Tottenham Hotspur beat Antwerp 2-0 to leapfrog their Belgian rivals and win Europa League Group J on Thursday night in London. A dull, scoreless first half saw the hosts create very few chances with Carlos Vinicius coming close in the closing minutes before the teams headed to the dressing room at the break. Spurs would finally find an opener just before 60 minutes when Gareth Bale’s smashed free kick from distance was saved but fell to Vinicius for the easiest of tap ins. Jose Mourinho brought on Harry Kane and Son-Heung min right after taking the lead to further invigorate his Tottenham side. The move paid dividends shortly after with Giovani Lo Celso finishing smartly to double Spurs’ lead after Kane had played him into the Antwerp penalty area. “When I thought about the changes the result was 0-0 then we scored the [first] goal but I didn’t change my mind. It was a question of trying to kill the game,” said Mourinho. “I thought in the second half with bit of intensity they will collapse.” The result means Antwerp finish second and reach the knockout stage of European competition for the first time in 30 years, while Spurs are among the favourites for Europe’s second-tier competition. “We knew this game was a must-win so that we could go top of the table,” said defender Japhet Tanganga. “We go into the next round against a lesser team because we’ll be in the higher pot.” The two sides will now await the results of Monday’s Europa League draw to learn their opponents when the last-32 knockout round begins in February of next year.
Football EUROPA LEAGUE