Tottenham Hotspur 4 Anzhi Makhachkala 1 match report: Roberto Soldado hat-trick is icing on cake for sublime Spurs

Spaniard leads the way as Premier League side produce one of their best attacking displays of the season

white hart lane

Andre Villas-Boas needed a performance more than a result, but he got both, as Tottenham Hotspur finished their Europa League group stage campaign with a rousing 4-1 win over Anzhi Makhachkala, built around Roberto Soldado's first Spurs hat-trick.

Tottenham had already won Group K  but this match was never going to be meaningless. There are still - four months into the season - too many questions about Spurs' best system and personnel, and every competitive match can provide crucial clues.

So while Villas-Boas made seven changes to his team, it was no second string. He brought in players who should, in time, be regulars, in Soldado and Erik Lamela, as well as returning left-back Danny Rose, and was exceptionally well rewarded.

Soldado was excellent throughout, scoring twice early in the first half before completing his hat-trick with a penalty, his fourth for the club. When he went off for Shaquile Coulthirst he received a standing ovation and Villas-Boas was delighted for his Spanish striker.

“I'm extremely happy for him,” Villas-Boas said. “He's been waiting for a moment like this and it finally happened tonight with a hat-trick. It will be a major boost for a player who has been very professional and deserves respect.”

“As a striker, you have to persist and persist; finishing off the situations you are given and that final touch hasn't been there for him recently. It will be a great boost of confidence for him.”

Both of Soldado's first two goals, in a first-half in which Spurs tore into Anzhi, owed to sharp instinctive moment and swift reactions. The first came after just five minutes. To accommodate Lamela, Andros Townsend moved onto the left, and he won a free-kick there from Abdul Razak. Sigurdsson whipped it in, and even with the pace on the ball, Soldado flicked it with the top of his head off the inside of the far post and in.

The next goal - which will have pleased Villas-Boas even more - soon followed. Lamela drifted in from the right and played a delightful reverse pass to Soldado, who smacked it into the far bottom corner.

Townsend almost added a third, his chip drifting just wide of the goal, although it was Anzhi who scored before the break, as Ewerthon bundled in a corner at the far post.

Spurs, though, began the second-half in precisely the right way and were soon 3-1 up after some individual genius. Townsend chipped through to Holtby, running into the box. With the first touch of his left boot he cushioned the ball into the air, before turning his body and - with the ball still in the air - lifting it with the outside of that foot over the goalkeeper.

Ryan Fredericks replaced the returning Danny Rose, and Christian Eriksen came on - Spurs had five attacking midfielders for the last half hour - and they continued to push for goals. Soldado nearly headed in a Fredericks cross, before the pair combined even more successfully; the young right-back bursting forward and winning the penalty which Soldado converted, his fourth Spurs spot-kick.

Lamela nearly scored twice, first with a header, then a low shot, Holtby had a 30-yard shot palmed wide as Spurs finished the game with the same intensity with which they began it. “What pleased me most,” said Villas-Boas, “was the professionalism and dedication of the players; to give something back to a good house and the fans we had tonight.”

Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1): Friedel; Naughton, Capoue, Fryers, Rose (Fredericks, 45); Dembele (Eriksen, 64), Holtby; Lamela, Sigurdsson, Townsend; Soldado (Coulthirst, 78).

Anzhi Makhachkala (4-2-3-1): Pomazan; Agalarov (Angbwa, 80), Ewerton, Epureanu, Grigalava; Jucieli, Razak (Gatagov, 85; Sobolev, Maksimov, Burmistrov; Serderov.

Referee S Johannesson (Swe).

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments