Saturday, July 20, 2024

Europa League: Vinicius opens account with double as Tottenham thrash Ludogorets

Europa League
Tottenham Hotspur's Carlos Vinicius scores their first goal. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON, November 27: Brazilian striker Carlos Vinicius opened his account for Tottenham Hotspur with two first-half goals and Harry Winks scored a spectacular longrange effort in a 4-0 win over Bulgarian side Ludogorets in Europa League Group J on Thursday.
Victory put Tottenham into second place in the standings with two games remaining, level on points with Royal Antwerp who won 2-0 away at Austrian side LASK.
Welsh forward Gareth Bale started for Tottenham, as did out-of-favour Dele Alli, but it was Vinicius, signed on loan from Benfica as backup for Harry Kane, who took his chance to shine.
The 25-year-old put Tottenham in front after 16 minutes when Alli’s ball intended for Bale deflected off a Ludogorets player into the path of Vinicius who rolled in an easy finish.
Premier League leaders Tottenham were totally dominant and Alli was also involved in the second goal, unselfishly squaring to Vinicius after Tanguy Ndombele’s powerful low shot was parried out by goalkeeper Plamen Iliev.
Just past the hour mark Winks enlivened the second period when he received the ball from a throw-in some 50 metres out on the left and launched a shot that flew over the head of Iliev.
According to Opta, only two goals have been scored from further out in the Europa League since 2009-10.
“Winks was honest and he told in some flash interview that what he wanted to do was some diagonal pass,” Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said.
“If it was me I would say I tried to score that goal and it would be a candidate for the Puskas awards.”
Tottenham were not finished, though, and Vinicius teed up Lucas Moura to fire his side’s fourth.
There was still time for teenage striker Dane Scarlett to come off the bench for his Spurs debut and become the club’s youngest-ever first-team player at 16 years and 247 days old.
Scarlett almost capped a memorable day with a chance in stoppage time but his shot rolled across the face of goal.
AC Milan held to 1-1 draw by Lille in Europa League
Serie A leaders AC Milan were held to a 1-1 draw by Lille in the Europa League on Thursday after a well-worked Jonathan Bamba goal cancelled out Samu Castillejo’s effort for the Italian side.
The result leaves Lille on eight points at the top of Group H, a point ahead of Milan with two more games to play with qualification to the knockout stages still not assured after Sparta Prague moved up to six points with victory over Celtic.
Lille nearly took an early lead when Sandro Tonali lost possession near his box, allowing Yusuf Yazici to take a shot on goal. However, Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was relieved to see it curl wide.
Tonali then made up for his near-costly error with a sublime through ball in the opening minute of the second half, releasing Ante Rebic who pulled it back for Castillejo to score the opening goal.
Lille pulled one back almost 20 minutes later when a quick throw-in caught Milan’s defence off guard and a smart passing move allowed Jonathan David to control a cross to set up Bamba, who found the back of the net with a deflected shot.
Lille host Sparta Prague next week while Milan host Celtic. (Reuters)