Moura hat-trick sends Spurs third
Tottenham Hotspur 4
Moura 27, 87, 90+3, Wanyama 24
Huddersfield Town 0
A hat-trick from Lucas Moura and one from Victor Wanyama gave much-changed Spurs a comfortable 4-0 victory against relegated Huddersfield Town at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this afternoon.
Mauricio Pochettino made seven changes to the team which beat Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Two of those changes, Dele Alli and Harry Kane, were enforced through injury, while the manager opted also to keep Heung-Min Son on the sidelines – a player who is clearly going to be vital to the final month of Spurs’ season without talisman Kane.
The absence of the England striker is obviously a big blow to Spurs, but as was often the case earlier in the season when he was out with a similar ankle injury, without such a glaringly obvious focal point in the side, Spurs’ other talents shone through.
Fernando Llorente, Kane’s replacement, was at the heart of most of Spurs’ attacks, holding the ball up and bringing the on-running Moussa Sissoko and Moura into the game with his unselfish play.
This was always going to be a game Spurs wanted to get won quickly, for they clearly have bigger fish to fry with the forthcoming second leg against City on Wednesday.
And although Huddersfield held out reasonably well for 20 minutes, two devastating Tottenham strikes killed the game inside 140 seconds.
First, on 23 minutes, Ben Davies’ through-ball found the industrious Llorente on the left, who held off the challenge of two Terriers' defenders before slotting the ball into the path of the on-running Victor Wanyama, who rounded Ben Hamer and stroked the ball home.
And before the 58, 308 fans had had time to draw breath, it was two. Sissoko ran unchallenged at the Huddersfield defence and laid the ball off to Moura on the right who thundered a low shot past Hamer and into the bottom right-hand corner.
Five minutes later Huddersfield should have been back in it when Juninho Bacuna found Jon Gorenc Stankovic unmarked in the middle of the box. He tried to side-foot it in on the volley, but put his shot wide.
But in truth this was a game in which the home victory was never really in doubt. Llorente had a great chance to make the points absolutely safe seven minutes before half-time, when he headed Christian Eriksen’s right-wing free-kick inches wide after Sissoko had been fouled by Chris Lowe.
The second half started where the first had ended – with Spurs in charge. On 46 minutes a simple ball from Argentinian defender Juan Foyth found Llorente. The Spaniard controlled the ball well, turned and fired a shot against the crossbar.
Shortly after the hour-mark Llorente headed wide again, this time from Ben Davies’ cross.
As the players tired chances began to come at both ends. First Karlan Grant was edged out by two Spurs defenders on the left, before Llorente was thwarted at the other end by a great challenge from Terence Kongolo.
Huddersfield substitute Steve Mounie should have brought the Terriers back into it on 74 minutes but put his free header wide, before Juninho Bacuna tested Lloris with a free-kick.
Spurs immediately broke up the other end and worked the ball to Eriksen in the box, whose shot rattled back off the post.
Then on 87 minutes Moura scored his second. Eriksen’s ball in from the right was well controlled by Moura, who brought the ball down and passed it past Hamer’s left hand for 3-0.
And there was still time for a fourth – and Moura’s third. Substitute Son had a hand in it, running through the Huddersfield midfield with ease, before finding Moura who fired emphatically past the keeper for 4-0.
The win moves Spurs up to third in the Premier League, and with only one really tough-looking game to come in the league – another visit to the Etihad – Spurs look good for a return to the Champions League next season – that’s if they don’t win it this year, of course.
Spurs: Lloris, Foyth (Yellow, 59), Sanchez, Vertonghen (Rose, 84), Wanyama, Walker-Peters, Sissoko (Skipp, 73), Eriksen, Davies, Lucas Moura, Llorente (Son, 86)
Subs: Trippier, Rose, Alderweireld, Son, Gazzaniga, Marsh, Skipp
Huddersfield: Hamer, Hadergionaj, Schindler, Kongolo (Yellow, 45), Durm (Mounie 68), Bacuna (Yellow 66), Hogg, Stankovic (Mooy, 81), Lowe, Kachunga (Willaims, 90+3), Ahearne-Grant
Subs: Smith, Mooy, Coleman, Williams, Pritchard, Mounie, Jorgensen
Referee: Lee Mason