LONDON — AS Monaco are officially the biggest party poopers around. The Ligue 1 outfit rolled into a packed out Wembley Stadium and beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Wednesday night as the Premier League side marked their return to the UEFA Champions League with a defeat in Group E.
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Spurs, playing in their first UCL game since 2011, started brightly but two first half goals from Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar knocked the stuffing out of them. Toby Alderweireld headed home right on half time to make it 2-1 but despite heavy pressure in the second half the likes of Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen came up short.
Mauricio Pochettino cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines as a club record home crowd of 85,011 — Spurs are playing their home games at Wembley due to renovation work at White Hart Lane — witnessed Spurs lose their Champions League opener.
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A sea of white shirts greeted Spurs on their arrival to Wembley and the roar was deafening after the Champions League anthem was belted out over the PA system at the stadium.
Monaco were forced to make a sub just three minutes into the game as Nabil Dirar seemed to catch his studs in the turf and was replaced by Lemar.
Son then had the first chance of the game as he was found free at the back post but his tame effort was cleared off the line by Andrea Raggi. Soon after Kane turned brilliantly on the right but Alli’s effort from his cutback was blocked.
In the 15th minute Monaco went ahead as Erik Lamela gave the ball away and Silva wriggled in from the right flank and drilled a low effort into the far corner. 1-0 to Monaco.
Spurs pressed hard for an equalizer but were knocked out of their stride by Monaco’s opener and just after the half hour mark it was 2-0 as Monaco scored with their opening two shots of the game. A cross from the left hit Spurs left back Ben Davies and bounced into the path of Lemar who lashed the ball home at the near post. 2-0 to Monaco.
Monaco almost went 3-0 up before the break but Kamil Glik’s flicked back header looped just wide but right on half time Spurs were back in it. Lamela’s in-swinging corner from the right was glanced home at the near post by Alderweireld and Wembley erupted. 2-1. Game on. Alli almost made it 2-2 in first half stoppage time but he couldn’t quite get on the end of a teasing cross from Lamela.
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Spurs started the second half like they finished the first with Alli pulling off a ridiculous nutmeg to feed Eriksen but his cross just evaded Kane at the back post. Moments later Alli volleyed on target from distance but Danijel Subasic made a fine save to tip the ball over the ball.
Kane then went clean through but waited for support which didn’t arrived and then had an effort blocked as he came inside. Spurs continued to build pressure and Monaco struggled to contain Kane, Eriksen and Lamela as Alli found gaps.
Monaco briefly threatened on the break but Spurs went for it in the final 20 minutes as Vincent Janssen came on for Lamela. Janssen squirmed free 10 minutes from time and set up Kane but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and hit his shot straight at the goalkeeper. That was as close as Spurs got to an equalizer on a disappointing night at Wembley.