Tottenham enjoyed total domination against Dinamo Tbilisi in the second-leg of their Europa League playoff, as a 3-0 win at White Hart Lane on Thursday added to an already healthy advantage and sealed Spurs' place in the group stage.
Two first-half strikes from Jermain Defoe ended all hope of a miraculous comeback from the Georgian visitors, before Lewis Holtby wrapped things up midway through the second half with a controlled effort from distance. The London club will now take its place in the group stage of the Europa League for the third consecutive season, as it looks to build on last year's quarterfinal appearance.
Andre Villas-Boas handed a first start of the season to Defoe up top as Sandro made his maiden appearance in a much-changed starting lineup since suffering a knee injury in January. The visitors, meanwhile, made three changes from the first leg, with Levan Khmaladze, Dorin Goga and Vouho coming in for Darko Glisic, Jaba Dvali and Xisco.
Tottenham was desperately struggling for inspiration early, but its quest to break the deadlock was not helped by some bizarre officiating at the half-hour mark. Defoe darted into the box but was penalized for handball despite replays showing the ball had in fact hit the outstretched arm of a defender.
But Defoe would have his moment before the half was out, as he latched onto a Holtby pass before shifting the ball away from Giorgi Gvelesiani and smashing home from the edge of the box with his left foot.
And with seconds remaining in the first half, Defoe repeated the trick to double his side's advantage, finishing from close range after Gylfi Sigurdsson had ventured into the box brilliantly.
With Sunday’s North London derby clash with Arsenal in the Premier League undoubtedly in mind, Villas-Boas elected to replace Andros Townsend with young striker Harry Kane at halftime.
The change had no effect on the hosts' control of the game, with Sigurdsson hitting the side netting from distance before Spurs also moved to protect Kyle Walker by replacing him with Ezekiel Fryers. Sigurdsson came even closer to getting the goal his performance deserved with an hour on the clock, but could only strike the underside of the bar with a driven effort from 18 yards out.
However, Holtby would find more luck than his teammate soon after, as he hit the same part of the woodwork with a right-footed drive, only for the ball to come down inside the net to put the home side 3-0 up.