New Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou celebrated his home debut with a 2-0 victory over Manchester United on Saturday, courtesy of Bab Matar Sarr’s first Premier League goal and an own goal by Lisandro Martinez.
Senegalese Sarr volleyed a deflected cross in the 49th minute to fire high into the net past Andre Onana, then Martinez sealed his team’s fate by blocking Ben Davies’s perfect effort into his own goal in the 83rd minute.
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Both sides were denied woodwork in a free-flowing contest and United’s Bruno Fernandes missed a glorious chance, but Postecoglou’s Tottenham deserved the three points for a lively second-half display.
Despite deflating the talisman and Harry Kane being Bayern’s top scorer on the eve of the new season, Tottenham started the campaign on a positive note with four points from their first two matches. United have three points.
“I’d prefer if more of the 39 shots came from us,” Postecoglou said. “It’s a result of the way we play and where we are as a group at the moment.”
“We want to entertain for sure but as far as success is concerned. The atmosphere was great today. The energy the fans created was fantastic and really helped us.”
A day after Kane opened his Bundesliga account for Bayern, his old club showed there was life after the player who scored 280 goals in 435 games without winning a cup.
Spurs scored four goals in their first two matches as defenders scored in the 2-2 draw at Brentford and Saturday’s goals again came from unexpected sources.
However, neither fans nor former Australian Celtic boss Postecoglou will be concerned about the source of the goals in Kane’s absence, with Tottenham showing the kind of high tempo they have been lacking in the past few seasons.
The hosts took a while to catch up and could have been punished early on as Anthony smashed the ball into the goal for the visitors and Marcus Rashford was denied by Tottenham goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario, who made several fine saves.
Spurs evolved into the game, Onana denied both Dejan Kulusevski and Sarr before Spurs hit the net twice within seconds, first when Pedro Porro’s ball hit the crossbar, then Sarr’s cross from Luke Shaw rebounded and hit the post.
Fernandez somehow nodded as both teams had chances, and it was a surprise that the match came to a goalless end of the first half.
Spurs took the lead shortly after the break when Kulusevski played down the right, a low cross deflected off Martinez and Sarr arrived to bury the chance.
Anthony hit the post almost immediately for Manchester United, but the visitors had run out of momentum and ideas. The Tottenham fans celebrated when the Welshman deflected Ivan Perisic’s low pass to Davies but the ball deflected off Martinez and into the United net.
United were denied a lifeline in injury time as Vicario made a powerful save to clear Raphael Varane’s header, after Casemiro had also denied a similar save earlier.
“We said in the first half to focus but we didn’t,” United manager Erik ten Hag told reporters. “We conceded a goal and could have rebounded but we didn’t.”
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