» Sports » Football PIX: Spurs rout Wolfsberg; Real escape with win

Football PIX: Spurs rout Wolfsberg; Real escape with win

Last updated on: February 25, 2021 15:45 IST
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Images from Europa and Champions League matches played on Wednesday.

Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale celebrates with Dele Alli after scoring their third goal against Wolfsberger AC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Wednesday.

IMAGE: Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale celebrates with Dele Alli after scoring their third goal against Wolfsberger AC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Wednesday. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Dele Alli and Gareth Bale staked their claims for places in Tottenham Hotspur's first team with superbly-taken goals in a 4-0 victory over Austrian club Wolfsberg in the Europa League last 32 second leg on Wednesday.

Alli has fallen down the pecking order under manager Jose Mourinho, not starting a Premier League game since the opening day of the season, but was clearly in the mood to impress.

The midfielder produced a sensational overhead kick in the 10th minute to give his side the lead on the night, after they won the first leg 4-1 in Budapest.


Alli then provided a pinpoint cross for Carlos Vinicius to make it 2-0 five minutes after halftime and was again the provider as Bale, on as a substitute, smashed in a majestic third goal with his left foot.

Vinicius, another Spurs player who has found Premier League appearances hard to come by, scored his second goal late on as Tottenham waltzed into the last 16 with an 8-1 aggregate victory.

While Bale's lack of minutes since his return on loan from Real Madrid has been largely down to fitness issues, according to Mourinho, Alli's fall from grace has been harder to explain.

But on Wednesday he offered a reminder of the ability that catapulted him into Tottenham's first team as a teenager in 2015 and made him an England regular.

"Dele had a difficult period, he had an injury, at the same time was the talk about him staying or leaving, the market closed, the injury's gone and he starts working with lots of motivation," Mourinho said of Alli's virtuoso display.

"It's coming and that's what we need. He is playing very well. Of course, the goal was beautiful but the assists and the hard work means more for me."

Tottenham have lost five of their last six Premier League games but enjoyed much-needed European respite to progress in a competition which looks like their most realistic route back into the Champions League.

Alli was twice involved in the move that led to Tottenham's first goal and when the ball was played into the area he executed the perfect scissor kick to send a bouncing ball beyond Wolfsberg keeper Manuel Kuttin.

Wolfsberg avoided any further damage in the first half but were undone again when Alli put a cross on a plate for Vinicius to head home.

The fact that Bale, superb against West Ham as a substitute on Sunday, was left on the bench suggests he might be in line for a start at the weekend against Burnley.

When he was introduced he looked sharp, sweeping Alli's pass into the top corner without breaking stride.

Sixteen-year-old substitute Dane Scarlett rounded off a good night for Tottenham with an assist for Vinicius.

Mendy fires late winner as Real struggle to beat 10-man Atalanta

Real Madrid's Ferland Mendy celebrates with Lucas Vazquez after scoring against Atalanta during their match at Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo.

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Ferland Mendy celebrates with Lucas Vazquez after scoring against Atalanta during their match at Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo. Photograph: Alberto Lingria/Reuters

Ferland Mendy grabbed a late winner to earn lacklustre Real Madrid a 1-0 win over 10-man Atalanta in Wednesday's Champions League last-16 first leg.

Real's task appeared to have been made much easier after Atalanta's Remo Freuler was sent off in the 17th minute for denying Mendy a goal-scoring opportunity.

Against the 10 men, however, Zinedine Zidane's side, who were missing several high-profile players through injury, struggled to break down the hosts, and Real had only one shot on target in the rest of the first half.

Atalanta continued to defend doggedly after the interval, but Mendy's superb strike in the 86th minute gave the record 13-times European champions a slender lead to take into the second leg.

"We didn't play well, but the important thing is the result, Zidane said.

"We couldn't find any space. If you have to play against 10 men it is hard to play without space. But for us it's very important to have found the goal, especially an away goal."

Gian Piero Gasperini's Atalanta shocked everyone by getting to the quarter-finals last year in their first season in Europe's premier competition, especially given they played all their home games at the San Siro in Milan while their own stadium was being re-developed.

Now back at their ground, Atalanta's first Champions League knockout match in Bergamo got off to a bad start when the referee showed no hesitation in sending Freuler off for bringing down Mendy when he was through on goal.

Without their top goalscorer Karim Benzema and forwards Eden Hazard and Rodrygo through injury, however, Real lacked potency up front.

Half chances for Luka Modric and Vinicius Jr. were all they could come up with as the game entered the latter stages.

It was going to take something special to breach the well-organised home side and full back Mendy provided it with a 25-metre strike, his first Champions League goal.

Manchester City stretch winning run with 2-0 victory over Gladbach

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus in action during the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach in Hungary.

IMAGE: Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus in action during the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach in Hungary. Photograph: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

Bernardo Silva scored once and set up another as Manchester City eased to a 2-0 victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday, extending their winning run to 19 games in all competitions.

City, who are unbeaten in their last 26 matches, have a huge advantage for the March 16 return leg in Manchester after Silva headed in a pinpoint Joao Cancelo cross in the 29th minute to put them in front.

The Portuguese midfielder then headed on another cross from man of the match Cancelo in the 65th minute for Gabriel Jesus to stab in.

"It was a good game for us, a good win, very important," scorer Silva said.

"We know how tough this competition can be. You make a mistake and you're out. So we tried to play simple, make no mistakes, control possession as we always do and create chances and score goals."

"It was a very good game for us, but it's not over yet," he said.

Striker Sergio Aguero came on as a substitute after a lengthy absence from Pep Guardiola's team, who have won their last 12 away games in all competitions, setting a new record for an English top-flight side.

The first leg was played in the Hungarian capital due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in Germany and City quickly took control of the game, circulating the ball well and looking for openings in the Gladbach defence.

Phil Foden tested keeper Yann Sommer with a crisp shot in the sixth minute but City did not have a clear scoring chance despite controlling possession until Silva's header.

Jesus should have done much better when he benefited from a Gladbach pass back early in the first half but with only Sommer to beat he hesitated and lost possession.

The Brazilian made amends minutes later, tapping in a Silva header from yet another superb Cancelo cross.

Gladbach, who only had one attempt on target in the entire game, had their best chance through Alassane Plea's spectacular backflick-volley just past the hour but were otherwise boxed in their own half.

"We had to face a top team and we felt it," said Gladbach coach Marco Rose.

"But we made some mistakes even though we defended well in general terms."

"We were not clean enough against such a team. Every pass every run has to work against them."

The Germans have now lost three of their last four games in all competitions and while City are on the cusp of a fourth straight quarter-final spot, the Germans have a mountain to climb in the return leg.

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