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Wolfsberg 1-4 Tottenham Hotspur: 5 talking points as Spurs pick up comfortable first-leg victory | UEFA Europa League 2020-21 

Tottenham Hotspur defeated Wolfsberg in the Europa League on Thursday
Tottenham Hotspur defeated Wolfsberg in the Europa League on Thursday
Ume Elvis
ANALYST
Modified 19 Feb 2021
Top 5 / Top 10
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Tottenham Hotspur registered a 4-1 victory over Wolfsberg in the Europa League Round-of-32 first leg on Thursday. Heung-Min Son, Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius were all on the scoresheet.

COVID-19 protocols in Austria meant that this fixture was moved from the original venue to the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary.

Jose Mourinho named a relatively strong starting line-up, although rare starts were handed to Gareth Bale and Dele Alli.

The visitors started the game on the front foot and went ahead in the 13th minute through a stooped header by Son.

A well-worked move down the right flank saw Bale send a cross into the box, from which the South Korea international bent low to score his 17th goal of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur continued to ask all the questions, with a hapless Wolfsberg defense powerless to stop them. The north London outfit doubled their lead in the 28th minute when Gareth Bale sent an emphatic left-footed finish beyond Alexander Kofler.

It was 3-0 just six minutes later after Lucas Moura dribbled his way across the Austrians' defense before finding the back of the net.

Before that, Wolfsberg fashioned their best chance of the first half. Dario Vizinger forced Hugo Lloris to tip his point-blank header onto the post.

The second half began with the home side on the front foot, and they got a lifeline 10 minutes into the second half when Moussa Sissoko tripped Christopher Wernitznig in the area.

Michael Linedl stepped up to calmly send Lloris the wrong way and give Wolfsberg hope. The goal seemed to rattle Tottenham Hotspur, and it was practically one-way traffic for the first 15 minutes of the second half.

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Mourinho made some changes to provide steel in the middle, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Tanguy Ndombele coming on with 12 minutes left.

Their introduction practically changed the dimension of the game, and Tottenham Hotspur saw out the closing stages in control of the match.

They got a late fourth through Carlos Vinicius. A flicked header into the box by Lamela was excellently struck home by the Benfica loanee to give Tottenham Hotspur a more comfortable victory.

Both sides will clash again in the return fixture at White Hart Lane next Wednesday, with a place in the Round of 16 on offer.

Here are five talking points from the fixture.

#5 Comfortable victory puts Tottenham Hotspur in the driving seat ahead of second leg

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Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur's comfortable win gives Jose Mourinho some leeway ahead of the second leg

Even though Wolfsberg might not be the most prominent of sides on the continent, the Austrians are still capable of an upset.

They only gained promotion to the Austrian Bundesliga less than a decade ago but have secured continental football for two consecutive seasons. This term, they proved their mettle by finishing second in a group also containing serial European performers CSKA Moscow and Feyenoord.

Their 4-1 win away to the Dutch giants showed what they are capable of, and Jose Mourinho would have been wary of a shock result.

The Tottenham Hotspur manager wanted a dominant scoreline to have some breathing space ahead of the second leg, and his wards responded with an excellent all-round display.

There were times when their play was less than stellar, particularly at the start of the second half, but their class ultimately shone through, with a three-goal advantage putting them in the driving seat.

Mourinho can now afford to rest some of his more important players in the second leg, with emphasis placed on crucial Premier League games.

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#4 Christopher Wernitznig shows his quality against superior opposition

Despite ending on the losing side, Christopher Wernitznig proved to be the brightest spark for Wolfsberg.

He was always full of running and kept the Tottenham Hotspur defense on the back foot for most of the game.

Wernitznig showed great awareness and tenacity to win a penalty off Sissoko 10 minutes into the second half and was unlucky to see his well-struck shot hit the post soon after.

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Published 19 Feb 2021, 05:19 IST
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