Harry Kane and Son Heung-min hit doubles as Tottenham thrash Red Star

David Hytner at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 22 October 2019

For Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham, this was more like it. After the trauma of the 7-2 humiliation in their previous Champions League tie here against Bayern Munich and how it had affected them subsequently in the loss at Brighton and the home draw with Watford, they needed a tonic, something to steady the nerves and trample the prospect of an escalating crisis.

They got it on a night when Son Heung-min ran riot, scoring twice and striking fear in the hearts of the Red Star defenders whenever he touched the ball, and Harry Kane weighed in with two more of his own. Érik Lamela got the other goal and the truth was that Spurs ought to have reached double figures. Their dominance was total and they certainly had the chances.

Red Star were the most obliging of visitors and their sleepy non-performance was an embarrassment to the manager, Vladan Milojevic, who brooded with menace in his technical area.

There were so many low points but the nadir surely came just before the interval when the captain Marko Marin – the one-time Chelsea midfielder – tried to trick past Tanguy Ndombele.

Marin got his feet into a terrible tangle and, following an inadvertent touch, he merely presented the ball to Ndombele, who strode away and played in Son.

Spurs’s man of the match looked to have taken a slightly heavy first touch but it did not matter because the Red Star goalkeeper, Milan Borjan, was frozen to the spot. Son had all the time he wanted to steer in his shot for 3-0.

It was Son who fired the feelgood factor, most overtly after his substitution on 68 minutes in front of the South Stand. He took his time walking off around the perimeter while the action continued, even shaking hands with some of the Spurs fans as he went.

The procession meant that Spurs moved to four points in Champions League Group B and vaulted over Red Star, who they visit in two weeks’ time.

The Serbians are a different team on home soil but, on this evidence, it would be ridiculous to suggest that Pochettino’s team could lose in Belgrade, even if they have veered away from the sublime rather too regularly this season. Spurs can see a path to the last 16.

Pochettino wanted a return to defensive solidity and he got it with the clean sheet while the result was not in doubt from the moment that Kane rose to flick home Lamela’s ninth-minute corner.

The manager had prioritised pace and energy in his selection, with the three-man line behind Kane particularly full of those virtues.

Son stood out. In the final sprinting drill of the warm-up, the forward had left his teammates for dead, finishing yards in front of them, and then tearing straight off down the tunnel. He was up for this one and, from the first whistle, it was plain that his speed and non-stop movement would be problematic for Red Star.

Son might have scored in the fifth minute, after he laid waste to a couple of dark blue shirts, skating away from them as if they were not there, only to shoot weakly at Borjan.

When he scored in the 16th minute, it was no surprise and Spurs could savour the feeling of control. Once again, Lamela was the provider but this time, the assist was from open play and it was a beauty.

Harry Kane’s celebrates after scoring Tottenham’s fifth goal
Harry Kane’s celebrates after scoring Tottenham’s fifth goal. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Taking a pass from Serge Aurier on the right, Lamela checked, spun and hooked across with his left foot, inviting Son to attack it at the far post. Son did precisely that, reaching the ball on the bounce and directing it high into the net.

Red Star were particularly awful in the opening quarter. They simply did not turn up and Spurs looked as if they could score with every attack.

Kane had slalomed through on 12 minutes only to lack power in his finish and, after Son’s goal for 2-0, Ndombele worked Borjan with a curler and Lamela did likewise with a sidefooted effort from Ben Davies’s cross.

Red Star stabilised a little in the second part of the first half and the voices of their supporters could be heard, which was a surprise as they were supposed to have been excluded from the stadium as part of a penalty for racist behaviour at HJK Helsinki. How did they get in?

According to Spurs, it was by “illegally” obtaining individual tickets on level 5 and congregating in a section behind one of the goals.

“Stewards and police contained the group as it was too large a number to eject,” a club spokesman said. An investigation is to follow.

The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email.

Spurs pressed on with Son’s second after Marin’s aberration and the only question after the interval came to concern how greatly Spurs would embellish the scoreline.

It is no exaggeration to say that Lamela ought to have scored four times in the opening 15 minutes of the second period – which was a damning indictment on Red Star’s efforts or the lack of them.

Lamela found the net when he fizzed a shot past Borjan from Aurier’s cross after a trademark spin but there was also a stab over the crossbar, a horrible drag wide and a botched one-on-one.

The chances continued to come, with Son and Kane going close before the latter virtually passed the ball into the far corner to complete the rout.

Latest football headlines

Latest Football News