Spurs crashed out of the Champions League with yet another limp display away from home.
Mauricio Pochettino took the bold move to leave out Jan Vertonghen with one eye on Saturday’s Premier League fixture with Chelsea, while Christian Eriksen’s lack of form also saw him dropped to the bench.
Harry Winks made his second start in a row, as Dele Alli and Heung Min Son joined Harry Kane in attack.
It was the South Korean who had the first sight of goal, racing through thanks to a pinpoint throughball from Alli. But the man who now hasn’t scored in 9 games showed that lack of form once more.
And Spurs’ lack of a defensive leader shone through once more, as the cracks began to show in front of Hugo Lloris.
That came together in one moment of madness as Eric Dier seemingly kicked Monaco spark Fabinho up in the air just 12 yards from goal to hand Falcao the chance to give them the lead.
…The former Manchester United and Chelsea man failed to convert.
At the other end, it just wasn’t clicking together.
Even the ever-so reliable Harry Kane, fresh from his dramatic late brace at home to West Ham on Saturday, seemed to have left his shooting boots back in London.
After the break, the Ligue 1 side’s dominance continued.
French left-back Benjamin Mendy was running the show down Kieran Trippier’s flank, and it was him who turned provider not long after the teams re-emerged.
Djibril Sidibé was on hand to turn home from close range. Spurs were heading out.
Then came a turning point. A very, very brief one.
Dele Alli’s first real interaction saw him brought down by Kamil Glik in the Monaco box, handing Harry Kane the chance to net his second penalty in a matter of days.
This time he went to the ‘keeper’s right, and despite Danijel Subašić getting a firm hand on the ball, Kane made the net ripple.
The elation at not being eliminate from the competition lasted all of 38 seconds.
In typical Tottenham Hotspur style, all brief hope was wiped away as the second-placed French side strutted straight down the other end of the field, found Thomas Lemar, who in turn found Hugo Lloris’ bottom left.
Poch eventually called upon the dropped Eriksen, along with Vincent Janssen, as the lacklustre Son and Dembele made way.
But the changes made little difference. Instead the attention turned to one man who has single handedly kept Spurs’ European dream alive this season – Hugo Lloris.
Undoubtedly the Lilywhites’ man of the match, Lloris denied Kamil Glik from a near impossible range:
…And then Radamel Falcao.
Spurs attempted to rally around and fight back, but the introduction of Moussa Sissoko only seemed to rub salt in the wounds.
Talisman Kane tried his hardest to muster a chance to save the side from elimination, but his attempts were fruitless.
And that’s how it ended. A 5 year wait for Champions League football finished with less than a flourish.
CSKA will now travel to a Wembley Stadium full of less than happy Spurs fans, in what will surely be a timid affair in early December.
Don’t forget – you can get all of these highlights LIVE on matchday here: @JMcCarthyLIVE
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