Monaco beats Tottenham 2-1 at Wembley in Champions League
LONDON (AP) — Tottenham’s Champions League relocation to Wembley Stadium got off to a bad start with a 2-1 loss to in-form Monaco on Wednesday.
Goals by Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar put the French league leaders 2-0 ahead after 36 minutes at English football’s national stadium.
Spurs reduced the deficit through Toby Alderweireld’s header on the stroke of halftime, but couldn’t make the most of lots of possession in the second half.
Tottenham is playing its Champions League home games at Wembley to meet UEFA requirements while part of the team’s White Hart Lane stadium undergoes construction work, ahead of a move to a new ground nearby in 2018.
The attendance of 85,011 was a club-record home attendance and record for an English club in a domestic fixture, according to Spurs, who were greeted by an awning outside Wembley that read “Welcome to Tottenham Hotspur.”
The English club last appeared in the Champions League in the 2010-11 season, reaching the quarterfinals before losing to Real Madrid with a team that included Gareth Bale and Luka Modric — who both now play for Madrid.
This is a much less-experienced Spurs side — especially at the highest level in European football — and it showed against Monaco, which arrived in London high in confidence after an unbeaten start to the season.
Spurs will be hoping it is not an ominous result — the last team to use Wembley as a temporary home in the Champions League was Arsenal during the 1998-99 and 1999-00 seasons as its former Highbury Stadium did not have a large enough capacity. Arsenal won only two of its six games at Wembley over the two campaigns and failed to progress from its group on both occasions.
Silva’s 16th-minute goal finished off a Monaco counter-attack that began when Erik Lamela lost possession for Tottenham.
The lead was doubled in the 31st when Djibril Sidibe’s cross left Jan Vertonghen and Ben Davies in a tangle, landing nicely for Lemar to score from close range high into the net.
Alderweireld’s header from Lamela’s corner gave Tottenham hope, as did the appearance as a halftime substitute of Mousa Dembele — one of the team’s best players last season — for his first appearance of the campaign after suspension.
Spurs pair Dele Alli and Harry Kane had shots saved in the closing stages as Monaco held on.
“We started poorly ... They punished us for it,” Alli said. “We did enough to win the game, but we didn’t finish the chances.”