Son Heung-Min doubles down, Dele Alli shines for Tottenham
Son Heung-Min showed Tottenham fans that the club do indeed have a second striker after scoring twice while leading the line for the first time on Thursday night.
When the transfer window closed, questions were raised about who would provide cover for Harry Kane in the event of an injury, or play up front in the cup competitions. The answer was delivered loud and clear in Spurs' first Europa League group match, with Kane watching from the bench as South Korea international Son struck twice in three first-half minutes against Qarabag FK, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead in the blink of an eye.
Spurs had previously looked vulnerable to an embarrassing night as their Azerbaijani visitors took a sixth-minute lead after debutant Kieran Trippier conceded a penalty. But, with Dele Alli impressing in the No. 10 role again and Andros Townsend putting in a lively showing on the right flank, Tottenham turned the game around. Erik Lamela put a poor first-half display behind him to add a late third goal in a 3-1 victory.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Hugo Lloris, 7 -- Could do little about Qarabag's goal from the penalty spot and dealt with everything expected of him with characteristic calmness.
DF Kieran Trippier, 5 -- Not the start he would have wanted as the defender emulated Toby Alderweireld by conceding a penalty on his home debut. There were some nice touches and he was keen to get forward and put crosses into the box, but unfortunately his main contribution was a key role in Qarabag's early goal.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 7 -- A Champions League finalist with Atletico Madrid, the Belgian had a solid game in his first European game for Spurs and presented a threat in Qarabag's box.
DF Kevin Wimmer, 7 -- An assured and authoritative home debut from the 22-year-old Austrian, who looks a good signing and a solid deputy for Jan Vertonghen as the left-sided centre-back.
DF Danny Rose, 5 -- It is surprising to see the left-back starting in the Europa League, with Ben Davies getting the nod in the Premier League, but this wasn't his best game. He made a hash of an attempted chest-back to Lloris, which could have been costly, and lost the ball inside his own half after the interval as well.
MF Eric Dier, 6 -- The 21-year-old could probably have done with being rested for this game and he started slowly, being beaten too easily by Richard Almeida on the halfway line when Qarabag won their penalty. He then managed to concede a corner from about 40 yards. But he looked more like his dominant usual self in the second half and the visitors consequently looked less dangerous.
MF Tom Carroll, 5 -- Looked rusty early on. Although he grew into the game and helped to keep Spurs ticking over with his quick passing game, Qarabag were able to play through the centre of Tottenham's midfield too easily at times, and he did not really impose himself on the game.
MF Andros Townsend, 7 -- Full of running down Spurs' right flank, providing width while also coming inside to good effect. He delivered the corner for Son's first goal and could easily have had two more assists after freeing both Alli and Lamela, who were unable to finish their chances in the first half. He tired in the second period before being replaced.
MF Dele Alli, 8 -- Showed excellent vision and some fine touches to link up with those around him in the No. 10 role while setting up Son's second goal and creating a good chance for Lamela when the Argentine hit the post shortly after half-time. The excitement around the 19-year-old grows with each game.
MF Erik Lamela, 6 -- A game of two halves. He was woeful in the first period, misplacing passes and failing to control the ball when clean through on goal just before the interval. But he was unlucky to hit the post just after the break, set up a chance for Son and then scored the late third goal with a cool finish.
FW Son Heung-Min, 8 -- Looked bright around the box before his goals, getting a shot off with each foot, and he was in the right place at the right time to score twice in the first half. The South Korea international worked hard without the ball too. After a rather uninspiring debut at Sunderland, this was quite an introduction to the White Hart Lane faithful.
Harry Kane, 7 -- The striker was unable to follow Son's lead and get on the scoresheet, but he set up Lamela's goal, winning the ball in Qarabag's half and releasing the Argentine.
Clinton Njie, 6 -- Came off the bench to make his debut on the left side and was unable to create anything meaningful in his brief first outing.
Harry Winks, 6 - Replaced Dier in central midfield when Spurs were protecting a 2-1 lead and wasn't overawed, helping the hosts to secure their victory and add another goal.
Ben is ESPN FC's Tottenham blogger. Follow on Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.