Europa League: Mislav Orsic stuns Tottenham - Dove Bulletin - Online News Bulletin

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Europa League: Mislav Orsic stuns Tottenham

Mislav Orsic stuns Tottenham

Tottenham were knocked out of the Europa League as a sublime hat-trick from Mislav Orsic completed a remarkable second-leg turnaround for Dinamo Zagreb.

Leading 2-0 after a one-sided first encounter in London seven days earlier, Spurs - who made seven changes - paid the price for a desperately poor performance against the Croatian champions.

Orsic deservedly curled the hosts ahead on the night with a wonderful strike from the edge of the box and swept home Iyayi Atiemwen's cross to bring the tie level in Zagreb.

He added a superb third at the start of the second period of extra time, driving at a terrified Tottenham defence before firing another fine finish into Hugo Lloris' bottom corner.

Tottenham twice almost snatched salvation and progress at the end of both normal and extra time but Harry Kane was thwarted on each occasion by superb saves from Dinamo keeper Dominik Livakovic.

Spurs piled on the pressure in the closing stages but Dinamo held out to earn a fully merited place in Friday's quarter-final and semi-final draws.

Their emotional celebrations at the final whistle, as players raced around wildly and were embraced by scarcely believing coaching staff, were a stark contrast to the Spurs stars who sat on the pitch in despair.

"I think everyone is a hero tonight because we all breathed as one in an unforgettable match," said Orsic.

"We were gutted after the 2-0 defeat in London because we felt we had it in us to do better and we couldn't put a foot wrong tonight. It was a dream come true."
Son-shorn Spurs struggle in both boxes

Tottenham have frequently been accused of relying too much on Kane in recent years, particularly when they have struggled during his spells out injured. They now have to deal with the absence of the equally influential Son Heung-min, who has a hamstring injury.

Their collapse in Croatia mirrored Sunday's derby defeat by Arsenal when Spurs only really got going after the damage was already done. It would have been harsh on dynamic Dinamo had the visitors' late flurry denied them a historic triumph.

Had they produced the type of creativity that was seen in the closing stages in normal time, this embarrassment could have been avoided. It was telling that of the seven changes made by manager Jose Mourinho, five were substituted.

"If I forget the last minutes of extra time, where we did something to get a different result and go through, in the 90 minutes and first half of extra time there was one team that decided to leave everything on the pitch," Mourinho told BT Sport.

"They left to sweat, energy, blood. In the end, they left even tears of happiness. Very humble and committed. I have to praise them.

"On the other side, my team. They didn't look like they were playing an important match. If for any one of them it is not important, for me it is."

Replacements Gareth Bale and Giovani Lo Celso, the latter making his return after more than three months out injured, injected some life into Spurs' attacking play, and both saw low strikes well saved by the impressive Livakovic.

It was Kane, as usual, who carried the bulk of Tottenham's threat and he had great chances at the end of the first half, second half and extra time but Livakovic stayed big for the first, then pulled off a point-blank save from a header and scurried across his goal to thwart the England striker right at the death.

All of the blame should not fall at the feet of Spurs' forward players. Their backline was run ragged by the unheralded Orsic, whose first goal was sublime but was allowed a lot of space for the other two.

Mourinho had said the Europa League carried Spurs' best chance of Champions League qualification and he now faces a huge task to lift his deflated troops, sans Son, for a bid to reach the Premier League top four, of which they sit six points adrift.
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