Erik Lamela scores in Spurs win over Sheriff
Tottenham into Europa League knockout stages with 2-1 win over spirited Moldovan champions
Tottenham Hotspur’s Erik Lamela (centre) shoots on goal against Sheriff Tiraspol’s at White Hart Lane. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Tottenham 2 Sheriff 1
A first Tottenham goal for Erik Lamela and a record-breaking penalty from Jermain Defoe secured safe passage into the knockout rounds of the Europa League for André Villas-Boas’s side as they finally broke down a spirited Sheriff side.
The first half at White Hart Lane had seen little in the way of creativity from Spurs but they burst into life after an hour with new boy Lamela at the heart of their attacking prowess.
The 21-year-old has been used sparingly by Villas-Boas since his arrival from Roma and has yet to start a Premier League game for Spurs but he made the difference against the reigning Moldovan champions, who succumbed to a 2-1 defeat in north London.
Lamela put in one of his most assured performances in a Tottenham shirt and topped it off by tucking away the first goal of the game 15 minutes into the second half, before being tripped inside the box moments later to give Defoe a chance to make history from 12 yards.
But Spurs did not have everything their own way. For all of their defensive work Sheriff threatened twice in the first half before Ismail Isa grabbed a goal on 72 minutes to keep Tottenham on their toes.