Tottenham proved there might be life after Gareth Bale as Andros Townsend inspired the Londoners to a thumping win over Dinamo Tbilisi.
Scorers: Tottenham Hotspur - Townsend (12), Paulinho (44), Soldado (56, 67) Rose (64)
Bale sat out tonight’s Europa League play-off first leg as he edged closer to a world-record move to Real Madrid.
But Tottenham, often branded a one-man team after Bale’s heroics last term, showed they might not need the Welshman as young Townsend put on an impressive display that Bale would have been proud of.
The 22-year-old scored a superb solo goal to start the rout and he outpaced his marker to supply the assists for Roberto Soldado’s first goal of the night and Paulinho’s maiden strike for the club.
Danny Rose scored his first goal for Tottenham since his wonder strike against Arsenal in 2010 and Soldado added a second to round off the victory which almost certainly guarantee’s Spurs’ progression to the group stages of the competition.
It appears Spurs are resigned to losing their star man. Yet there was plenty of reason for Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas to be optimistic.
Townsend showed how much his confidence has grown during his year at QPR while new signings Nacer Chadli, Soldado and Paulinho stood out again.
The visitors began well, but neither Soldado nor Gylfi Sigurdsson could take advantage of a moment of nervousness from Dinamo stopper Giorhi Loria. Sigurdsson then dallied on the ball, allowing Elguja Grigalashvili to race into the Spurs box, but his shot was deflected over.
Dinamo left themselves exposed at the back from the resulting corner and Townsend took full advantage. The England under-21 international sprinted from inside his own half before driving low past Loria.
Dinamo went on the attack and Lloris pulled off a superb save to deny Jaba Dvali from eight yards.
Sigurdsson curled a free-kick in to the side-netting and Loria almost fumbled a Rose cross in to his own net. Then, just before the break, Spurs scored a second and Townsend was again the inspiration, embarrassing Darko Glishich with a sharp turn before chipping the ball to the unmarked Paulinho, who nodded in from eight yards.
The third goal came in the 56th minute after Townsend raced down the right flank and pulled the ball back for Soldado, who slotted the ball past Loria.
The fourth came when Chadli found Rose after cutting in from the left and he curled a beautiful shot over Loria from 25 yards.
Chadli then sent a low cross to the back post and Soldado tapped home from close range.
At the other end, Giorgi Merebashvili sprinted past three players to find Dvali, but Lloris saved with his legs. Grigalashvili tested Lloris again with eight minutes left, but he saved well. Spurs raced up the other end and substitute Harry Kane’s header hit the woodwork.
Dinamo: Loria, Khurtsilava, Kvirkvelia, Gvelesiani, Kvaratskhelia, Merebashvilli, Grigalashvili, Glisic (Papava 46), Dzaria (Goga 81 ), Dvali, Xisco (Vouho 42 ). Subs not used: Zarkua, Ustaritz, Khocholava, Seturidze.
Spurs: Lloris, Rose, Kaboul, Naughton, Dawson, Paulinho (Carroll 71), Capoue, Townsend, Sigurdsson (Chadli 61), Soldado (Kane 71), Dembele. Subs not used: Friedel, Walker, Fryers, Coulthirst.
Ref: P van Boekel (Ned). Att: 22,500