Dele Alli in the dock as red card sends Spurs out of Europe
A moment of madness costs the England star and his team dear and will only add to his reputation as a hothead
Dele Alli might be grateful to Leicester City after the sacking of Claudio Ranieri overshadowed Spurs's exit from Europe and the awful challenge that saw him sent off in Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Gent.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Spurs needed to shake off their Wembley woes to make it into the last 16 of the Europa League. But after being reduced to ten men late in the first half, they were left with a mountain to climb.
"Spurs only won one of their Champions League games at Wembley and this latest disappointment at the national stadium was largely thanks to the red card Alli earned for a high challenge on Brecht Dejaegere," says Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph.
Things started well for the home side, who took the lead through Christian Eriksen after ten minutes. But an own goal from Harry Kane handed the visitors a crucial away lifeline and then came the moment of madness from Alli.
Feeling he had been fouled, the 20-year-old aimed a wild lunge at Dejaegere, planting his studs into the midfielder's knee.
The result was a deserved red card. It may have been the first of his career, but it adds to his growing reputation as a hothead and "that will only hinder him as his career goes on", says Amitai Winehouse of the Daily Mail.
Opposition players will seek to exploit his short temper and referees and disciplinary bodies will be on alert, Winehouse adds.
"Alli is a wonderful talent but a moment of madness and malevolence cost Tottenham Hotspur dear here," says Henry Winter of The Times. "In front of 80,465, a Europa League record, the England international was dismissed for a shocking tackle that could have broken Dejaegere's leg and ended up breaking Spurs' own hearts."
Spurs's ten men scored again after the break, Victor Wanyama making it 2-1, but an 82nd goal from Jeremy Perbet send Gent through.
"Tottenham, particularly since Mauricio Pochettino became manager, have often drawn praise for their fearless and confident approach, and they have become regular title challengers," says Jonathan Jurejko of the BBC. "But it is a different story in Europe."
Their Wembley form does not augur well for next season, when they will move there while White Hart Lane is redeveloped. In four European games at the stadium, Spurs have conceded six goals. In 12 league matches at White Hart Lane, they have conceded only five.