Marcus Edwards stars as Sporting condemn clunky Tottenham to first defeat of season
Spurs concede two late goals scored by subs Paulinho and Arthur Gomes
Former Spurs academy graduate Edwards impresses in skilful display
No goal again for Son Heung-min as Spurs' performances catch up with them
Two stoppage-time goals condemned Tottenham Hotspur to their first defeat of the season after the club’s former player Marcus Edwards had almost produced his Lionel Messi moment six years after being compared to the Argentine.
Sporting Lisbon substitutes Paulinho and Arthur Gomes netted in time added on to infuriate Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte, who thought his team had done enough for a Champions League point to add to the three his team had secured against Marseille a week earlier.
Gomes replaced Edwards before scoring a brilliant goal after nutmegging Emerson Royal and yet the Englishman’s impact and near-miss was just as memorable as Sporting’s two late goals.
Conte will not look particularly fondly on the night as Spurs, despite not being at their best, not only shot themselves in the foot at the death but also squandered good chances of their own.
“The Champions League level is very high,” said Conte. “To play in the competition, you have to reduce the mistakes because at the end you can pay and we paid, we paid a lot. Now, instead of a draw, we are talking about a loss against a team used to playing in this competition. It’s a pity.
“All of the players know the level is an important level and to play in this competition you have to continue to improve yourself. I think a draw would have been more fair than a defeat, but Sporting were good to take their moment to win the game.”
It was Mauricio Pochettino who slightly clumsily compared Edwards to Messi, but in Lisbon on Tuesday night the forward’s former club finally saw exactly what his old manager was talking about.
All that was missing was the perfect finish into the net after Edwards produced his Messi moment right on half-time that, even though it did not result in a goal, will live in the memories of those who were there - including Eric Dier and Ben Davies who were both left on their backsides.
The footwork may have been pure Messi and yet there was also more than a whiff of Maradona in Mexico, in the run that almost ended with what would have surely been the Champions League goal of the season.
“You cannot compare and it would not be fair,” said Sporting coach Ruben Amorim. “He does have these characteristics and he was very confident going into the game. He has the talent and, as I said, he can make it to the English national team.”
That is sensational, Marcus Edwards! 🤩
A move that had everything but the finish.
What a goal this would have been! #UCL pic.twitter.com/uPMnQ1a5pq
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 13, 2022
Having picked the ball up around 40 yards from goal, Edwards twice rounded Dier, leaving the Tottenham defender on the floor, before neatly side-stepping Davies and playing a perfect one-two with Francisco Trincao. The 23-year-old still had to swerve past Ivan Perisic to create space for a close-range shot that Hugo Lloris brilliantly saved.
Edwards, playing as a false nine for the Portuguese team, was Sporting’s most dangerous player for much of the evening despite the fact the way the home side set up meant he did not see the ball for long periods.
It was in the seventh minute that Edwards played a wonderfully weighted pass through to Pedro Goncalves, who forced Lloris to make a good save down low to his left.
While it was an Englishman who evoked memories of two Argentine legends for the Portuguese team, it was Tottenham’s Brazilians, Richarlison and Royal, who went closest for the visitors.
Richarlison, who had a first-half goal ruled out for offside, rose well to meet a Perisic cross, but headed at Antonio Adan when he perhaps should have scored. Royal could have done better when a long throw-in from Perisic bounced in front of him six yards out, but the wing-back could not turn the ball into the net.
Spurs started the second half much faster than they had finished the first, with Emerson twice forcing saves from Adan five minutes after the restart. The Sporting goalkeeper first stopped his header at the back post and then got in the way of a shot after Harry Kane had picked out Emerson with a quickly-taken free-kick.
Sporting, with so much imagination and creativity in the forward areas, remained a threat on the break and it was from an Edwards pass that Goncalves curled a low shot that Lloris had to save well.
Having stuck with Heung-Min Son, despite delivering a warning that nobody was undroppable, Conte replaced the South Korean with Dejan Kulusevski with just under 20 minutes remaining.
Son, who won the Golden Boot with 23 goals last season, is yet to score in eight games during this campaign and the way he trudged off suggested he knows only too well that he has not been at his brilliant best.
Richarlison had certainly been far more dangerous than Son in Portugal and the summer signing went close for the third time in the game with a diving header that he angled narrowly wide.
Lloris perhaps saved his best stop until last to keep out Pedro Porro’s shot, but from the resulting corner substitute Paulinho got in front of Kane and above Royal to head his stoppage-time goal. Gomes quickly added a brilliant second to take the roof off the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Sporting 2 Tottenham 0: As it happened. . .
FT: Sporting 2 Tottenham 0
Spurs' performances have lagged behind their results so far this season, and it caught up with them tonight. No lack of endeavour, but things never quite clicked for them. Sporting delivered an outstanding team display: keeping the ball well, and hunting it down when Spurs' danger men had it. Sporting top of the group.
GOOOOAAAALLL! That is the end of that
Brazilian Arthur Gomes has just come on off the bench, and makes an instant impact. Receives the ball close to the left touchline, drives beyond Romero and then slips it through Royal's legs, before finishing cooly beyond Lloris.
Just three minutes of added time for Spurs to retrieve this
Around 90 seconds of that has been celebrations and another couple of Sporting subs. So we could be looking at close to five minutes on the clock.
GOOOOAAALLL! Sporting have surely won it
The delivery from the corner was flat and menacing. It gets past Tottenham's screen at the near post, and glanced off the head of substitute Paulinho into the far corner. Nobody likes conceding from a set-piece, but that type of routine is very hard to stop.
Nuno Santos defending well on the cover again. The Sporting left wing-back has enjoyed an impressive night, he actually looks like the kind of player Conte would like.
Sporting bring a superb save out of Lloris! Porro receives the ball on the right but ducks inside to his weaker left foot, and sends a shot curling towards the far corner that Lloris plucks away. Sporting corner.
Spurs do well to sustain an attack and slip Kulusevski in down the left. His pull-back towards the penalty spot looked really dangerous but Nuno Santos came across and did brilliantly to intercept. Then Lloris is forced to concede a throw deep in Tottenham's half after a long ball forward.
Hojbjerg with a loose pass, and he tries to atone by hacking down Ugarte at the expense of a booking. This is a chance for Sporting to swing the ball into the Spurs penalty area. Lloris does very well to come off his line and catch cleanly, taking the pressure off his defenders.
Porro with a burst down the right for the home team, and he wins a corner. Skips through for Nuno Santos but his half-volleyed snap shot it blocked. Edwards then overhits a cross out for a goal kick.
Sporting slow the game down well by keeping the ball. Edwards gets a cheer as he receives the ball but Porro's cross is straight into the arms of Lloris. Lovely feet from Nuno Santos to beat Emerson, who drags him back and is booked for the foul near halfway.
Kulusevski's direct dribbling causing Sporting stress again, but Emerson is then flagged offside in the penalty area before going down looking for a foul. Tight decision, but he was offside. Can either side find a winner? You'd have to say a draw would be a fair enough outcome for both.
Kulusevski's fresh legs causing havoc down the right, nicking the ball away from Reis who comes sliding in and cleans him out. Yellow card for the Sporting defender. Paulinho, not that one Spurs fans, is on for Sporting as a sub.
Perisic's delivery with his right foot was on the money but Sporting head clear, before Richarlison gets across the near post but was too far over to direct the header on target.
Trincao carrying the ball beyond halfway again and wins a foul from Hojbjerg. Perisic with another switch of play, trying to involve Emerson and Kulusevski, but the wing-back scoops in a terrible cross straight into the arms of Adan.
That was a delicious delivery from Perisic with his left foot, right across the six-yard box, but it evades Kane's studs by the narrowest of margins. That kind of delivery is why Spurs signed Perisic this summer. Moments later, Son is replaced by Kulusevski. No goal for Son again.
Edwards unsettles Davies with a shoulder-to-shoulder, through Spurs appeal vociferously for a foul, and drives into the box. His cut back is turned behind for a corner. The second ball drops for Morita at the edge of the box but his sweetly-struck volley is blocked by Richarlison.
Swift break from Sporting, with Goncalves running towards the box and shooting straight at Lloris from 25 yards. Kane has managed to get himself turned a couple of times in the first half, but his weight of pass has not been right. Only a matter of time before Kulusevski is introduced, surely?
Sporting have found their patterns on the ball again, you can see they work on it every day. Moving the ball very deliberately at the back, drawing Spurs out. Will they carve out another chance as good as Edwards' in the first half? Spurs still frustrated.
Spurs do well to switch the play from left to right to find Emerson as the free man, but his weight of pass on the run badly let him down. Not long after Bentancur was shown a yellow, Sporting's Morita gets the same treatment from tripping up Son after a misplaced pass.
Sporting's counter-pressing has been good tonight, crowding around the ball when they lose it in the Spurs half. That comes with a degree of risk, but it is one they have managed so far. Bentancur is booked for a heavy challenge on Goncalves as he ran clear into space. Had to make the foul.
Richarlison carrying the fight to Sporting again, twisting and turning into the penalty area, but he struggled to wrap his foot around an attempt with his weaker foot. Then Spurs win another corner, starting to crank up the pressure now. Playing better since the restart.
Better from Tottenham, starting to find space behind the Sporting defence. Kane could have tried to cross for Son with his left foot, but took the shot on. It was always curling away from goal and Adan palmed clear.
Then Perisic attacks Emerson's cross at the back post but Richarlison rather got it his way when jumping for the header.
Tigerish defending from Sporting not to give Son the chance to turn and shoot on the edge of the area. Still not quite happening for the South Korean. Just like the start of the first half, Spurs are spending the game in the Sporting half but no goal to show for it as yet.
Kane scoops out a cross with his weaker left peg, and Emerson came crashing in at the back post with a header into the turf. Adan gets a palm to it, but in truth heading it into the ground took the power out of it.
Then another run forward from Emerson from a short free-kick is found by Kane, but his shot on the bounce was straight at Adan. Corner Spurs, but well defended.
Edwards has had joy dropping into pockets between Tottenham's three centre-halves and the two midfielders. Davies or Romero really needs to push in with him, but neither wants to get too tight and be left on their backside by his trickery.
We're back under way!
Sporting kick off in the second half.
That Edwards nearly moment
That is sensational, Marcus Edwards! 🤩
A move that had everything but the finish.
What a goal this would have been! #UCL pic.twitter.com/uPMnQ1a5pq
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 13, 2022
Matt Law's view on Marcus Edwards:
Marcus Edwards has been brilliant in that first-half. Maybe Ruben Amorim is right and he can play his way into the England squad in the not too distant future. Magic feet.
HT: Sporting 0 Tottenham 0
Edwards has been very impressive against his former club and went closest to scoring. Spurs started with plenty of energy but struggled to impose themselves as the half progressed. There is space behind the Sporting defence though, and Spurs might only need to time things right once to win this.
That was almost goal of the season material from Edwards! He danced through the Tottenham midfield, with Dier bouncing off him to the turf, then away from Bentancur, before playing a one-two at the edge of the box.
He only had Lloris to beat but his toe-poke squeezed under the goalkeeper but the wrong side of the post. Pochettino was blamed for likening him to Messi as a youngster at Spurs, but that was worthy of the comparison. Highlight of the half.
Just the two minutes of added time to play. Dier tries to sweep a long ball across the box which flies out for a goal kick.
Sporting's high line bears fruit again as Richarlison is once again flagged for offside before rounding Adan and finding the corner. Richarlison is definitely carrying a threat, Spurs just need to match up the timing of run and pass a little better.
Sporting, much like the Portugal national team down the years, look a good team in need of a proper centre-forward. Spurs have lost their way as the half has progressed, after a decent start. But no harm done with the game still goalless.
Edwards cuts inside from the right and takes on a silly shot from distance which he gets horribly wrong. Dier then finds Richarlison's diagonal run with a fine piece of distribution from the back, but the flag goes up for offside again. Bentancur wins possession well in midfield but the green and white shirts funnel back to defend their penalty area.
Trincao, who was on loan at Wolves last season, showing some cute touches in midfield to get away from Hojbjerg's attention. A worry for Spurs here with Romero down on the turf and stretching his calves out. Back on his feet now, looks fit to continue for the time being.
Adan does well to get a solid punch on Son's in-swinging corner from the left. Lots of nice approach play from both sides so far, but neither quite leaving their mark in the penalty area.
That was more like from Spurs with Kane nudging a through ball into Richarlison's path, but the flag went up for offside, rightly.
Emerson did really well to dig a low cross out that bobbled across the danger zone. A cross from one of the wing-backs looks Tottenham's most likely supply line at the moment, not much creativity from central positions.
Mistake in the Sporting backline as Reis mis-cues his header and lets Richarlison sneak in, but his shot from the edge of the box is blocked.
Moments later, the Brazilian climbs at the back post to meet Perisic's cross but he does not get enough purchase on the header which is saved.
Sporting respond, starting their attacking close to their own goal-line with goalkeeper Adan, which creates space to run into. Trincao shot wide from the edge of the D when he had Edwards to his right.
Goncalves runs in behind the Tottenha defence but the chipped through ball towards him was too heavy. Richarlison with a nice flick around the corner but the moves break down. Silky skill from Edwards to take the ball and turn on the halfway line, but then he goes down too easily.
Sporting keeping it well now, after an early burst of pressing Spurs are starting to drop into their defensive shell as we saw against Marseille. The home team creeping up the pitch might not be the worst sight for Conte though, given how dangerous Kane, Richarlison and Son can be in open space.
Sporting starting to grow in confidence on the ball, Nuno Santos has found some space to get forward from left wing-back. Edwards is dropping in and linking play as an extra man in a false nine role. The home crowd sound encouraged by the last few minutes.
Sporting with a sustained attack but Dier defends his near post well on the cross from the left, before Emerson Royal wins a foul. Slightly fortunate as he was dallying on the ball. Spurs look for Perisic over the top but Inacio came across to defend on the cover. Spurs seeing lots of the ball without making Adan work.
Apart from that one breakaway, Sporting have been pushed back into their own half since the first whistle. Spurs fans will be pleased to see their team playing with more positive intent. Sporting win a couple of fouls in midfield to stem the tide, but only temporarily. Spurs back on the ball and in control.
Sporting are defending in a back five, which has the virtue of matching up Tottenham's usual attacking shape. Both Cristian Romero and Ben Davies pushing into advanced areas early on, but the flag goes up for offside against Davies.
Sporting trying to build play across their backline, but they are struggling to progress beyond the halfway line.
That is before Marcus Edwards is sent clear in space, running at Dier, before looking for Goncalves to his left. It was a clever attempt with no backlift with the inside of his left foot, and Lloris had to tip it around the post. Goncalves was just trying to pass it into the bottom corner. Better from the home team and a reminder they carry a threat.
From our man in Lisbon Matt Law:
Not a perfectly observed minute's silence ahead of kick-off in Lisbon but, in fairness, home and away fans both seemed a little taken by surprise by the announcement which was in Portuguese.
Bentancur with a lovely disguised pass through the lines for Richarlison but he cannot find the poked through ball for Son. Then Spurs execute their press well and Sporting cough the ball up in their own penalty area. Set back for Hojbjerg to blast one but his strike is blocked.
Hojbjerg with a loose ball in his own half from kick off, but Spurs get away with it and then enjoy some time in the opposition half. Long throw into the box from Perisic is dealt with, before Son's cross is blocked behind for a corner.
Spurs try to work a short one, with Bentancur finding Hojbjerg on the left flank, and they win another corner. A good bit of territory from Conte's team early doors. Sporting scramble it clear.
Spurs in their blue changed strip get us started.
A minute's silence for the late Queen
A few shouts, and then counter-shouts asking them to quieten down, among the home fans.
The players are out
Some whistling of the Champions League anthem from the home fans. Sporting are a front-footed, possession-based side which could leave Spurs plenty of space.
Son badly needs a goal...will it come tonight?
Conte on his team selection
I try in every game to make the best decision and go game by game.
Richarlison played very well against Marseille and also against Fulham, I think it was right to pick him in the starting XI because he deserved to play from the start.
You don't have many games to get points so every match is important. Playing against a team from Portugal, especially away, is never easy.
A good omen for Spurs
Sporting are winless in all six of their Champions League matches against English sides, drawing one and losing five against Man Utd (L2), Chelsea (L2) and Man City (D1 L1).
Eric Dier on the potential of Marcus Edwards:
Well, it depends on him. I think he is a very talented player, he is very strong and yes it would be great if he could make it to the national team. I mean if he keeps evolving like that, I think he could get to the national team.
Richarlison the man of the moment
He scored twice against Marseille last week and he is keeping Kulusevski on the bench. There has even been some discussion among Spurs fans about whether Son should be in their first-choice front three, which is testament to how quickly Richarlison has settled.
Sporting team news: Edwards starts against former club
Sporting XI: Adan, Inacio, Coates, Matheus Reis, Porro, Morita, Ugarte, Nuno Santos, Trincao, Edwards, Goncalves
Subs: Alexandropoulos, Israel, Rochinha, Issahaku, Paulinho, Andre Paulo, Arthur Gomes, Ricardo Esgaio, Marsa, Nazinho
Tottenham team news: Richarlison preferred to Kulusevski again
Spurs XI: Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Perisic; Richarlison, Kane, Son
Subs: Forster, Sanchez, Lenglet, Tanganga, Sessegnon, Doherty, Spence, Skipp, White, Bissouma, Kulusevski, Gil
Tottenham and Marcus Edwards meet again in Lisbon
After Tottenham's weekend visit to Manchester City was postponed due to Queen Elizabeth II's passing, they return to action this evening with their second Champions League group match at Sporting in Lisbon.
The suspension of football has eased the fixture congestion Antonio Conte was so concerned about, and there is a presentable opportunity to seize control of this group following a 2-0 home win against Marseille. Tottenham's Pot One opponents are Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt, so it would take something of a collapse in order for Spurs not to qualify for the knockout stages.
They are unbeaten so far this season and just a point behind Premier League leaders Arsenal, even if their performances have caused some Spurs fans to fret. They were not especially fluent against Marseille - scoring in the 76th minute with their first shot on target thanks to Richarlison - so a more convincing display would be welcome.
There are a couple of interesting links between the clubs. Sporting is the club where Eric Dier grew up, and the defender has become an automatic pick in the heart of Conte's back three.
Dier said: "It is very special to me to be back here. I spent a long time here in Sporting and it took some time to come back.
"I would rather play against another team in Portugal but we can't do anything about that and I am very happy to be here."
Former Tottenham youngster Marcus Edwards plays for Sporting, and scored against Frankfurt last week. Edwards was highly-regarded when he came through the ranks at Spurs, and was compared to a young Lionel Messi by Mauricio Pochettino, but never made a league appearance before moving abroad.
Sporting boss Ruben Amorim said: "I think Marcus is a very talented player.
"He has all of the talent and he can get much better and get to the English national team. He is already becoming more consistent but he has to focus more on training and everything that is around it.
"Football is not just about the Sunday matches, it's everything in between but I trust him a lot. I know he can grow a lot and get to the national team."
Full team news on the way shortly.