Tottenham’s second string gave manager Andre Villas-Boas plenty to ponder ahead of this weekend’s derby against Arsenal as they put in an impressive performance to help the north London club into the Europa League group stage.
Tottenham won 8-0 on aggregate
Scorers: Tottenham - Defoe (40, 45) Holtby (69)
With £60million worth of new signings added to this squad this summer, and at least another three players on their way in, there has been little talk of the importance of the likes of Jermain Defoe and Lewis Holtby to the new-look Tottenham so far this season.
Yet the duo gave their manager a timely reminder of their talents tonight, even though Dinamo were very poor opposition.
Defoe, making his first start of the season, fired a peach of a left foot strike past Giorgi Loria to open the scoring after 40 minutes and the England striker doubled his tally in first-half injury time with an easy tap-in.
The brace moved the 30-year-old up to sixth in Spurs’ all-time top scorers list and he will now be keen to press Roberto Soldado hard in training over the next few days in the hope that he gets the nod to start against Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday.
The spotlight was taken away from Defoe slightly towards the end of the second half thanks to Holtby, who opened his Tottenham scoring account in style with a powerful 20-yard strike that flew in off the underside of the bar. Chairman Daniel Levy was at White Hart Lane to watch the game while behind the scenes Tottenham were putting the final touches to the transfers of Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Vlad Chiriches.
The triple transfer is likely to trigger Gareth Bale’s world-record move to Real Madrid. The first half hour was a very poor advert for Europa League football. Holtby and Tom Carroll both looked lively, but Tottenham failed to create any real chances and there was barely any atmosphere inside White Hart Lane.
But the hosts took hold of the game with two goals in a little more than five minutes just before the break.
Defoe’s first came when Sandro won the ball with a crunching tackle. The impressive and industrious Carroll found Holtby, who then played the striker into the box - and he he fired a left-foot shot past a static Loria.
Then in first-half injury time, Gylfi Sigurdsson pulled the ball back after an excellent piece of skill by Walker and Defoe was there to tap in at the back post.
With Sunday’s derby in mind, Villas-Boas brought Harry Kane on for Townsend at the break and Zeki Fryers came on for his debit, replacing Walker soon after.
Dinamo went on a rare attack, with Patrick Vouho finding the side-netting, but Spurs were still firmly in control of the game.
Defoe came within two feet of netting his hat-trick and Sigurdsson then rattled the frame of the away goal with a superb curling shot from 18 yards.
With 20 minutes to go Holtby put the game to bed with the goal of the night. The German took a step back to walk into the path of Defoe’s pass and he unleashed a thundering 20-yard drive which flew in off the underside of the bar via Loria’s fingertips.
Defoe should have had a chance to pick up his hat-trick, but he was booked for diving in the box even though he looked to be fouled by Khurtsilava.
Tottenham: Friedel, Walker (Fryers 56), Kaboul, Vertonghen, Naughton, Holtby (Dembele 76), Townsend (Kane 46), Sigurdsson, Carroll, Sandro, Defoe. Subs not used: Lloris, Paulinho, Capoue, Soldado.
Dinamo Tbilisi: Loria, Khurtsilava, Kvirkvelia (Glisic 34), Gvelesiani, Kvaratskhelia, Khmaladze, Merebashvilli (Khocholava 79), Grigalashvili (Seturidze 86 ), Dzaria, Goga, Vouho. Subs not used: Zarkua, Shashiashvili, Papava, Dvali.
Referee: L Banti (Italy).