The Spurs season is coming to an end. A bitter investigation threatens. Four days after the flop in the North London Derby, José Mourinho’s team dropped out of the Europa League in a spectacular, humiliating way. Their trip to Dinamo should be little more than a formality after a comfortable win over two goals in last week’s first leg, but Spurs showed an anemic and disjointed portrayal in perfect contrast to that of their hosts. Mislav Orsic’s extraordinary hat trick crowned a famous win for the Croatian champions.
Dinamo entered the game with alarming management problems. The man who took them on in the first leg, Zoran Mamic, was sentenced to prison this week for fraud. But they played to the best of their ability and now Mourinho is being accused of failing to get the most out of the resources available to him. The pressure to beat Manchester City in next month’s Carabao Cup final has increased.
Spurs have played more games this season than any other team in Europe in the last five leagues, and that fact could be indicative give an apology for their poor performance here. On the other hand, they are a very rich club with a squad that should have done better. Mourinho was able to make seven changes to the line-up that started Sunday’s defeat in the north London derby. In other words, nine of the players who started in Zagreb had also started last week’s first leg, in which Spurs galloped to victory. But they were never in control in the second leg and started so cautiously that it seemed to stimulate their limited opponents.
After a bleak start, Dinamo began to wear their teeth in the middle of the first half. Tottenham soon looked nervous and Davinson Sánchez had to make two good blocks to eliminate the odds as the crowd stumbled. At least that sparked a reaction on the other end where Dele Alli was bright in spurts and slid a nice ball through to Harry Kane who couldn’t get it under control. Alli prevailed against Érik Lamela shortly afterwards, but the striker didn’t get off his shot fast enough for Kévin Théophile-Catherine to come back and block.
Ingenuity was scarce, but control and dynamism were the qualities that made Spurs most were missing. In the 35th minute, Dinamo’s first clear view of the goal with a slip by Sánchez, but Lovro Majer drilled far from the edge of the box. A minute later, Sánchez slid to Spurs’ rescue and hooked the ball after a cute pass from Majer in front of Arijan Ademi’s goal.
The advantage of Dinamo’s increasingly nimble attack was that he left it open for counter-offensives. Spurs didn’t collect many, but Lucas Moura prepared Kane for a chance right before the break. Goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic rushed out to stifle the striker’s shot.
If Mourinho urged his side to be more urgent at halftime, there was no evidence his players were listening. They remained lazy after the break as Dinamo continued to hum forward, Spurs stretched but didn’t look like he was going to enter until Ademi was cleared from a corner in the 52nd minute. From 10 meters he sent a header down, which bounced into Hugo Lloris’ arms. Just before the hour, Bruno Petkovic rolled up and far from the corner of the six-yard box after another nice move caused a mess in the Spurs area.
Gareth Bale was replaced before the hour Lamela, who at the time had managed to collect another yellow card to elbow an opponent, although his guilt in this case wasn’t as obvious as it was against Arsenal on Sunday. This switch was supposed to give Spurs more forward thrust, but within a few moments they fell back on a nice target. Majer broke through Spurs’ pedestrian midfield and went to Orsic’s left. The winger faked Serge Aurier by backing up on his left foot and rolling a delicious shot from the corner of the box into the far corner of the net.
Mourinho tossed Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele to try to reverse the flow. But a Dinamo substitute, Iyayi Atiemwen, made a bigger impression and took part in a complicated move to feed Orsic, who shot into the box as Moussa Sissoko dawdled and then swept the equalizer into the net from 10 yards > Now Spurs had to rally to save their campaign. They almost did it in the 89th minute, but Théophile-Catherin cleared a hKane header off the line to force extra time. Dinamo had 30 minutes to gain fame and Spurs half an hour to avert shame. In the face of such stakes, the players on both sides increased their game. The game became tense and chaotic, and both sides created opportunities, although the hosts still thought more clearly and acted more sharply. Bale shot just wide before Dinamo cut her on the other end. Leovac pushed the ball over the goal after a smarter work by Atiemwen.
In the first minute of the second extra time, Orsic finished his great hat-trick. After receiving the ball over 30 yards away, he zigzagged between Aurier, Sissoko and Ndombele, crowning this run with an explosive finish, hurling the ball past Lloris from 20 yards.
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