A 5-0 win in the first-leg in Georgia meant that Spurs had the luxury of resting key players for the return, with one eye on the weekend’s crunch North London derby against Arsenal.
Lewis Holtby and Sandro returned to Spurs’ first-team, with the latter making his first start for the club since January. Despite leaving out the likes of club record summer signing Roberto Soldado and midfielder Paulinho, Andre Villas-Boas fielded a strong side which epitomised the strength in depth at the club after an impressive summer spending spree.
With somewhat of a ‘second string’ feel to the starting line-up, many of the players had points to prove and places to fight for. Perhaps the most under pressure was striker Defoe, who has been overshadowed by Spanish superstar Soldado.
Nevertheless, Defoe set about trying to impress the Spurs faithful at White Hart Lane, constantly stretching the Dinamo defence with lively runs.
It was Andros Townsend who fired Spurs’ first attempt on goal however. The new England call-up found space after three minutes to curl an attempt on goal, but it was well over from the winger.
Midfielder Tom Carroll was next up to try from range on the half-hour mark after Spurs dominated possession in the first-half. His volley after Lewis Holtby’s impressive run also flew over.
Once Defoe had a first real sight on goal there was little chance of him missing however. After 38 minutes Holtby collected Gylfi Sigurdsson’s pass and played a beautiful reverse-pass into Defoe, who made no mistakes in firing past a stranded Loria in the Tbilisi goal.
Just seven minutes later Defoe struck again. Excellent work from Kyle Walker gave Sigurdsson the space to fire across goal, with the English striker first to it to stroke home for 2-0.
The second-half brought much of the same for the Londoners as their dominance was telling, but only Holtby’s stunning strike on 69 minutes found its way into the goal.
Carroll was again the provider, laying off for Holtby to fire home an excellent effort from 20 yards, sealing Spurs’ comfortable win.