Thursday, 01 October 2020 23:34


Harry Kane scored a hat-trick and Dele Alli also found the target to help Tottenham reach the group stage of the Europa League courtesy of a hugely entertaining victory over Israeli side Maccabi Haifa.

With this their seventh game in 19 gruelling days at the start of the season, you would have forgiven Spurs for easing into the encounter.

Instead, a frantic first half yielded five goals, four of which went to the home side.

Harry Kane slotted in the opener from close range before former QPR forward Tjaronn Chery curled in a superb equaliser for the visitors.

This only served to provoke further attacking brilliance from the home side, who restored their lead when Lucas Moura flicked the ball in off his back from a corner, and then claimed total control courtesy of two Giovani lo Celso finishes, assisted by the lively Steven Bergwijn and crafty Kane.

The Argentine made way to allow Alli to play the second half, which was somewhat overshadowed by two penalties awarded via controversial handballs.

Spurs Matt Doherty and Maccabi's Ernest Mabouka both had their arms by their side to block crosses but each were penalised, leading to Nikita Rukavytsya narrowing the three-goal margin before Kane restored it.

The England captain then completed a superb night with a neat chipped finish following a Bergwijn pass, before Alli won a penalty with sharp turn to draw a foul that he himself converted.

The draw for the group stage will take place on Friday.

Meanwhile Rangers are through to the group stage of the Europa League for a third consecutive season after a fine 2-1 win over Galatasaray at Ibrox.

Scott Arfield broke the deadlock early in the second half after being played in by Ianis Hagi, with James Tavernier heading in a second shortly after.

The Turkish giants rarely threatened, but pulled a goal back late on through defender Marcao.

Rangers are expected to be in Pot 3 in Friday's draw.

Steven Gerrard's side are now unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions and have yet to lose in 19 Europa League qualifiers under the Englishman.

Elsewhere Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski has been named Uefa men's Player of the Year 2019-20.

Poland striker Lewandowski, 32, beat Bayern team-mate Manuel Neuer and Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne to the award.

Bayern's Hansi Flick was named men's coach of the year after leading his side to a sixth European title.

Lewandowski scored 55 goals in 47 games last season as Bayern won the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.

He scored 16 more goals than any other player in Europe's top five leagues across all competitions in 2019-20.

Manchester City playmaker De Bruyne, 29, was named Champions League midfielder of the year - and in doing so prevented a Bayern clean sweep of all the men's awards.

The Belgium midfielder also won the Professional Footballers' Association men's Players' Player of the Year award in September.

Germany's Neuer, 34, won goalkeeper of the year after recording six clean sheets in the Champions League as Bayern defeated Paris St-Germain in August's final, while team-mate Joshua Kimmich, 25, was named best defender.

 The Uefa awards were announced alongside the Champions League group stage draw in Geneva, although club officials did not attend due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.