SPORTING 2-0 TOTTENHAM: Marcus Edwards was the star of the show for Sporting in Lisbon as Tottenham fell to defeat in their Champions League group clash courtesy of two late goals
Sporting Lisbon at times played Spurs off the park here before their matchwinners Paulinho (no, not that one) and Arthur Gomes came off the bench to land the injury-time, two-punch knockout. Shell-shocked Antonio Conte and his Spurs team can have few complaints about their first defeat of the season.
Sporting were slicker, sexier and more fluid with their gorgeous one-touch play. In ex-Spurs playmaker Marcus Edwards they also had the Man of the Match.
Tottenham ’s terrific, well-documented summer business has deepened their squad but their fans will be wishing they’d been just a little bit more patient with attacking midfielder Edwards. He slipped away quietly as a hyped-up 17-year-old, six years ago without making a single appearance. He faced up against his former club very much a man here, at times running rings around them.
Ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino probably did him no favours in 2016 when he likened the pint-sized playmaker to Lionel Messi. But, you have to say, Edwards’ run to leave north London hearts in mouths, minutes before the break, was worthy of the great man himself.
From just inside the Spurs half, he left Eric Dier in a heap and Ben Davies on his backside. He played a one-two with former Wolves forward Francisco Trincao and had more Spurs players flinging themselves at his feet in the box – yet he STILL managed to force a fine save from Hugo Lloris.
Had Edwards scored you would not have seen or heard the end of it. if Gareth Southgate doesn’t get himself over to Portugal to take a look him then the England boss really is missing a trick.
Spurs could claim to have been unfortunate to see their best chances fall to cumbersome right back Emerson Royal. They were also unlucky to have seen Richarlison narrowly fail to beat the offside trap before rounding keeper Antonio Adan to score in the first half.
But this was Sporting’s night. In second half injury time, right wing-back Pedro Porro rode a challenge and curled a delicious effort which Lloris did superbly well to claw to safety.
From the resulting corner, Portuguese striker Paulinho headed in. Cue pandemonium, followed by more fireworks when another substitute, Brazilian forward Arthur Gomes, added a wonder-goal.
Gliding in from the left touchline, he ghosted past Cristian Romero, nutmegged hapless Royal and stroked a diagonal effort in between Lloris and Davies. An outstanding team display had been capped by two utterly deserved goals.
Young head coach Ruben Amorim gushed about Conte pre-match but proved here that he is not a 37-year-old in the competition to have his hair ruffled by more seasoned tacticians.
Two wins, five goals and none conceded means his men are surging towards qualification. Spurs now go to Eintracht Frankfurt, easily beaten by Sporting on Matchday One, hoping to get their European campaign in the elite competition back on track.