Tottenham Hotspur got their Champions League campaign back on track after a tight 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow at the Khimki Arena.
Spurs travelled to Moscow under serious pressure to secure a positive result after losing their opening group game to Monaco at Wembley. Mauricio Pochettino was without the likes of Harry Kane, Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Moussa Sissoko, who all stayed back in London nursing injuries.
Heung-min Son scored the decisive goal for the visitors as the South Korean international continued his hot-streak in front of goal. Erik Lamela provided the assist for the forward, but Son enjoyed the sort of good fortune a man in form always seems to get, as his weak shot crept under the frame of Igor Akinfeev.
The hosts had a chance to open the scoring with less than 10 minutes on the clock after an early spell of Spurs pressure. Aleksandr Golovin sent in a dangerous cross towards the back post for Mario Fernandes, but the defender tried to set up a teammate instead of going for goal.
Eagerly searching for a breakthrough, Christian Eriksen delivered a delightful 40-yard pass into the path of Dele Alli. The England midfielder tried to take the dropping ball in his stride, but he miscontrolled at the vital moment, as Alli snatched at the opportunity to test Akinfeev in a one-on-one situation.
Zoran Tosic was guilty of missing the clearest opportunity in the first half as he blazed over an effort from 15-yards out. Jan Vertonghen’s clearing header was seized upon by Tosic, but despite having plenty of time to pick his spot, the winger cleared Hugo Lloris’ crossbar.
Nearing half time, Spurs picked up their momentum once again. Alli, who was so impressive in the second half of Spurs’ defeat to Monaco, tried his luck from 20-yards out with a fierce drive that had beaten Akinfeev before making its way over via a clip of the crossbar.
Mauricio Pochettino made a slight tactical tweak to his formation for the second half as he switched Erik Lamela and Heung-min Son to opposite flanks. And it almost had an immediate impact, as the duo combined to get in behind the home defence, before the chance was snuffed out by Georgi Schennikov.
After miscuing an effort minutes earlier, Spurs and Vincent Janssen felt they should have had a penalty. Kieran Trippier crossed for Janssen in the penalty area and showed impressive strength to hold off his defender. Trying to turn his man, Janssen was clipped in the box but the referee showed no interest in his claims.
Janssen was soon replaced by Georges-Kevin Nkoudou after a disappointing showing and Spurs soon found the crucial opening goal. Lamela played an incisive through ball for Son but despie producing a tame effort, the ball crept under the body of an inconsolable Akinfeev.
Spurs managed to hold on for what could be a crucial three points to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. The visitors were worthy for their victory after dominating a disappointing CSKA side that failed to make the most of some nervy moments for Pochettino’s men.
Elsewhere in Group E, Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen played out a 1-1 draw in France which sees Spurs move up to second place in the standings.