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Alli's caution only blemish on perfect night for Spurs

Tottenham3-0 Fiorentina (Tottenham win 4-1 on aggregate)

By Steve Tongue

Published 26/02/2016

Dele Alli will miss Spurs’ next European match
Dele Alli will miss Spurs’ next European match

Two-thirds of Tottenham's silverware hunt remain after the home defeat by Crystal Palace in the FA Cup was followed by victory over Fiorentina in the Europa League last night.

Goals from Ryan Mason and Erik Lamela plus a late own goal compensated for Harry Kane's absence and enabled them to reach the Round of 16 for the third time in four seasons, the Italian side having prevented them doing so a year ago.

Boss Mauricio Pochettino was, however, left to reflect on the minor disappointment of star man Dele Alli being missing for the first leg of their next fixture in the competition after picking up another yellow card - this time for an apparent dive.

However, the Argentinian paid tribute to the young midfielder's more mature performances against Palace and Fiorentina, after receiving much criticism for an alleged kick on Viola defender Nenad Tomovic in last week's first leg.

"For me it wasn't a yellow card," Pochettino said. "I'm very happy after last week in Florence, he was calm against Crystal Palace and here and was only focused on the game."

Alli himself was rather more restrained in his reaction, saying: "It's disappointing, you want to play as much as you can, but the great thing about the team this season is we've got great depth.

"It was the ref's decision to give me the yellow card and I've just got to move on with it now and get myself ready for when I'm back."

It was no surprise that Alli should be the provider for a goal in the 25th minute. Although Nacer Chadli failed to make contact as the ball was played forward, Alli touched it on for Mason to open up his body and curve a precise shot inside the far post.

The second came when a deflection from Chadli's shot meant the goalkeeper could only parry it and, as the ball ran loose, Lamela claimed his sixth Europa League goal of the campaign ahead of Gonzalo Rodriguez finding his own net to complete the scoring nine minutes from time.

• IRISH League referee Arnold Hunter was at the centre of controversy as Anderlecht dumped Olympiakos out of the Europa League last night.

Though the Belgians ultimately progressed courtesy of an extra-time win, they were left incensed by a series of calls by the Maguiresbridge man, including an early penalty award to the hosts and two professional fouls which failed to yield red cards for Olympiakos defenders.

In what former Premier League referee Howard Webb, speaking in his role as television analyst, described as "a shocker" of a first-half performance, Hunter - who was assisted by fellow IFA officials Raymond Crangle, Mervyn Smyth, Richard Storey and Gareth Eakin - pointed to the penalty spot when he mistakenly believed Serigne Mbodji had handled inside the area, with TV replays indicating the ball had hit him in the face.

Olympiakos midfielder Kostas Fortounis stroked home to level the tie on aggregate and, despite two Frank Acheampong goals winning it for Anderlecht in extra-time, Belgian fans could not hide their disdain for the officiating - with one supporter even going so far as to contact the Belfast Telegraph to voice his displeasure directly.

           

TOTTENHAM: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Davies, Dier, Mason (Winks, 87 mins), Lamela (Onomah, 76 mins), Alli (Bentaleb, 84 mins), Eriksen, Chadli. Subs not used: Vorm, Rose, Son, Carter-Vickers.

Goals: Mason 25, Lamela 63, Rodriguez 81

FIORENTINA: Tatarusanu, Tomovic, Rodriguez, Astori, Alonso, Vecino, Badelj (Fernandez,, 82 mins), Valero (Blaszczykowski, , 74 mins), Bernarderschi, Kalinic, Ilicic (Zarate, 61 mins). Subs not used: Lezzerini, Pasqual, El Babacar, Satalino.

Match rating: 7/10

Man of the match: Dele Alli (pictured)

Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan (Romania)

Belfast Telegraph

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