Fernando Llorente finally breaks his Tottenham duck in easy win
Champions League round-up: Besiktas end Leipzig hopes; Ronaldo sets news record
Son Heung-Min scores Tottenham Hotspur’s second goal during the Champions League game against Apoel Nicosia at Wembley Stadium. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur 3 Apoel Nicosia 0
It has taken a while – 17 appearances, to be precise – but Fernando Llorente is up and running as a Tottenham Hotspur goalscorer. The summer signing from Swansea City has been used mainly as a substitute by Mauricio Pochettino but, given a starting opportunity in what was a dead Champions League rubber, he responded with a decent all-round performance at Wembley and he crowned it with his first goal in the club’s colours.
Given Tottenham’s recent stutters – they have won only once in five Premier League matches – it was an opportunity for them to find a bit of momentum and Llorente did so on a personal level. Son Heung-min did likewise. The winger added Tottenham’s second goal before he was withdrawn on 65 minutes, with an eye on Saturday’s game against Stoke City.
Llorente was not the only Tottenham player to open his account for the club. Pochettino made wholesale changes to his line-up, with first place in Group H already assured, and it was a big night for the winger, George-Kévin Nkoudou, who has struggled since his transfer from Marseille in the summer of last year.
It was Nkoudou’s full Champions League debut and his 22nd appearance for Tottenham. Like Llorente, the vast majority have come as a substitute. He tried to be positive from the first whistle and, if his moves did not always come off, he got his reward towards the end. He jinked away from the Apoel captain, Nuno Morais, cut inside and, when he shot, he caught a break when the ball deflected and flew in.
Llorente has shown flashes of his quality, most notably in the 1-1 draw with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, but everybody knew that he needed a goal. When it came in the 20th minute, it was a beautifully executed effort.
Harry Winks had spread the play and Serge Aurier delivered his cross from the right with pace. There was plenty to do but Llorente killed the ball with a lovely right-footed touch and, in the same movement, spun to set up the sweeping left-footed finish. Having done the hard part, he was never going to miss.
Llorente was the focal point of Pochettino’s 4-2-3-1 formation and he might have opened the scoring earlier, following a Winks free-kick. He rose unmarked to extend Nauzet Pérez in the Apoel goal and that was not the end of the Tottenham threat.
Davinson Sánchez had a stab at the loose ball before it broke for Nkoudou. He guided the ball at goal only to see Jesús Rueda repel it with an instinctive goal-line header. When Llorente recycled the move, Sánchez headed wide.
Tottenham dominated the first half, with Son a menace in a roaming role off the flank and the goalkeeper, Michel Vorm, a virtual bystander. There was control to their passing, with Winks prominent, and the second goal felt like a matter of time. It was another high-class finish. Son played a give-and-go with Llorente on the edge of the area before whipping a first-time left-footed shot into the far corner.
Apoel, who had hopes of a Europa League finish, complained that Danny Rose had committed a last-man foul on Lorenzo Ebecilio in the first half but the referee, Slavko Vincic, was unmoved. The contact was slight, at best. There were plenty of theatrics from the visitors.
They switched to 3-4-3 for the second half and they were more proactive. It would have been difficult for them to have been less so. Praxitelis Vouros fizzed a deflected shot past the far post but Tottenham continued to look the likelier scorers. Llorente air-kicked when gloriously placed and Aurier worked Perez on the follow-up before Nkoudou applied the gloss to the scoreline. – Guardian service
Real Madrid 3 Borussia Dortmund 2
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo set a record for scoring in every Champions League group game as his side won an entertaining encounter 3-2 at home to Borussia Dortmund, who clinched a spot in the Europa League.
Real were guaranteed a place in the last 16 as Group H runners up behind Spurs, but coach Zinedine Zidane still fielded a strong side for the game, only resting Marcelo, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.
Real’s Spanish striker Borja Mayoral got his first Champions League goal in the eighth minute with a chipped finish from close range while four minutes later Ronaldo struck for the sixth group game in a row, sending a wonderful curled shot into the top corner from outside the box.
Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang led a short-lived fightback by scoring either side of the break for the Germans, who have failed to win a game in the group stage campaign, but finished above Apoel Nicosia on goal difference to qualify for the Europa League.
Real averted a third consecutive draw in all competitions thanks to an 81st-minute strike from Lucas Vazquez to end their group campaign with 13 points.
They could, however, be without defender Raphael Varane for the next few games after the Frenchman limped off with a muscle injury.
RB Leipzig 1 Besiktas 2
RB Leipzig’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages in their debut European season were ended after they suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Besiktas amid late drama on Wednesday.
The German side, who had to achieve a better result than Porto to finish second behind Group G winners Besiktas, were beaten by a last-minute strike from Brazil Under-23 international Talisca.
The goal came three minutes after the Bundesliga side, already down to 10 men, thought they had escaped defeat against the odds with a fine Naby Keita goal.
The Guinean international brought them back into a game that had looked lost when Stefan Ilsanker picked up his second yellow card in the 82nd minute for a cynical foul on Cenk Tosun.
Although the home side dominated, they struggled to break down a defence inspired by the tremendous goalkeeping of Tolga Zengin, who made four outstanding saves.
Besiktas’s victory took their tally at the top of the group to 14 points, with Porto taking second spot on 10 after a 5-2 win over Monaco. Leipzig had to settle for third place and Europa League football on seven points.
FC Porto 5 Monaco 2
Vincent Aboubakar struck two first-half goals to spearhead Porto’s emphatic 5-2 win over Monaco at the Dragao Stadium and seal their place in the knockout stages.
The prolific Cameroonian striker took his season’s tally in all competitions to 17 in a one-sided game in which both teams were reduced to 10 men after Porto’s Felipe and Monaco’s Rachid Ghezzal were sent off for an undignified 38th-minute scuffle.
Knowing a win would guarantee them second place in Group G, Porto’s nerves were quickly settled when Aboubakar latched on to Yacine Brahimi’s through ball after nine minutes.
The powerful striker was in magnificent form, pouncing again in the 33rd minute when he cut in from the left edge of the box and shot beneath Diego Benaglio for his fifth goal of the Champions League campaign.
Monaco, who had lost the 2004 final to the same Portuguese opponents, were reminded of that 3-0 defeat when Aboubakar turned provider, playing in Brahimi for a third just before halftime.
Monaco captain Kamil Glik pulled one back with a 61st-minute penalty, given harshly for a handball from Ivan Marcano, but Porto’s Brazilian fullback Alex Telles thundered home a 25-metre shot four minutes later.
Radamel Falcao nodded in a 78th-minute consolation against his old club before Tiquinho Soares struck again with another header for the home side with just two minutes remaining.