MOSCOW (AFP) - South Korean winger Son Heung Min got Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League campaign up and running with a 1-0 win at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday (Sept 27).
Son picked up a pass from Erik Lamela after 71 minutes to score his fifth goal in five games for the north Londoners.
The three points put Tottenham second, one point behind French Ligue 1 side Monaco, who drew 1-1 with Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen in the other game in Group E.
"We've played much better tonight (than against Monaco) but it was a tough game as it's always difficult to play here in Moscow," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said.
"It was very important for us to get three points here as we were in a must-win position." Back in the Champions League for the first time in five years, Tottenham dominated possession in the opening half-hour but the Russian champions defended stoutly, stifling the visitors' attacking efforts.
Dele Alli went close after 35 minutes but his powerful shot from just outside the area hit the woodwork with CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev already beaten.
Just a minute later Dutch striker Vincent Janssen - playing in the absence of Harry Kane - collected the ball in the home team's area and lobbed into the net over Akinfeev, but his effort was disallowed for offside.
Kieran Trippier found the unmarked Toby Alderweireld in the area five minutes before the break but the Belgian defender's header was saved.
After the interval Tottenham tested the CSKA defence and in the 54th minute Son had a chance to open the scoring from outside the box but his powerful left-foot strike flew just inches past the far post.
Spurs' increasing pressure finally paid off as Son stunned the crowd at the packed 30,000-seat CSKA Arena in the 71st minute when he collected a Lamela pass and beat Akinfeev, who got a touch but could not stop the ball trickling over the line.
"We're in the race for the next round," Pochettino said.
"It's a very important three points. But there's four games remaining to play and everything is still open." Next up for Tottenham is a double-header with Bayer Leverkusen, who have drawn both of their matches so far.
"It's a pity we failed to resist Tottenham's attacks after the break," said CSKA head coach Leonid Slutsky.
"At the same time we failed to convert our chances. I'll say again it's very annoying."