Football: Tottenham’s Richarlison brace sinks Marseille

LONDON (AP) — Richarlison finally scored for Tottenham when the Brazilian striker’s brace lifted his team to a 2-0 win over 10-man Marseille in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

After going five games without a goal following his £60m (S$97m) transfer from Everton, Richarlison stormed out with a pair of clinical headers to break Marseille’s resistance in north London.

Antonio Conte’s side were far below their best for long stretches, but the game finally turned around when Marseille’s Chancel Mbemba was sent off for a foul on Son Heung-min early in the second half.

That was Richarlison’s cue to grab attention when the 25-year-old scored with 14 minutes remaining and struck again five minutes later.

“I remember very well when Richarlison signed for us and said: ‘I can’t wait to play the Champions League and listen to the music’. When a player says these words, it means that he has a lot of desire and a lot of will”. said Count.

Making the first European appearance of his career, Richarlison’s predatory finishes showed why the Italian manager made him his summer signing.

Seeing the Brazilian crying with joy as he celebrated with his family in the stands after the final whistle underlined what it meant to him.

Tottenham are expected to qualify from Group D, which also includes Eintracht Frankfurt and Sporting Lisbon, and this was the ideal start, even though their performance hardly drew any attention.

Unbeaten in their first seven matches in all competitions this season, Tottenham are still recovering after Conte’s season-ending spending spree, but the Italian will be encouraged by his ability to deliver results.

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European nights in the spotlight have always held a special place in the hearts of Tottenham fans raised with Gareth Bale, Jimmy Greaves, Martin Chivers and Tony Parks providing iconic moments in continental competition.

Runners-up in the 2019 Champions League in the Mauricio Pochettino era, Tottenham returned to the competition after two seasons without qualifying, but the match had a distinct Premier League feel.

Marseille had five former Premier League players in their squad with Matteo Guendouzi and Nuno Tavares booed every time they touched the ball due to their spells with Tottenham’s bitter rivals Arsenal.

Marseille’s Premier League links weren’t limited to the pitch, as former Manchester City midfielder Joey Barton, who once played for the French club and now manages third-tier Bristol Rovers, was among his traveling fans.

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