Fringe players fail to impress as Spurs beaten by Bayern

Posted Thursday, December 12, 2019 by PA

Fringe players fail to impress as Spurs beaten by Bayern

Jose Mourinho may have got some of the answers he was looking for about his fringe players as Tottenham ended their Champions League group stage with a 3-1 loss at Bayern Munich.

With both teams already into the knockout stages, and the Germans confirmed as Group B winners, Mourinho gave some fresh faces a chance to impress, but they mainly floundered in the Allianz Arena.

Kingsley Coman, Thomas Muller and Philippe Coutinho did the damage on a night where Hans-Dieter Flick’s side could have matched the seven goals they got in October’s reverse fixture had they been more clinical.

Fringe players fail to impress as Spurs beaten by Bayern
Kingsley Coman had an early goal to celebrate against Tottenham (Matthias Schrader/AP)

One potential star to emerge was Ryan Sessegnon, scoring his first goal for the club on his maiden start and Mourinho, who tried to sign him three times as Manchester United boss, will surely see him as a big part of the future.

The others did nothing to suggest the Portuguese is going to deviate away from his big guns as they prepare for a pivotal period in the Premier League, where their chances of qualifying for this competition next term could be defined.

Of course, they could still win it this season, but Monday’s last-16 draw where they could be paired with Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Valencia or RB Leipzig might have to be kind.

Mourinho had made it clear before the game that he was going to take a look at those who had not had the chance in his short reign and Sessegnon, Kyle Walker-Peters, Giovani Lo Celso and Juan Foyth were all given a first start.

Bayern in contrast went strong, with the exception of Robert Lewandowski, so it was no surprise that they started well and took a 14th-minute lead.

Fringe players fail to impress as Spurs beaten by Bayern
Thomas Muller’s goal put Bayern back in front (Matthias Schrader/AP)

Walker-Peters was dragged inside to deal with Gnabry, allowing Coman to take up space at the back post and when the ball fell to the winger, he coolly slotted home.

Tottenham, to their credit, responded swiftly and it was just six minutes until Sessegnon enjoyed his memorable moment.

Spurs worked their way inside and Lo Celso’s through ball was deflected into the path of the teenager at the far post and after composing himself, he lashed a fierce effort past Manuel Neuer.

Mourinho’s side were enjoying a good spell and they had a brilliant chance to take the lead, but it fell to the wrong man.

Moussa Sissoko had looked like a new goalscoring midfielder under Mourinho, with two goals in the last three games, but he reverted to type dreadfully after being sent through on goal, drastically overhitting a cross.

Fringe players fail to impress as Spurs beaten by Bayern
A third goal from Philippe Coutinho wrapped up the victory (Matthias Schrader/AP)

It proved costly as Bayern ended the half strongly and regained a deserved lead.

Gnabry, who had earlier hit the post with Thiago inexplicably missing the rebound, sent in a cross which made its way to Alphonso Davies, whose shot again hit the woodwork and this time Muller converted.

The frame of the goal was rattled for a third time moments later when Coutinho’s curling effort crashed into the underside of the crossbar, with only millimetres of the ball staying in front of the line.

That provided a platform for a possible goal glut in the second half as the Germans will have eyed a repeat of that 7-2 hammering in north London two months ago.

Coutinho was on a one-man mission to get on the scoresheet and following two attempts early on after the restart, he finally did it in the 64th minute.

He was given far too much room on the edge of the area and had no problem picking out the bottom corner with a curling finish.

More goals did not follow, though, despite chances for Gnabry and Coutinho as Spurs left with their pride intact and Mourinho armed with knowledge.

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