Spurs ease into Europa League group stages
Harry Kane, Paulinho and Andros Townsend bag goals as Tottenham brush Limassol aside
Harry Kane of Spurs scores the first against AEL Limassol in the Uefa Europa League Qualifying Play-Offs round second leg match at White Hart Lane. Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Mauricio Pochettino’s perfect start to life at the Tottenham helm continued on Thursday evening as they booked their place in the Europa League group stage by brushing aside AEL Limassol with a 3-0 victory at White Hart Lane.
Harry Kane opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time after missing a sixth minute penalty before Paulinho and a spot-kick by Andros Townsend wrapped up the win after the break.
It is fair to say things could not have gone much better for the former Argentina international since swapping Southampton for north London, having not only won all four matches but earned plaudits for the manner in they have secured those results.
The latest victory came at the expense of AEL Limassol, who were no match for a free-flowing Tottenham side who cruised into the Europa League group stage with a 5-1 victory on aggregate.
The Cypriots were a shadow of the side that threatened to cause a shock last week, when Spurs just managed to eke out a 2-1 comeback win on a bobbly, cut-up pitch in warm conditions. Tottenham had no such issues with pitch or climate in north London and looked likely to be in for a comfortable evening when Karim Fegrouch brought down Kyle Naughton with just six minutes on the clock.
The AEL goalkeeper was taken to hospital after receiving a nasty-looking knee to the head in the collision, which did not immediately cost his side as replacement Pulpo Romero denied a poor Kane penalty.
It was a missed opportunity Tottenham never looked like they would pay for, though, and they eventually turned their dominance into the opening goal on the stroke of half-time when sloppy play allowed Kane slot home.
Paulinho provided the assist and was the benefactor of more sloppy play from Cypriots minutes into the second half, firing low across the goalkeeper.
Townsend then celebrated his England recall by slotting home from the spot midway through the second half, securing a comfortable win and Spurs’ place in Friday’s group stage draw.