Van der Vaart (5), Defoe (13), Livermore (28), Bale (63), Lennon (78)
Tottenham captain Michael Dawson urged the club to go into the game against Hearts all guns blazing and that is exactly what they did as they romped to a 5-0 win last night.
Much had been made of the Anglo-Scottish derby prior to kick off with the Spurs players insisting they wouldn’t underestimate their Scottish counterparts.
Manager Harry Redknapp sent a strong side out against the SPL side and his decision paid dividends after 5 minutes when Rafael Van der Vaart opened the scoring.
After playing in Jermain Defoe, the Dutchman picked up the ball after the England man was dispossessed and calmly slotted home. The home side cried for handball against Van der Vaart but the ref played on leaving Spurs off to a great start.
The lead was doubled eight minutes later as Defoe found a pocket of space in the Hearts box to smash the ball home to make it 2-0 on the night.
Defoe then turned provider for Jake Livermore, only starting his second competitive game for Spurs, as the duo played a neat one-two before Livermore’s low effort found the bottom corner leaving the North London outfit firmly in control heading into the break.
Hearts almost found their way back into the game after half-time following a succession of corners troubling Gomes and the Spurs defence but the first-leg was put to rest in the 63rd minute when a pinpoint Tom Huddlestone pass picked put out Gareth Bale whose first touch took the ball around the keeper leaving him to slot home into an empty net.
And two-legged affair was all but over after the 78th minute when substitute Andros Townsend picked out Defoe on the left wing before the striker found the run of Aaron Lennon to cap off a superb counter-attacking move by Spurs.
Redknapp was understandably delighted following the performance and told ITV after the game “I couldn’t have asked for more, it was excellent.
“I expected a tough game tonight – it’s an intimidating place to come. But we started the game superbly and moved the ball around so well in the first half.
“That was as good as I’ve seen us play.”
Redknapp was also impressed with the youngsters and fringe players from the game and has hinted he will rest a number of key stars in the return leg next week.
“Jake Livermore did well tonight and Andros Townsend also did well when he came on,” he added.
“The result tonight gives us some more chance to play some of the younger players in the next leg.”