Live Commentary: Qarabag FK 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur - as it happened

 Maksim Medvedev of Qarabag FK challenged by Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur FC during the UEFA Europe League match between Qarabag FK and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Tofig Bahramov Republican stadium on November 26, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan
© Getty Images
Take a look back at how Tottenham Hotspur clinched a spot in the Europa League knockout stage by beating Qarabag with Sports Mole's text coverage.

Tottenham Hotspur booked their place in the knockout stage of the Europa League by beating Qarabag FK 1-0 in Group J.

It looked like Spurs would be left frustrated on their trip to Azerbaijan, with both Son Heung-min and Dele Alli hitting the woodwork in the second half.

However, Harry Kane clinched the win with a header from close range to make it nine goals in six games from the England striker.

Read below to find out how the action unfolded.

5.00pmHello everyone! The Europa League continues tonight as sides battle for spots in the knockout stage of the competition. Tottenham Hotspur can do just that with a victory over Qarabag FK, who currently sit three points behind the Group J leaders. Stay with me for all of the action.

5.02pmIt is certainly one of the toughest weeks of the season so far for Mauricio Pochettino and his players. They flew six hours yesterday for this challenge in Azerbaijan, but many people are already looking ahead to the meeting with Chelsea on Sunday lunchtime. Pochettino has admitted that the schedule is difficult. Will it affect his side tonight?

5.05pmThe build up to the game against Chelsea seems to have already started, but Spurs would be unwise to allow complacency become an issue tonight. Qarabag gave Spurs a scare by taking the lead in the reverse fixture, before the Londoners eventually claimed a 3-1 win. Gurban Gurbanov's side are unbeaten in five home European fixtures and they will provide a stern test.

5.08pmWe're still waiting for team news from Qarabag, but the Spurs side has been confirmed.

SPURS: Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Mason, Dier; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane
SUBS: Vorm, Wimmer, Carroll, Townsend, Onomah, Winks, Njie

5.10pmThe Spurs team may come as a surprise to many, with Pochettino opting to include Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier and a number of other key men from the start. Mousa Dembele, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose have been left at home, but it's a very strong starting 11 from the visitors.

5.14pmQARABAG: Sehic, Medvedev, Sadygov, Agolli, Huseynov, Garayev, Quintana, Almeida, Ismayilov, Taghiyev, Poepon
SUBS: Veliyev, Gurbanov, Michel, Yunuszada, Mamadov, Chumbinho, Armenteros

5.17pmDutch striker Rydell Poepon is given the responsibility of leading the line for the host, while Richard Almeida, who scored at White Hart Lane, is also in the side. Spurs must keep tabs on former Valencia midfielder Dani Quintana, whose creativity is likely to be key this evening.


5.22pmSTAT: Spurs have lost three and drawn one of their last four away matches in the Europa League. They drew in Monaco and lost to Anderlecht earlier in the campaign.

5.24pmPochettino isn't usually first in line with angry comments, but he certainly made his feelings clear when talking about Tottenham's schedule this week.

Mauricio Pochettino manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks on ahead of the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Swansea, Wales. © Getty Images

"I laugh. It is like the week when we played Monday, Thursday and Sunday," he told reporters. "Maybe it's worse because you need to fly nearly six hours, and then there is the decision about whether to come straight back or stay. It's very difficult because both decisions are bad."

5.27pmMonaco are hosting Anderlecht in tonight's other Group J game. Victories for Spurs and Monaco would see both secure qualification before fighting for top spot in a meeting at White Hart Lane. Anderlecht are currently level on four points with Qarabag. It's all to play for tonight.

5.30pmSpurs will travel over 5,000 miles for this away trip, which makes it the longest journey they have ever made for a competitive game. It's certainly not ideal preparation ahead of such a big game against Chelsea.

5.34pmHarry Kane has scored in each of his last five games for Spurs, which is probably why Pochettino is choosing to use him from the start once again as they look to wrap up qualification without any drama. Can he continue this fine form tonight?

Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring his teams third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at White Hart Lane on November 22, 2015© Getty Images

5.38pmA quick reminder that we will have live text coverage of Celtic vs. Ajax and Liverpool vs. Bordeaux from 7pm as the British clubs chase qualification.

5.42pmKEY MAN: Qarabag will be positive in possession, but they are likely to sit deep in defence to limit the space on offer. The pressure could be on Son Heung-min, whose pace and direct approach will be important in an attacking trio behind the striker. Christian Eriksen is the creator, but Spurs need Son to be on form to get in behind the home defence.

Son Heung-Min of Tottenham Hotspur gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane on September 20, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. © Getty Images

5.44pmSTAT: Qarabag have played 12 home games in the league and in Europe this season without suffering a defeat.

5.50pmThanksgiving dinner and football (or soccer) for the Americans today. Not bad, eh?

5.52pmSpurs have caused a surprise by starting with such a strong side, but it's clear that Pochettino wants his side to take control of this game as soon as possible, before he considers resting the likes of Kane and Eriksen later on. It won't be easy, but I'm expecting Spurs to come through this challenge. 3-1 to the visitors.

5.55pmHere we go then. The players are on their way out of the tunnel. Just a few handshakes away from the action getting underway in this Group J clash.


1 minKICKOFF! Spurs get the game underway and immediately look to get on the front foot before Eriksen loses control on the edge of the box.

3 minQarabag looking very confident on the ball early in the match. The stadium probably isn't half full, but the home fans are urging their side forward early on.

5 minTrippier appears to have twisted his ankle, and with a huge divot coming out of the pitch it's not difficult to see why. He should be able to run it off. Spurs have the first shot of the game as Alli wins the ball in the corner before a cross is eventually set back to Mason, who powers his shot straight at Sehic.

8 minSpurs doing a good job of hunting in packs when Qarabag take too long to move the ball in midfield. They are certainly set up to win the ball high up the pitch with the likes of Mason and Alli working hard off the ball.

9 minSpurs move the ball from right to left well, before Mason gets the ball 25 yards from goal to unleash an effort which sails over the crossbar.

11 minQarabag are keen to knock the ball around in defence, but they're struggling to get forward. Poepon is yet to have a touch up against Vertonghen and Alderweireld.

13 minTrippier gives away a couple of fouls in the space of a minute and the second gives Qarabag a free kick in a good position on the left wing. Fortunately for Spurs, Taghiyev's low delivery is cleared away.

15 minIt looks like Spurs are set to take the lead when Mason's lofted ball finds Son in the box, but replays prove the assistant referee was right to his flag. The former Bayer Leverkusen attacker had just gone too early.

16 minCHANCE! Lovely football from Spurs as Alderweireld plays the ball out to Trippier on the right. His first-time cross on the half volley finds Alli, who miscues an effort wide off his toe. Decent opening for the midfielder.

18 minA proper full-back's effort, and I'm not talking about Roberto Carlos. The ball sits up nicely for Medvedev when he controls it 30 yards from goal, but the half-volley sails over the crossbar.

21 minQarabag appear to be more than happy to allow Alderweireld and Vertonghen to have the ball close to the halfway line. With very few options on offer to the former, a hopeful ball forward bounces through to Sehic.

22 minBetter from Spurs. They aren't close to scoring but movement off the wing from Eriksen allows him to link up with Son, whose effort takes a deflection and is stopped by Sehic before it can bring a corner.

25 minWith Qarabag sitting deep and making it tough for Spurs, I just wonder whether Pochettino is thinking about swapping Mason and Alli. It's Alli who is currently playing behind Kane, but Spurs might benefit from him getting on the ball in deeper positions. The hosts look comfortable at the back.

27 minWorrying moments for the Qarabag defence. Taghiyev and Sehic collide as the goalkeeper looks to deal with a long ball, but Trippier's attempt to send a half volley into the danger zone ends with the danger being cleared.

28 minClever play from Almeida as he skips past Mason before finding Ismayilov, whose low strike is held by Lloris at the front post.

30 minTrippier gets forward once again to win a free kick for his side under pressure from Almeida, but Eriksen misreads the situation as his low effort is cleared by the first defender.

33 minSpurs just beginning to put a bit more pressure on as Trippier earns a corner for his side, but the decision to take the set-piece short ends with Qarabag clearing again. The visitors aren't making good choices at the moment.

35 minAlderweireld fancies his chances from over 30 yards out, but his effort takes a couple of bounces before landing in the arms of Sehic.

37 minSurprisingly, Spurs are suffering from a lack of creativity at the moment. Far too many players have their back to the goal. Pochettino needs the likes of Son and Alli to stretch the game in order to find space for Kane.

39 minBetter from Eriksen as he drops deep before lofting a ball into the path of Son, who is caught just offside and he is unable to bring the ball down anyway.

41 minPlenty of pushing and shoving at a corner, but Alli escapes the attention of his marker to connect with a header which Sehic easily holds.

42 minFrustration for Kane as he turns to find space on the edge of the box before seeing his effort deflected wide of the near post.

43 minCHANCE! Big opportunity for the hosts on the break. A short corner results in Spurs losing the ball and Qarabag are two on one. The ball is slid into the path of Quintana, but with options across from him on the box, the attacking midfielder's effort is pushed away by Lloris.

44 minQarabag players and supporters are furious when Spurs decide against kicking the ball out after Poepon lands awkwardly. The visitors attack through Son, whose poor touch eventually allows Sehic to collect. Kane is being targeted for his decision to continue, but they certainly did not have to stop the game. Almeida's part in the handbags earns him a yellow card.

45+1 minSpurs continue to see more of the ball, but Qarabag will be happy with where they are at the moment. They must take advantage of their next chance on the break.


6.48pmSpurs may have enjoyed more possession, but they have struggled to create chances against Qarabag, who are proving why they are so tough to play against on their home turf. A point, of course, would not be terrible for Spurs but Pochettino will be expecting an improvement.

6.52pmA goal from Guillaume Gillet just before the break has given Anderlecht a 1-0 lead over Monaco. As it stands, Spurs would finish the night top of Group J on eight points. Anderlecht would be one point back in second, with Monaco third and Qarabag bottom.

6.55pmWhen the club's media staff aren't that excited, you know it's hardly been a cracker.

46 minRESTART! The second half is underway. No changes from either side at the interval.

47 minTrippier is a very good crosser and his latest delivery makes life uncomfortable for Sehic, who is forced to punch clear under pressure from Son.

49 minSpurs certainly on top at the start of the second half, but Qarabag continue to remain stubborn at the back as the away side's fifth corner of the night is headed away.

52 minIt just isn't clicking for Spurs in attack. Qarabag are getting two men in front of Eriksen as soon as the Dane gets the ball. Alli does get on the ball out wide, but his cross is too strong for Son, who is the only Spurs player in the box.

53 minQarabag work the ball around well and Taghiyev creates space for the cross on the left wing. Davies is forced to head behind with Ismayilov behind him. The corner eventually reaches Almeida, whose long-range strike drifts wide of the post.

54 minSUB! The hosts make the first change of the night as Popeon comes off to be replaced by Samuel Armenteros in attack.

55 minGreat play from Son as he skips past a couple of defenders and exchanges passes with Eriksen in the box before setting up Alli, whose low strike is charged down by Sadygov.

59 minYou've got to give Qarabag a lot of credit tonight. Their shape without the ball is brilliant and Spurs seem to be lacking in ideas. Eriksen drags a shot wide from the edge of the box at the end of a long spell of pressure from the visitors.

60 minExcellent work from Quintana as he collects the ball out wide before coming inside to unleash an effort which strikes Vertonghen's leg on the way to flying wide of the far post.

62 minThe noise levels rise when Qarabag put the pressure on Spurs, but the visitors break through Kane. He does well to pick out Alli, but a shot from 25 yards is easy to collect for Sehic.

63 minAlli and Kane link up once again when the former finds his teammate in the box, but the England striker can only fire a shot into the side-netting from a tight angle.

64 minOFF THE BAR! Spurs are agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock. It's Son with the effort as he creates space on the edge of the box to unleash a powerful strike, but Sehic gets fingers to the ball to flick it against the crossbar. Superb goalkeeping.

65 minSUB! Taghiyev's night comes to an end as Gurbanov sends on Chumbinho.

67 minSAVE! Sehic comes to the rescue once again to get two hands to a low effort from Dier, who was given too much time outside the box. The corner is taken short to Kane, but his powerful strike on the half-volley is blocked by Medvedev.

69 minSAVE! The game is certainly opening up now. Quintana displays his quality once again by exchanging passes with Armenteros, before seeing his shot collected by Lloris at the second attempt. Son gets beyond the final defender at the other end, but he is forced to settle for a corner which is eventually cleared.

72 minSon looks set to shoot after a good touch in the box, but Sadygov steps in with a vital challenge before clearing a Trippier cross just a few moments later.

73 minSUB: Pochettino turns to the bench for the first time as Mason jogs off to be replaced by Tom Carroll.

76 minOFF THE POST! Spurs come even closer to taking the lead! A long spell of possession tests Qarabag and they lose track of Alli when Alderweireld's cross reaches the midfielder, whose half volley comes back off the post.

77 minSAVE! Will Spurs find a breakthrough? Brilliant work from Eriksen as clever footwork takes him past a couple of defenders, before he sets up Kane, whose effort is tipped over by Sehic. He probably should have scored.


79 minHe's scored this time! Kane's incredible run continues as he comes up with another vital goal. The corner is flicked on by Son at the near post and Kane heads in from close range. Spurs are heading for the knockout stage.

80 minSUBS! Son comes off to be replaced by Clinton Njie, while Qarabag use their final change to bring Elvin Mammadov on for Ismayilov.

82 minGood defending from Spurs as they clear a corner before the defence gets out quickly to leave three Qarabag players offside in the box.

84 minEriksen is never shy about shooting from long range, but he's nowhere near his target on this occasion as a speculative shot drifts over the crossbar.

85 minGlenn Hoddle really likes those sunglasses on Twitter. Seriously, go check it out.

Great reactions from Harry K for the goal ! Should see them off now , could take him off now for Sunday 😎

— Glenn Hoddle (@GlennHoddle) November 26, 2015

86 minGreat footwork on show from Njie as he leaves a couple of defenders behind him before finally winning a free kick just outside the box. Eriksen will fancy this one.

87 minThe wall jumps and Eriksen's effort from the free kick is blocked as Qarabag keep the game alive. Can they find a late equaliser? They've struggled to respond to falling behind.

90 minSpurs controlling the game well in the closing stages and they look capable of adding a second to kill this game off. As it stands they are heading for qualification. A draw in their final game would secure top spot.

90+1 minSUB! As has been the case in recent weeks, Josh Onomah is off the bench for a late cameo. He replaces Eriksen. Three minutes added on.

90+3 minSpurs are dominating possession in the final minute of stoppage time as a tired Qarabag side struggle to produce a strong finish.


7.52pmSpurs are through to the knockout stage of the Europa League. Kane is the hero once again as Pochettino's side earn all three points from a difficult away trip. Anderlecht are close to wrapping up a 2-0 win over Monaco, which means the three other sides are all still in contention for the second qualifying spot.

7.52pmThat's all from our live coverage this evening. Keep an eye out as we cover the rest of the night's action in the Europa League. Goodnight.

Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring his teams third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at White Hart Lane on November 22, 2015
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