Wonderful Moura hat-trick helps Tottenham to comfortable win
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur 4 Huddersfield Town 0
Lucas Moura grabbed a splendid hat-trick to help Tottenham Hotspur put already-relegated Huddersfield Town to the sword in the Premier League this afternoon.
Mauricio Pochettino watched his team stroll to a 4-0 victory which made it three wins in a row and three clean sheets at the club’s new stadium.
An unlikely source opened the scoring in the shape of Victor Wanyama and once his 24th-minute opener went in, the floodgates opened.
Moura grabbed his first soon after and then saved the best until last as he scored two in the final exchanges to move onto 12 for the campaign and grab his first hat-trick at Tottenham as the Lilywhites started life without the injured Harry Kane excellently.
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Spurs made seven changes to the side which defeated Manchester City 1-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday in the quarter-final first leg.
Kane and Dele Alli missed out with ankle and hand injuries respectively while Harry Winks was also absent with a groin problem picked up in training on Friday.
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The likes of Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Heung-min Son dropped to the bench as Pochettino rested some key members of the squad ahead of next week’s double-header with City in the league and Europe.
Replacing the aforementioned players were Juan Foyth, Davinson Sanchez, Kyle Walker-Peters, Wanyama, Ben Davies, Moura and Fernando Llorente.
Pochettino went with what looked a 3-4-1-2 formation with Christian Eriksen playing just behind a front duo of Moura and Llorente.
While the Argentinian made various changes to the starting XI, this was still a crucial game for Spurs in the hunt for a top-four finish and one they had to win.
Huddersfield included Tottenham academy graduate Alex Pritchard on their bench as the already-relegated team looking to spoil the hosts aim of playing in the Champions League again next season.
The Lilywhites created an opportunity after three minutes when Moura was fouled by Jonathan Hogg following neat link up play between him and Llorente.
Eriksen stepped up to take the set-piece, but couldn’t get his effort over the wall and it remained goalless.
Spurs continued to threaten and tested Terriers custodian Ben Hamer with a couple of crosses into the area which he struggled to deal with.
Despite the home side dominating possession, they had yet to force a shot on target by the quarter of an hour mark, although Llorente did nod wide from close range with 13 on the clock.
Town reminded Tottenham of their threat in the 17th minute when Florent Hadergjonaj put a dangerous ball into the area, but no one could get on the end of it, yet it boosted the Huddersfield fans, who had travelled in numbers.
As the Terriers supporters impressively went through their full repertoire, they were momentarily silenced in the 24th minute as Spurs made the breakthrough.
It was a simple goal for the hosts and one which arrived via an unlikely source – Kenya captain Wanyama – as Davies played a pass from the left into Llorente and he cleverly let it roll beyond him and into the area.
Here Wanyama was first to the ball and beat the sliding Terence Kongolo and showed the composure of Kane to round Hamer and tap in for his first goal of the season.
It was a nice moment for the former Southampton midfielder who had also scored the penultimate Spurs goal at White Hart Lane against Manchester United.
Like London buses Tottenham didn’t need to wait long for another as they increased their advantage three minutes later.
Foyth this time did well on the right byline to win the ball back and he found Sissoko, who drove into space and managed to draw out the Huddersfield back line which saw space created for Moura.
The Brazilian was played in on the right-side of the area and finished with aplomb, firing home into the bottom corner from 10-yards.
It was a well-taken strike and Moura’s 10th goal of the campaign to continue his fine first full season with the north Londoners.
Spurs were firmly in control now and the atmosphere inside the stadium was lifting again as more chances were created with Sissoko and Llorente just unable to get a clean contact on bouncing balls inside the area.
The Spaniard then headed wide in the 39th minute from Eriksen’s free kick as the away side started to look ragged in N17.
Fouls were being committed more regularly as the effects of chasing the ball for long spells started to impact on Jan Siewert’s team.
This was evident on the stroke of half time when Lowe lunged in on Walker-Peters and caught the defender badly to earn himself a caution.
One minute of stoppage time was then added on at the end of the 45, but it went by with little to note as Tottenham entered the break two goals to the good.
It had been the perfect first half for Pochettino and his team so far after an initial tricky start and they would have hoped for a third goal to kill the game early into the second period.
Llorente nearly provided it with 47 played, but he could only smash an effort against the crossbar from six-yards following a wonderful pass by Foyth.
After a tricky start, the young Argentina international had applied himself excellently and been a useful asset going forward too.
Tottenham threatened again seven minutes later when Llorente and Eriksen linked up nicely and the Dane found the run of Davies, but the left-back dragged an effort wide from 20-yards.
Wanyama needed treatment minutes later after a clash with Elias Kachunga, though he was fine to resume and would have looked to build on an encouraging individual display so far.
A yellow to Foyth for a rash challenge on Kongolo was a slight blot on his copybook on the hour mark as Spurs continued to target a third goal.
It almost arrived in the 64th minute when Moura raced past a handful of Huddersfield players after receiving Eriksen’s pass, but he could only fire straight at Hamer from outside the area.
Less than 60 seconds later and Tottenham threatened again, yet Llorente headed wide following a dangerous Davies centre.
Siewert made his first substitution with 21 minutes left and it was to bring on Town’s influential attacker Steve Mounie with the game still not over.
Huddersfield almost pulled one back straight after when Karlan Grant was played in and appeared to only have Hugo Lloris to beat, but Sissoko made up a number of yards and got back to slide in and block the Town forward’s effort.
It was a wonderful piece of defending and highlighted a wonderful performance by one of Tottenham’s players of the season.
Spurs got back on the front foot soon after, but a brilliant run by Foyth didn’t result in a goal as Walker-Peters crossed was knocked back across goal by Davies.
Pochettino made his first change with 16 left when man of the match Sissoko left to a standing ovation to be replaced by Oliver Skipp, who was making his first senior appearance at the new stadium.
The Terriers then enjoyed their best spell of the match and really should have pulled one back in north London; starting in the 75th minute.
Hogg chipped into the area and found substitute Mounie in space, but he could only headed wide from a great position inside the Spurs penalty area.
Five minutes later and Lloris was called into action for the first time when Juninho Bacuna got a free kick up and over the wall from 25-yards.
It was heading for the top corner, but Tottenham’s captain and goalkeeper tipped onto the crossbar and it went behind for a corner.
Spurs survived the resulting set-piece and managed to break from it and Eriksen was played through by Walker-Peters, but he saw a shot deflected onto the post.
Vertonghen and Llorente were subbed off soon after with Rose and Son introduced and then Tottenham finished with a flourish.
Eriksen managed to find Moura with 87 played, after smart work by Walker-Peters, and the Brazilian fired into the corner to make it 3-0.
He celebrated with typical Brazilian flair as he produced an acrobatic back flip to mark the goal.
It was not the end of the goals for Spurs or Moura crucially as three minutes of stoppage time was added on.
And with virtually the last kick of the game the first-ever hat-trick scored in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium occurred.
Son turned creator on this occasion as he passed into the area on the right-hand side and Moura latched onto it and smashed into the roof of the net to complete his hat-trick in front of the South Stand.
It was a special moment for the Brazilian and put him in the club’s history books with this the first treble scored at the new 62,062-seater stadium.
The full time whistle followed soon after to confirm Spurs’ 4-0 win which takes them up to third in the table for the time being.
Moura then enjoyed another special moment when his son was brought onto the pitch and every slight kick he took was cheered by the home fans.
Tottenham will of course have tougher tests to come, but this made it three victories in a row at the club’s new ground which has instantly felt like home and boosted their spirits when they needed lifting.
Next up for Spurs and Pochettino’s Champions League quarter-final second leg away to City where they know another clean sheet would send them through to the last four of the competition.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (C); Foyth, Sanchez, Vertonghen (Rose 85); Walker-Peters, Wanyama, Sissoko (Skipp 74), Davies; Eriksen; Lucas, Llorente (Son 86).
Unused substitutes: Gazzaniga, Trippier, Alderweireld, Marsh.
Huddersfield Town: Hamer; Hadergjonaj, Schindler ©, Kongolo, Durm (Mounie 69); Bacuna (Williams 90), Hogg, Stankovic (Mooy 82), Löwe; Kachunga, Grant.
Unused substitutes: Coleman, Smith, Pritchard, Zanka.