Tottenham beat Olympiakos to reach Champions League knockout phase
Jose Mourinho's first home game in charge sees Spurs bounce back from two down to win
26 November, 2019 — By Dan Carrier at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
TOTTENHAM 4 (Alli 45, Kane 50, 77, Aurier 73)
OLYMPIAKOS 2 (El-Arabi 6, Semedo 19)
JOSE Mourinho had a home debut to remember as Tottenham came from two goals down to beat Olympiakos and qualify for the Champions League knockout phase.
Upon his unveiling the new Spurs manager said he knew the club – what is in its DNA, and that he had greatly admired Tottenham for some time. So against Olympiakos he must have known what was coming.
Following a buoyant, restorative win at West Ham away over the weekend, Mourinho had a fit side with just the one change in Danny Rose in for the injured Ben Davies. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, Jose was ready, and the first 45 minutes of this European tie would have illustrated exactly the size of the task he faces – while the second 45 would have shown the tools he has at his disposal to put it right.
With 42 minutes gone, Olympiakos were enjoying a deserved 2-0 lead, had had multiple opportunities to add to their tally, and Spurs looked in disarray.
The visitors’ opener came on just five minutes and as much as it was a defensive disaster for Spurs, with players backing off and dropping too deep, the finish from Youssef El-Arabi was an absolute peach. The Striker saw the space open up and his thunderbolt from distance was firmly hit and unerringly accurate as it flew into the back of the net.
It got worse on 19 minutes. It looked like Tottenham might have finally settled – Heung-Min Son went close with a glancing header, and the home side were finding some rhythm.
Then, however, a sloppy pass by Harry Winks put his team in trouble. It led to a corner for the away side, and, with Spurs failing to fully clear their lines, a low ball squirmed across the box where Olympiakos defender Ruben Semedo.
Then came Mourinho’s switch of Eric Dier for Christian Eriksen after only 29 minutes. You had to feel some what sorry for Dier – Mourinho later opening his post match press conference with an apology after sacrificing the midfielder for a more attacking option.
And then, as the half time whistle approached and fans were getting their loudest boos ready, an air kick at a do-nothing cross by Olympiakos defender Yassine Meriah gave Alli the opportunity to gleefully pounce and smash home from close range on the stroke of half time.
Harry Kane levelled the scores early in the second half when he finished a Lucas Moura cross. Serge Aurier then gave Mourinho’s side the lead with a brilliant first time half volley after some excellent creative play by man-of-the-match Alli.
The gloss was added by a Kane header from an Eriksen free-kick as Tottenham advanced to the last-16. With a ruthless Mourinho in charge, who would write off another appearance in the final?
TOTTENHAM: Gazzaniga, Rose, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Son, Winks, Kane, Dier (Eriksen, 29) Dele, Aurier, Moura.
Substitutes not used: Austin, Vertonghen, Sissoko, Lo Celso, Sessegnon, Ndombele.
Olympiakos: Sa, Semendo, Camara, Bouchalakis, Guilherme, Podence (Randjelovic, 79) El Arabi, Elabdellaoui, Masouras, Meriah, Tsimikas.
Substitutes not used: Allain, Benzia, Guerrero, Valbuena, Papadopoulos, Torodis, Randjelovic.