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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Richarlison's double gets Spurs off to winning start against 10-man Marseille

Tottenham (0) 2 Richarlison 76, 81

Marseille (0) 0

Richarlison’s first goals in Tottenham colours swung a tight opening Champions League group game decisively Spurs’ way.

It was mostly a plodding, unconvincing performance from Antonio Conte’s men, who laboured even after the visitors had a defender sent off two minutes into the second half.

But the Brazilian stole into a perfect position to head home Ivan Peric’s cross from the left to break the deadlock and suddenly all the tension and uncertainty evaporated.

Five minutes later, and from another angled ball in from the left, this time from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Richarlison rose beyond Samuel Gigot to head in off an post.

They may count Matteo Guendouzi among their number – the former Arsenal man was predictably booed – but this is a Marseille side which has started the season impressively and they were by far the better side in the first 45 minutes, claiming 62 per cent of the ball.

Five wins from their opening six matches in Ligue 1 suggests they may be the ones who come closest to depriving PSG of their latest title.

They were very quick to take some of the sting out of Tottenham’s early bluster too.

Home fans massed on the vertiginous South Stand were in full voice as Champions League football came back to north London. But the pale blue shirts of OM were calmly playing to feet and keeping the ball to quell all that runaway optimism.

In Igor Tudor – the former Juventus and Croatia player – Marseille had someone just as animated as Conte on the touchline, but for all his occasionally manic energy, his team played with heads as well as hearts.

Spurs were often smothered by covering players and had precious little to show for their first-half efforts. It was nearly the interval before they created a proper opening - Richarlison, and Heung-Min Son worked Harry Kane into the inside right channel and his low shot flashed past the far post.

Two minutes into the second half, though, and the game was transformed when the visitors were reduced to 10 when Marcel Mbemba was red carded by ref Slavko Vincic of Slovakia for a last-man tackle to deny Son a run on goal.

And although there was no immediate upturn in the home side’s performance, they began to crank it up, with Dejan Kulusevski making a difference when he came on. Spurs in the end did just enough to get their campaign up and running.

In the other match in the group, Sporting won 3-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Guendouzi, by the way, was excellent. At least while Marseille had a full set of 11.

Spurs: (3-4-2-1) Lloris – Romero (Tanganga 73), Dier, Lenglet (Davies 73) – Emerson Royal (Kulusevski 61), Betancur (Bissouma 86), Hojbjerg, Perisic - Richarlison, Son (Doherty 86) – Kane.

Marseille: (3-4-2-1) Lopez – Mbemba, Bailly, Gigot (Under 88) – Clauss (Kolasinac 70), Rongier, Varetout (Gueye 87) Harit, Nuno Tavares – Gerson (Balerdi 50), Guendouzi – Suarez (Harit 71).

Attendance: 57,367


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