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Ange Postecoglou oversaw a thrilling first win as Tottenham manager as Pape Sarr’s strike and a Lisandro Martinez own goal settled a pulsating Premier League clash with Manchester United.
Even by Spurs’ standards this has been a chastening year, with their struggles in the second half of last season compounded by homegrown star Harry Kane’s recent switch to Bayern Munich.
But former Celtic boss Postecoglou has brought new hope to Tottenham and his entertaining, new-look side sealed a fine 2-0 win thanks to Sarr’s effort and a late Martinez own goal.
Erik ten Hag’s men – playing under the cloud of continued talk about Mason Greenwood’s future – began on the front foot in north London and could have gone into the break ahead.
United were aggrieved not to have been awarded a penalty after the VAR reviewed a Cristian Romero handball in a half that saw Marcus Rashford and, in particular, Bruno Fernandes waste good chances.
Those let-offs allowed Spurs to grow into proceedings, with Pedro Porro smashing an effort off the bar before Luke Shaw deflected a Sarr cross onto the post just before the break.
Spurs returned with the bit between their teeth and took a 49th minute lead as Sarr reacted quickest to a deflected Dejan Kulusevski cross to score his first goal for the club.
Antony struck the post as the sides traded blows in a thrill-a-minute start to a second period that eventually calmed down, with Martinez’s late own goal wrapping up a home win.
The atmosphere was fantastic throughout as Spurs beat United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time, with Postecoglou receiving a fantastic reception before and after the match.
Pape Sarr scores Tottenham’s opening goal
The home fans – a number of whom had protested about ticket prices before the match – had to hold on tight during a bright United start.
After some half-hearted chances, goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario spread himself to stop Rashford giving United into a 13th minute lead having been slipped in by Antony.
Andre Onana’s stunning diagonal pass to Alejandro Garnacho deserved more than a driven cross being blocked, with an audacious Fernandes rabona cross headed over from close range by offside Rashford.
There was anger that the VAR did not intervene after Garnacho’s shot hit Romero’s arm, with the proximity of the effort understood to be behind the decision not to award a spot-kick for handball.
Another let-off soon followed. Smart play ended with Luke Shaw’s cracking first-time cross putting Fernandes behind, only for the unopposed skipper to head well off target from six yards.
But Spurs had grown into proceedings by this point. Sarr was denied by Onana after being played through by skipper Son Heung-min and went closer still in the 40th minute.
Son laid off for Porro to slam a thunderous shot off the crossbar and Sarr’s low ball back into the box deflected off Shaw and onto the post.
Spurs had clearly settled into a more cohesive attacking unit and needed just four minutes of the second period to take the lead.
Good team play ended with Kulusevski sending in a cross from the right that hit Martinez, with Sarr reacting quickest to slam home at the far post and spark wild celebrations.
The opener added extra spice to an already entertaining encounter.
Antony was allowed onto his favoured left foot just two minutes later and beat Vicario, only for his attempt to come back off the far post.
Spurs immediately swept up the other end. Onana stopped a low Destiny Udogie attempt and penalty appeals for Martinez’s challenge on Romero fell on deaf ears.
Vicario reacted well to tip over a Casemiro header and Fernandes saw a low shot pushed wide before the offside flag was raised.
Spurs celebrate their second goal of the game
Yves Bissouma had efforts either side of a blocked Son attempt, before changes took the sting out of the game.
Ivan Perisic and Ben Davies were among Spurs’ introductions, with the latter swinging at the former’s pass and getting the slightest touch before Martinez accidentally turned the ball into his own net in the 83rd minute.
United pushed to reduce the deficit but their play was stilted and frustrated, with an offside Raphael Varane denied by Vicario during nine scoreless minutes of stoppage time.
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