but despite having a free-header, he could only head off-target from close-range.
A few minutes later, they made their third and final substitution with Bernardo Silva departing for Raphaël Diarra.
In the 71st minute, N’Jie came close to extending their lead, but Subašić denied him at his near post.
Moments later the away side came close on two separate occasions, both from corners. The first saw a Diarra effort saved by Lloris and then an Elderson effort drifted over the bar.
Soon after the home side managed to get their fourth, thanks to some lacklustre Monaco defending. Carroll took full advantage and finished past Subašić from a tight angle. It was his first senior goal for the club.
After the goal, the home side made their final change, bringing on Dele Alli for N’Jie.
In the final stages of the game, the visitors were eager to find another consolation, but some poor passing from the side prevented any real opportunity to reduce the deficit. The referee finally blew to bring the game to an end.
The victory for Spurs meant that they finished first in Group J on 13 points. The defeat for Monaco meant that they were out of the competition as they remained in third on six points, behind Anderlecht on 1o points, who also qualified, as a result of a two-one victory over Qarabag. Qarabag ended the group stage campaign in fourth with as many points, and were ultimately out.