Even Hugo Lloris at his very best was not quite good enough to win this game for Tottenham, although he came close. His manager, Mauricio Pochettino, had kept Lloris and changed the rest of the side who drew at Arsenal on Saturday, and they were just minutes away from beating an excellent Besiktas.
Lloris was stationary and powerless for Demba Ba’s 89th-minute penalty, for the only time of the game. Before then he had produced save after excellent save, two from Ba and two from Olcay Sahan, to keep Spurs in the match. The rest of the team looked overwhelmed for much of the game by Besiktas’s sharpness and intensity.
The Turks, managed by the Croatian former Everton and West Ham defender Slaven Bilic, brought their strongest team, unlike Tottenham – and it showed in the opening exchanges.
The visitors were ferocious in their pressing and harrying and Spurs could barely get a foot on the ball. Sahan should have put them ahead in the second minute after Federico Fazio slipped at the wrong time, while Lloris had to tip Ba’s shot over.
Spurs looked lost and stunned but Besiktas failed to take advantage, Gokhan Tore the next to shoot off target after cutting inside.
Besiktas’s speed eventually slowed and Spurs finally caught their breath, relieved to find they were still in the game. Nevertheless, it was still a surprise when, entirely from nowhere, they took the lead. Nabil Bentaleb passed to Harry Kane, who drove forward, away from Jose Sosa. With no better option, Kane tried his luck from 20 yards and the shot flew into the far bottom corner.
The game changed and suddenly Kane was the most dangerous player on the pitch. He headed Ben Davies’ cross just over before latching on to Andros Townsend’s pass and hitting that over as well. A 1-0 lead was still a nice enough surprise.
Tottenham continued to push in the second half and found space easier to come by. Townsend cut inside, as he does, and shot just over the bar while Roberto Soldado led a break down the middle and rolled the ball left, only for Bentaleb to shoot just wide.
Lloris also had to produce an excellent save to tip over from Sahan, who later directed an overhead kick inches wide.
Lloris’s next trick came soon after, when Ba controlled a diagonal ball and had a simple finish, only for the Frenchman to dart off his line and palm the ball over the bar.
But he could not prevent Vlad Chiriches’ silly handball, having taken an embarrassing air shot while chasing Mustafa Pektemek, and when Ba rolled the penalty into the corner, even Lloris could not stop it.
Man of the match Lloris.
Match rating 7/10.
Referee M Gräfe (Germany).
Attendance 32,000.Reuse content