Fernando Llorente scored his first Tottenham goal in his 17th appearance for the club as Mauricio Pochettino’s side rounded off their Champions League Group H campaign with a routine victory against Apoel.Spurs had already secured first place in the group before Wednesday’s game and Pochettino opted to give some of his fringe players a start.Llorente, a summer signing from Swansea, was one of those to come in and he opened his Tottenham account midway through the first half, turning smartly inside the box before hooking the ball into the net.
It was a deserved goal for Spurs after a dominant start to the match, with Georges-Kevin N’Koudou having had an early effort cleared off the line.Son Heung-min added a second before the break, curling in from the edge of the box after playing a one-two with Llorente.Cypriots Apoel, who needed to avoid defeat to have a chance of claiming a Europa League spot ahead of Borussia Dortmund, offered very little throughout. Praxitelis Vouros had the visitors’ best chance early in the second half when his deflected strike flew just wide of the far post.Instead, Spurs added a third late on through N’Koudou’s deflected finish.Tottenham, who finished with the highest points tally in this season’s Champions League group stage with 16, can now look forward to Monday’s last 16 draw, which takes place at Uefa’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland at 11:00 GMT.Re-live Wednesday’s Champions League actionLlorente up and running
Llorente, 32, joined Tottenham on transfer deadline day after an impressive debut campaign in the Premier League last season, scoring 15 goals to help Swansea avoid relegation.The Spanish striker, a World Cup winner in 2010, was the first player Pochettino had signed over the age of 30 since the Argentine became Spurs boss three years ago.Llorente has largely failed to justify Pochettino’s decision to go for experience over youth – a terrible close-range miss against Leicester last week a particularly low point – but his goal and overall performance on Wednesday could prove a turning point in his Tottenham career.He looked anything but like a player who had gone almost seven hours without goal when he opened the scoring, trapping Serge Aurier’s low ball superbly before turning and finishing in one move.Pochettino will no doubt be delighted to see the striker get off the mark but also encouraging for the Spurs boss was the way Llorente linked up with Son. The two combined for Tottenham’s second and generally showed a good understanding throughout. Alli fails to take chance to shine
With Tottenham’s Premier League form faltering – they are without a win since 5 November – and with progression to the knockout round already assured, Pochettino opted to give some of his key players a rest for this game.Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier, Kieran Trippier and Hugo Lloris were all absent but notable for his inclusion was Dele Alli.The midfielder scored 18 goals in 37 Premier League games last term but his form in the opening few months of this season has been mixed. This game represented an opportunity for him to shine in a relatively pressure-free environment.This was Tottenham’s first Champions League game at Wembley since they impressively beat Real Madrid 3-1. Alli was arguably the best player on the pitch that night, scoring twice as Spurs fans chanted “we’ve got Dele Alli” while he tormented the Spanish giants throughout.There were no such chants during this game as Alli struggled to make an impact, although the England international appeared to be struggling after taking an early knock to his knee.Pochettino plays down Rose substitutionPochettino took off Danny Rose in the second half after the full-back received a cut above his eye.Rose had gone straight down the tunnel and Pochettino was asked after the game if the 27-year-old, who has been linked with a move away from the club, had been unhappy with the decision.”Players are never happy when they are going out,” Pochettino told BT Sport.”He had a big cut and the doctors said he needed a stitch and it was impossible to play on. Of course the player was frustrated because it was Champions League, but nothing wrong.”Man of the match – Fernando Llorente
Son and Spurs on song – the statsFor the first time since their 2013/14 Europa League season, Spurs have managed to stay unbeaten throughout an entire group stage campaign in European competition (W5 D1).Cypriot sides have never tasted victory against English opposition in 15 attempts in European competition (D3 L12).Fernando Llorente scored his first ever goal for Spurs in what was his 17th appearance for them in all competitions.In fact, Llorente scored his first goal in the Champions League since December 2015 whilst playing for Sevilla against Juventus; 729 days ago.Kazaiah Sterling became the youngest ever player to represent Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League at 19 years and 27 days.Son Heung-min has netted three Champions League goals from just six shots on target so far in this campaign.Apoel have also never won an away game in the Champions League (D6 L8).What next?Tottenham will look to end a run of four games without a win in the Premier League when they host Stoke on Saturday (15:00 GMT).Line-upsMatch StatsLive TextLine-upsTottenham13Vorm24AurierBooked at 64mins21Foyth6Sánchez3RoseBooked at 67minsSubstituted forWalker-Petersat 70’minutes29Winks7Son Heung-minSubstituted forDembéléat 65’minutes17Sissoko20AlliSubstituted forSterlingat 88’minutes14Nkoudou18LlorenteSubstitutes5Vertonghen19Dembélé22Gazzaniga33Davies37Walker-Peters40Amos54SterlingApoel Nicosia13Pérez29Vouros5RuedaBooked at 83mins50da Cruz Junior3Lago16Oliveira FrancoSubstituted forSallaiat 45’minutesBooked at 68mins26Morais Barbosa17Zahid6Ebecilio46AloneftisSubstituted forde Camargoat 75’minutes8PotéSubstituted forAntoniouat 81’minutesSubstitutes1Gudiño9de Camargo11Alexandrou20Sallai22Antoniou25Farias30MerkisReferee:Slavko VincicAttendance:42,679Match StatsHome TeamTottenhamAway TeamApoel NicosiaPossessionHome66%Away34%ShotsHome20Away7Shots on TargetHome11Away0CornersHome9Away2FoulsHome20Away8Live TextPosted at Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 3, APOEL Nicosia 0.Full TimePosted at 90’+4′ Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 3, APOEL Nicosia 0.Posted at 90’+3′ Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Harry Winks tries a through ball, but Georges-Kévin Nkoudou is caught offside.SubstitutionPosted at 88′ Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Kazaiah Sterling replaces Dele Alli.Posted at 88′ Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Roberto Lago.Posted at 83′ Attempt saved. Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Moussa Sissoko.BookingPosted at 83′ Jesús Rueda (APOEL Nicosia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Posted at 82′ Georges-Kévin Nkoudou (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 82′ Foul by Jesús Rueda (APOEL Nicosia).Posted at 82′ Georges-Kévin Nkoudou (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 82′ Foul by Nuno Morais (APOEL Nicosia).SubstitutionPosted at 81′ Substitution, APOEL Nicosia. Minas Antoniou replaces Mickaël Poté.Goal!Posted at 80′ Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 3, APOEL Nicosia 0. Georges-Kévin Nkoudou (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Dele Alli.Posted at 78′ Foul by Juan Foyth (Tottenham Hotspur).Posted at 78′ Igor de Camargo (APOEL Nicosia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 77′ Foul by Davinson Sánchez (Tottenham Hotspur).Posted at 77′ Mickaël Poté (APOEL Nicosia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 77′ Attempt blocked. Roland Sallai (APOEL Nicosia) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Igor de Camargo.Posted at 76′ Offside, APOEL Nicosia. Nuno Morais tries a through ball, but Roland Sallai is caught offside.SubstitutionPosted at 75′ Substitution, APOEL Nicosia. Igor de Camargo replaces Efstathios Aloneftis.Posted at 75′ Foul by Davinson Sánchez (Tottenham Hotspur).Posted at 75′ Mickaël Poté (APOEL Nicosia) wins a free kick on the right wing.Posted at 73′ Hand ball by Fernando Llorente (Tottenham Hotspur).SubstitutionPosted at 70′ Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Kyle Walker-Peters replaces Danny Rose because of an injury.Posted at 68′ Mousa Dembélé (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 68′ Foul by Mickaël Poté (APOEL Nicosia).BookingPosted at 68′ Roland Sallai (APOEL Nicosia) is shown the yellow card.BookingPosted at 67′ Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Posted at 67′ Foul by Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur).Posted at 67′ Roland Sallai (APOEL Nicosia) wins a free kick on the right wing.Posted at 65′ Offside, APOEL Nicosia. Praxitelis Vouros tries a through ball, but Roland Sallai is caught offside.SubstitutionPosted at 65′ Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Mousa Dembélé replaces Son Heung-Min.BookingPosted at 64′ Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Posted at 64′ Foul by Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur).Posted at 64′ Efstathios Aloneftis (APOEL Nicosia) wins a free kick on the left wing.Posted at 63′ Foul by Juan Foyth (Tottenham Hotspur).Posted at 63′ Efstathios Aloneftis (APOEL Nicosia) wins a free kick on the left wing.Posted at 62′ Attempt saved. Georges-Kévin Nkoudou (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Moussa Sissoko.Posted at 61′ Delay over. They are ready to continue.Posted at 60′ Delay in match Carlao (APOEL Nicosia) because of an injury.Show more updatesgoal
Source: BBC FOOTBALL
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