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Tottenham 1 Monaco 2: Record crowd unable to roar Spurs to victory

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Published 15/09/2016

Main man: Radamel Falcao and Joao Moutinho celebrate with Bernardo Silva (centre)
Main man: Radamel Falcao and Joao Moutinho celebrate with Bernardo Silva (centre)

Toby Alderweireld and Dele Alli bemoaned Tottenham's finishing as they opened their Champions League campaign at Wembley with a 2-1 defeat to Monaco.

Spurs failed to make their dominance count in the second half after Alderweireld halved the deficit in the 45th minute following early goals from Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar for the visitors.

Alderweireld said: "I think the second half was much better, we dominated and had chances to equalise and even win.

"We knew it was going to be tough. We put a lot of energy into it, but at the end we couldn't force anything."

England midfielder Alli said: "We started poorly and we didn't start as quickly as we needed to. They punished us for it. We did enough to win but we didn't finish the chances. I think we dominated in the second half but we were not ruthless enough."

Alli was also disappointed not to send an English club-record crowd home happy as Tottenham failed to mark their first European match at the national stadium with a win.

"We owed it to the fans to try and get the win," Alli said. "They came out in their numbers and didn't stop singing.

"We have got a great set of fans here and it is a great club to play for. We need to pick ourselves up and make sure we win the next game."

This was a special night that will always be part of Tottenham's history, a night when 85,011 people came to watch them in the Champions League, the highest home attendance by any English club. But when the game started and the points were at stake, it could not have gone much worse.

They looked desperately lacking in nous. That is why they gifted Monaco a 2-0 lead that was absurd on the balance of play. Spurs chased forward as they always do. Heung-Min Son should have put them ahead but could not beat Andrea Raggi on the line.

Alli was put off by Kamil Glik as he shaped to shoot. But for all of Spurs' possession, they were not alert enough to keep out Monaco when they broke forward.

Erik Lamela lost a loose ball to Fabinho in the middle of the pitch, and when he played in Silva, Spurs had no response. Silva ghosted away from Ben Davies, Jan Vertonghen backed off and Silva accepted the invitation to drive into the net.

The next time Monaco ventured forward Spurs were even more hospitable. Joao Moutinho easily made space for Djibril Sidibe to cross and Davies could not clear at the near post. It fell to Thomas Lemar, in too much room, and he lashed it home.

Spurs continued to push up until the break and were rewarded when Alderweireld headed in Lamela's corner. When Alli nearly converted Lamela's cross in added time, a positive result felt possible again.

That optimism was catalysed further when Pochettino brought on Mousa Dembele at half-time, for his first Spurs appearance since the Stamford Bridge melt-down on May 2.

Tottenham were playing quicker than ever and when Harry Kane pulled away from Jemerson he should have got his shot away quicker, but gave the Brazilian time to recover. Monaco were rattled when Fabinho was booked for pulling down Alli in the box, and he was only spared conceding a penalty by the fact that the corner had not been taken: the ball still dead.

The problem was that this felt like Spurs' moment and they could not take advantage. Monaco found their defensive stability and Spurs knew that they had to go more direct. That meant taking off Lamela, their best creative player, for Vincent Janssen, a second striker who is still finding his feet. He broke down the right with his first real action to make a great chance for Kane, but he shot straight at Subasic.

By the end it was all a bit desperate and Monaco could close out the win with ease. Spurs have a lot to learn, and not much time to learn it.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier (Sissoko, 81 mins), Alli, Son (Dembele, 46 mins), Eriksen, Lamela (Janssen, 71 mins), Kane. Unused subs: Vorm, Wanyama, Trippier, Carter-Vickers.

Monaco: Subasic, Raggi, Glik, Jemerson, Sidibe, Fabinho, Bakayoko, Dirar (Lemar, 5 mins), Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Falcao (Germain, 81 mins). Unused subs: De Sanctis, Traore, Jean, Diallo, Toure.

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

Man of the match: Joao Moutinho

Match rating: 7/10

  • The 85,011 attendance last night at Wembley was a record-breaking one on a number of levels. Not only was it Tottenham's highest ever, it was also the highest ever for a Champions League and a club game in England

Belfast Telegraph

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