Tottenham Hotspur exposed the weaknesses in Anzhi Makhachkala’s star-shorn squad, winning 2-0 in Moscow to maintain their perfect start in the second round of Europa League group-stage matches on Thursday.
Jermain Defoe and Nacer Chadli scored first-half goals for the visitors who cruised through the Group K clash against the Russian side whose once-impressive lineup has been depleted by a recent clearout.
Sergio Floccari inspired a stunning late fightback for SS Lazio to draw 3-3 against Trabzonspor as Eintracht Frankfurt, Rubin Kazan, Sevilla and ACF Fiorentina joined Racing Genk, Swansea City, Ludogorets and Salzburg in getting two wins from two games in their respective groups.
Valencia shrugged off the scars of their opening defeat by Swansea to secure three vital points in Russia with a 2-0 win at Kuban Krasnodar and Olympique Lyonnais were held to a 1-1 home draw by Portuguese side Vitoria of Guimaraes.
PSV Eindhoven, who also suffered a surprise loss in their first match, recovered with a 2-0 win over Ukrainian side Chernomorets Odessa and stoppage-time goals rescued draws for Greece’s PAOK and Rapid Vienna.
Tottenham and Anzhi have moved in different directions in recent months.
The Premier League side used the money they received from the world-record transfer of Gareth Bale to reinforce their squad, while their Russian opponents have suffered a more painful transition.
They put their entire first-team squad up for sale after their billionaire owner cut the club’s budget, triggering an exodus of expensively acquired players and a rapid descent to the foot of the Russian league table.
Among those who have fled the Dagestan-based side are Samuel Eto’o, who moved to Chelsea, Willian, who flirted with a move to Spurs before also heading to Stamford Bridge, and Yuri Zhirkov, who joined Dynamo Moscow.
The biggest name left at the club is Lacina Traore, but the Ivory Coast striker was only fit enough for a place on the bench and his presence was missed as the visitors quickly got on top.
The first goal arrived on 34 minutes thanks to sharp movement and a powerful finish from Defoe who found space inside the area and fired home a Lewis Holtby pass from 12m for his third goal in two group games.
He is now just one short of Martin Chivers’ Tottenham European scoring record of 22 goals.
Chadli, one of Tottenham’s numerous close-season arrivals, added the second six minutes later when he guided a cross from Kyle Walker precisely into the corner.
“Another great goal [from Defoe], great finish,” Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas told reporters. “He is doing extremely well whenever he’s given the opportunity. He is very professional and has a great attitude, and is now just one off Martin Chivers. So, a great achievement from him.”
“The conditions were difficult, but we had a great first half, where we created a lot, kept the ball well and deserved the lead,” Villas-Boas said.
“A win is what we wanted, and it gives us the opportunity in the next games against Sheriff to ensure qualification. That is extremely important for us,” the Portuguese said.
Lazio striker Floccari made an emphatic impact in their Group J match in Trabzonspor, coming off the bench in the second half with his side trailing 3-1 and scoring two goals in as many minutes late in the game to grab a point for the Italians.