Spurs progress to last 16 of Europa League after victory over Fiorentina
Tottenham eased into the last 16 of the Europa League after comfortably beating Fiorentina in the home leg of their continental tie.
Last year, the Italians eliminated Spurs in the last-32 stage of the competition, securing a 1-1 draw in north London before triumphing 2-0 on home turf – and this time the roles were reversed, with the Lilywhites going one better as they got their revenge.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side had earned a 1-1 draw away from home last Thursday, and they completed the job with an impressive 3-0 victory in front of their own fans.
Ryan Mason scored a first-half opener and Erik Lamela – who played in Italy with Roma before joining Tottenham – doubled Spurs’ advantage after trhe break, while Kieran Trippier forced an own goal from Gonzalo Rodriguez with a low cross in the final 10 minutes.
There were eight changes from the Spurs side that had faced Crystal Palace in the FA Cup on Sunday, with Kevin Wimmer, Eric Dier and Dele Alli the only players to start both games.
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The tie started at a quick tempo with quality from both sides. Tottenham pressed energetically as usual but Fiorentina comfortably and confidently passed the ball around, with Borja Valero an influential figure in midfield.
Spurs had the first chance as Eric Dier met Lamela’s inswinging corner with a glancing header which dropped just beyond the far post with Alli sliding in, while the Italians threatened at the other end as Josip Illicic cut inside from the right flank and sent a drive whistling across goal.
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The deadlock was broken in the 25th minute and the goal went to the hosts. Ben Davies, who was making his 50th appearance for Tottenham, passed the ball forward to Alli, who flicked it on to Mason before being challenged – and Mason went through on goal before finding the far corner.
Wimmer and Trippier were both booked either side of that strike but Spurs went into the interval in a good position – and they nearly doubled their lead immediately after the restart as Lamela played in Nacer Chadli, who beat Ciprian Tatarusanu but saw the goal disallowed for offside.
A 20-yard Alli effort was deflected wide and, although an error from Trippier allowed Valero to play a one-two and shoot at Lloris, Tottenham went 2-0 up in the 63rd minute.
Christian Eriksen’s pass sent Chadli running at the defence and, while his deflected shot was saved, Lamela was on hand, spinning in the box and firing past Tatarusanu.
Fiorentina threatened with 15 minutes left as Nikola Kalinic raced onto a through ball but Lloris rushed off his line and slid at the striker’s feet before letting go of the ball as he exited his penalty area and coolly passing the ball away.
Instead, Tottenham increased their advantage in the 81st minute. Chadli fed the overlapping Trippier on the right-hand side and Rodriguez slid in to stop the ball reaching Alli but only succeeded in diverting the ball into his own net off the crossbar.
Mason nearly added further gloss to the scoreline with a spectacular goal, meeting Chadli’s cross with a powerful volley which forced a save from Tatarusanu. The Fiorentina goalkeeper also had to make a low save to deny Eriksen in the final moments as Tottenham finished an impressive performance on the front foot.
Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Davies, Dier, Mason (Winks 87), Lamela (Onomah 75), Alli (Bentaleb 83), Eriksen, Chadli
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs