Jose Mourinho couldn’t just let off his first Champion League match in charge of Tottenham as the Premier League side came from 2-0 down to secure a 4-2 win over the Olympiacos and book their place in the knockout phase, with Serge Aurier and Harry Kane seeing them in the final 17 minutes over the line.
Mourinho’s first European game and first home match at the Spurs helm began miserably but Dele Alli, Aurier and a Harry Kane brace saw them produce a blistering response and confirm a spot in the last 16 for last season’s beaten finalists.
Olympiacos stunned Spurs when Youssef El-Arabi and Ruben Semedo had two up to 19 minute visitors, only for a defensive error to hand Spurs a way back through Alli’s first two-year goal in the Champions League.
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After some quick thinking from a ball boy, Kane restored parity early in the second half, before Aurier blasted home to put Spurs ahead, their lead doubled as the captain in the 77th minute got his second.
During the early stages, spurs were caught off guard by the intent of Olympiacos – El-Arabi typified the attitude as he pressed forward and lashed a fine strike from 25 yards in the sixth minute into the bottom-left corner.
Soon after it was 2-0 to Olympiacos – Semedo tapping in Guilherme’s low delivery.
But Spurs were gifted a lifeline just before half-time, as Yassine Meriah haplessly missed Aurier’s tame cross and Alli was on hand to capitalise.
A quickly taken Aurier throw-in released Lucas Moura and he teed up Kane for an easy finish to wipe out Olympiacos’ lead four minutes into the second half, with Mourinho subsequently embracing the ball boy whose swift action allowed Spurs to catch the defence out of shape.
Victory looked assured for Spurs in the 73rd minute when Aurier hit a rasping half-volley into the left side of the net from close range.
And Kane wrapped the win up a few moments later, guiding home from Christian Eriksen’s excellent free-kick delivery.
With Bayern Munich also sailing to victory, it would have taken a significant result to delay Spurs’ passage to the next round. Luckily for them, Mourinho’s men produced a spirited fightback to seal their progression.
It is fair to say Eriksen has become a focus of frustration among Spurs fans for his form in recent times, but he played an absolutely vital role in this victory, even if none of the goals were his. The Dane replaced Eric Dier after 29 minutes and went on to be the team’s most creative player with three chances created, while he also laid on an assist for Kane’s second.
Until Meriah’s dreadful, inexcusable error, Olympiacos appeared to be more or less in control, with Spurs’ attacks not causing them too much bother. He allowed them a way back and that was all the encouragement the hosts needed.
Take these Key Opta Facts
– Kane became the fastest player to score 20 Champions League goals, reaching the tally in just 24 appearances and breaking the record held by Alessandro Del Piero since 1998 (26 appearances).
– This was the first time ever a team managed by Mourinho had come from two goals down to win in a Champions League game he had lost the previous 13 games he had been two or more goals behind in.
– Kane has scored 23 goals in 23 appearances for Tottenham and England this season.
– Alli ended a run of 16 Champions League games without a goal, scoring for the first time since November 2017 against Real Madrid. All four of Alli’s goals in the competition have come at home.
Up next, Mourinho’s Tottenham will face Bournemouth in their Premier League renaissance at home on Saturday, before travelling to Germany with Bayern Munich in the Champions League outing coming up on December 11. After domestic clashes with PAOK and Panaitolikos, Olympiacos ‘ Group B campaign concludes Red Star Belgrade at home.