The Nuno Santo era at Tottenham Hotspur got off to the most perfect start as they began the new Premier League season with a bang.
Spurs defeated defending champions Manchester City in North London to hand the Portuguese head coach his first win in his first competitive game in charge.
The visitors’ boss Pep Guardiola started £100m summer signing Jack Grealish but left some big names like Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker and John Stones on the bench.
It was Heung-min Son who stepped up in the absence of Harry Kane to fire Spurs to the victory in the 55th minute. A long ball over the top found a rampaging Steven Bergwijn, who ran from deep before feeding the South Korean attacker.
He ran on through, Ake backed off, Dias caused havoc and Son angled the ball past Ederson from the edge of the area – a neat, rapid counter-attack.
The 29-year-old, who committed to the club for the long-term during the off-season, will reap plenty of plaudits, as will young Hotspur Way youth product Japhet Tanganga who kept £150m-worth of talent in Grealish and Raheem Sterling at bay throughout his time on the pitch.
He would go onto earn Sky Sports commentator Gary Neville’s ‘Man of the Match’ award.
However, there was another name who deserves just as much credit as the aforementioned Spurs duo as he was largely an unsung hero throughout the shock victory.
Lucas Moura, who has been linked with an exit from the club throughout the summer transfer window, was electric on the right flank and proved to be a constant thorn in Guardiola’s side.
Aside from Son, the Brazilian winger garnered the highest rating of any Spurs attacker by SofaScore (7.0), which was more than Dele Alli (6.2) and Steven Bergwijn (6.7).
Not only did he contribute in the final third, where he completed five of his eight dribbling attempts, recorded three shots in total, and provided a squad-high three key passes but he also managed to do an industrious job defensively, too.
Also per SofaScore, the £18m-rated dynamo chipped in with a further three clearances, one interception and one tackle. He also won a whopping 14 duels in total, giving Benjamin Mendy a horrible afternoon at left-back as the Frenchman was graded a shocking 6.5 and that is rather generous for his overall display.
It’s no wonder that Moura has been described as a “nightmare” to play against by teammate and centre-back Eric Dier.
The Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick handed the former PSG star an eight out of ten and lauded him for a “menacing display of direct running”, whilst Alasdair Gold at football.london handed him a slightly better rating of nine and claimed: He was a constant thorn in the side of City and it was his clever touch to Bergwijn that started the move for Son’s 55th minute goal’ before adding: ‘He was one of Spurs’ best players on the day.’
Indeed he was and that’s why Moura was one of Nuno’s massively unsung heroes on the day.
AND in other news, Bye-bye Sissoko: Spurs eye major midfield upgrade…