Thursday evening was without doubt a great night for British football with Tottenham, Swansea and Wigan all recording wins in the latest round of fixtures in the EUROPA League.
Swansea City 1 FC St Allen 0
Wayne Routledge secured back to back victories for Michael Laudrup’s Swansea side firing them straight to the top of Group A after a 1-0 win against Swiss side St Allen.
St Gallen came out all guns blazing, flying into tackles but at the same time playing some lovely football.
The Swiss side should have took the league, however Tremmel saved a poorly struck penalty from Goran Karanovic and Marco Mathys rolled a shot wide after nipping in behind the defence soon after.
Michu then had a strong penalty appeal for a strong tackle turned down before taking a boot to the head where blood was drawn but again no penalty.
That injury didn’t stop the Spaniard battling on right to the end and playing a key part in scraping the win for his team.
It was all level at the break but Swansea eventually broke the deadlock in the 54th minute when Wayne Routledge tapped in after Bony’s shot was well saved by Allen keep, Lopar, 1-0 Swansea.
Stephane Nater struck a post late on but Swansea held out for a second group win but will feel fortunate to have done so as St Gallen pushed them too their limited in what was in fact a tetchy affair at the Liberty Ground.
The Swans now find themselves three points clear of Valencia and St Allen going into their clash with bottom of the group, Kuban.
Anzhi 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2
Jermaine Defoe and summer signing Nacer Chadli scored within five minutes of each other in the first half to earn Tottenham an important three points away at Anzhi.
Lewis Holtby was given a chance to shine and quickly showed his worth slipping in Jermaine Defoe to blast home into the roof of the net, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance, 1-0 in the 34th minute.
Five minutes later it was two when Kyle Walker broke forward playing in Chadli to finish neatly into the bottom left corner with a swerving shot, 2-0 with 39 minutes on the clock.
Defoe had the chance to double his tally late on but wasn’t able to finish once he’d done the hard work and rounded the keeper however overall it was a tremendous result.
Spurs then held on in a place that is the definition of a difficult to go, Newcastle and Liverpool both failed to win their last season with the reds losing and the black and whites drawing.
Anzhi on the other hand are in real trouble having real trouble since their billionaire owner lost enthusiasm for the club, leaving the future of the club in real doubt.
Tottenham have now taken control of Group K after their second successive win and are now favourites to progress being four points clear already. They will now face Sheriff Tiraspol in their next fixture.
The one problem however today was their 30 million pound signing Erik Lamela, he had the worst average passing percentage of all the Spurs players and looked very poor in every aspect of his game before he was withdrawn.
Wigan Athletic 3 NK Maribor 1
A brace from on loan Nick Powell and a goal from FA Cup hero Ben Watson helped Wigan secure their first home victory in Europe over Slovenian champions NK Maribor.
Powell gave the FA Cup winners the lead when he headed in after a horrible mistake by keeper Jasmin Handanovic where he managed to slice a punch back towards his own goal, 1-0 to the latic’s and they were flying.
It was then time for their FA Cup hero Ben Watson to step up once again adding a second with a header from Jean Beausejour’s cross, 2-0 and the DW was rocking.
Maribor pulled one back after the interval through Tavares after a cut back to the edge of the box was smashed home past numerous defenders who were left static, Maribor then even began to put some pressure on the game.
It took a world class save from Scott Carson to secure the points when produced an acrobatic save out of the top draw to deny Tavares and Maribor from equalising.
Moments later Powell had his moment breaking through before sending the keeper the wrong was and finishing calmly before wheeling away in celebration,
So the final score was 3-1, so despite underperforming so far this season in the league, the Latics players showed their true class at the DW