Tottenham Hotspur will go into the last-32 of the Europa League as one of the seeded teams following a 2-0 victory over Antwerp at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Vinicius bagged the opener, following up a stunning Gareth Bale free-kick to tap home into an empty net. And Giovani Lo Celso grabbed the second to cap an excellent individual display and secure Spurs’ top spot in the group.
Both teams were already confirmed as the qualifiers from Group J prior to kick-off in north London, but the win was enough for Spurs to leapfrog the Belgian side into top spot.
Jose Mourinho made nine changes to the starting line-up from the win over Arsenal on Sunday, with only Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso remaining in the starting XI, and the rustiness showed, with the ‘Europa League’ members of the squad struggling to click in a first-half that saw a handful of chances but little in the way of quality football.
The second half started in similar fashion despite the introduction of the lively Steven Bergwijn, but Spurs did get the opener when a sensational free-kick by Gareth Bale was tipped onto the post and Vinicius tapped home.
Moments after the goal saw a host of changes by a clearly disgruntled Mourinho, with Bale, Vinicius and Harry Winks all making way for first-teamers Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Tanguy Ndombele. And the introduction of all that quality saw Spurs dominate the remainder of the game, camping themselves in the Antwerp half and creating a host of chances, one of which was classily tucked home by Lo Celso to make the game safe at 2-0.
The result means Spurs will avoid the seeded clubs in the last-32, a group of teams that includes the likes of Napoli, Manchester United and Arsenal.