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Tottenham Hotspur survive Russian scare to progress into the Europa League group stage

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Tottenham Hotspur needed an inspired late comeback to overcome Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the Europa League qualifier. With an intense 2-1 win, the London club booked their place in the next round of the tournament. 

The Russian team put a serious dent into Spurs’ hope of any European football for the season, with a massive scare which was triggered with a goal in the 72nd minute. Georgi Minchev scored for the hosts to put Mourinho in a state of panic.

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Image Courtesy: Evening Standard

Lokomotiv Plovdiv’s hard work was undone ten minutes later after Momchil Cvetanov used his arms to keep the ball off the line. The effort was met with a direct red and a subsequent penalty which Harry Kane duly dispatched away to bring the visitors back into the game.

To make matters worse for Plovdiv, a second red card was issued by the referee after  Birsent Karageren was caught spitting on Tanguy N’dombele.

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Fittingly, it was the French midfielder who scored the winner for Tottenham Hotspur with Giovanni Lo Celso providing the vital assist.

Mourinho’s restored faith in N’dombele

Tottenham Hotspur survive Russian scare to progress into the Europa League group stage - THE SPORTS ROOM
Image Courtesy: Sky Sports

After enduring a rough first campaign in England after his record move from Lyon, N’dombele earned praise from manager Jose Mourinho for his efforts off the bench. After the match, Mourinho claimed:

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“Tanguy is in a process of evolution. Last season he wasn’t. He was stuck in a situation where I couldn’t see the evolution.

“Now he is in a moment where he is training very, very well. Today he gave us what we needed in the last 30 minutes.

“Now I believe in Tanguy. I never doubted his ability but last season I doubted his effort and motivation. Now I think that Tanguy can do well for us.”

Tottenham move in a new direction

After consistently making their mark with Champions League football, Tottenham Hotspur slumped to 6th place in the Premier League table last season. As a result, the side were not eligible to compete in Europe’s most elite competition.

Making a late swoop to sign Sergio Reguilon, Spurs may not be done in the transfer window with the team looking to bring back their former player Gareth Bale as well.

Tottenham did not make the brightest of starts in the Premier League with a tame 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Everton.

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