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Rodrigo Bentancur excels on Spurs’ Champions League return

Tottenham Hotspur kickstarted their Champions League campaign with a resolute 2-0 victory over ten-man Marseille in Group D on Wednesday evening.

It wasn’t an easy task for Antonio Conte’s men as the stubborn Ligue 1 side frustrated the home outfit for large parts of the match and it wasn’t until 14 minutes from time that Spurs made the all-important breakthrough.

£60m summer signing Richarlison opened his Lilywhites account with a header from Ivan Perisic’s cross before he added another with an even better headed effort just five minutes later, meeting Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s back-post cross to beat Les Olympiens goalkeeper Pau Lopez.

Who was your MOTM vs Marseille?

Richarlison

Richarlison

Kulusevski

Kulusevski

Bentancur

Bentancur

Hojbjerg

Hojbjerg

The big-money Brazilian will certainly take plenty of the plaudits following his match-winning brace at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but there was an unsung hero in the form of Rodrigo Bentancur, who chased down every ball and worked tirelessly to contribute at either end of the pitch.

Only three other players registered more touches of the ball than the Uruguayan (67) and it was a similar story in terms of his passing range, having delivered 93% of his 56 attempts accurately, in which two were successful long-balls – the joint-most of any outfield player for Spurs – and another two were key chances created.

The 25-year-old, formerly of Juventus, also lost possession only seven times from his 85 minutes on the pitch as he proved to be a very hard man to tackle, with the likes of ex-Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, Jordan Veretout and Gerson struggling to dispossess him throughout.

Elsewhere, Bentancur chipped in with four duels won, one clearance, one block and two tackles to display his defensive intelligence, aggression and that relentless work rate to contribute in his own third, just as much as further forward.

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It’s perhaps little surprise to have seen him lauded as a “Rolls-Royce midfielder” by South American football expert Tom Robinson in the past, whilst the Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick graded the £35m-rated machine’s performance an 8/10 in his post-match ratings column, where he wrote:

‘One uncharacteristically loose pass aside, he was one of Spurs’ better players on the ball and worked tirelessly to get up and down the pitch.’

As such, it’s hard to argue against Bentancur not being one of the unsung heroes from the night as he was just one of three players to be rated at an eight or better by the ever-reliable journalist.

AND in other news, Paratici has sealed a Spurs masterclass on £20m talent who is “tailor-made” for Conte

Article title: Rodrigo Bentancur excels on Spurs’ Champions League return

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