Erik Lamela scored his first career hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur secured top spot in Europa League Group J with a 4-1 victory over a disappointing Monaco outfit at White Hart Lane this evening.
All three of the Argentine’s goals came in the first half as Spurs absolutely bossed proceedings, and Tom Carroll added a stylish fourth in the latter stages to open his account for his boyhood club.
Stephan El Shaarawy had earlier bagged a consolation which could not save Monaco’s place in the competition as Anderlecht join Spurs in the last 32 courtesy of their 2-1 win over Qarabag.
With his side already guaranteed qualification, Mauricio Pochettino chose to rotate and gave a first start to teenager Joshua Onomah as well as Kieran Trippier, Kevin Wimmer and Clinton N’Jie.
Lamela was one of only four players retained from the side which started Saturday’s 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion, kicked off a terrific night for Tottenham with a classy second-minute opener.
N’Jie helped the hosts win the ball back with some high pressing and released the overlapping Ben Davies to expertly pick out the 23-year-old for a first-time finish into the bottom corner.
SEE MORE: Erik Lamela goal video: Classy first-time finish gives Spurs dream start in Europe
A gaffe from Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic gifted Lamela his first brace in Tottenham colours. The winger dribbled to the edge of the box and his tame shot squirmed under Subasic on 15 minutes.
SEE MORE: Erik Lamela goal video v Monaco: Goalkeeping gaffe gifts Argentine second of night
Spurs were moving the ball quickly on a rain-soaked surface and creating plenty of openings. Carroll shot wide from a layoff from Son Heung-Min, who later picked the wrong pass on a promising break.
The South Korean did not make the same mistake again when N’Jie pinched the ball in the Monaco half and passed inside for Son to release Lamela for his treble clincher with his weaker right foot.
A £25.7m signing from Roma in 2013 – fee reported by BBC Sport – Lamela is finally starting to live up to his club-record price tag. He now has seven goals for the season – five in this competition.
The only negatives for Pochettino was how vulnerable his side looked when defending set pieces and a first-half knock to Eric Dier, compensated by the return of Nabil Bentaleb after a three-month layoff.
Onomah should have marked his full Tottenham debut with a goal when his left-footed stab from close range was blocked by Subasic on 57 minutes, but it was Monaco who were next on the scoresheet.
Kylian Mbappe’s clever feet on the Monaco left created some room for him to square for El Shaarawy, who struck past Hugo Lloris from 25 yards out with the aid of a slight deflection off Wimmer.
Lamela was given a standing ovation by the home fans as he was withdrawn to allow Nacer Chadli to also make his comeback from six weeks out with injury, but Tottenham retained their attacking threat.
Carroll would not have been high on the list of potential scorers, but took his goal beautifully as he glided past Elderson Echiejile and finished through the legs of Subasic from a tight angle.
Tottenham join Premier League counterparts Liverpool and Manchester United in Monday’s draw for the knockout stages. On the basis of this performance, Pochettino’s men could be serious contenders.
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