Richarlison double earns Spurs 2-0 win over 10-man Marseille

LONDON (AP) — Richarlison pulled his Tottenham jersey over his face and wept as he was embraced by family members beside the field.

It was a Champions League debut to remember for the Brazil forward.

Playing in European competition for the first time in his career, Richarlison scored his first goals for Tottenham to earn a 2-0 win over 10-man Marseille in their opening group-stage match on Wednesday.

The Brazil forward was unmarked in the middle of the penalty area when he met a cross from the left by Ivan Perisic with a header that flew past goalkeeper Pau Lopez, putting Tottenham ahead in the 76th minute.

His second goal five minutes later was pretty much a replica, with Richarlison this time nodding in a deep cross from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Marseille was unable to eke out a draw at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after having center back Chancel Mbemba sent off in the 47th for bringing down Son Heung-min as the last man.

Slovenian referee Slavko Vinčić dropped the red card on the ground as he was about to brandish it to Mbemba. Tottenham wing back Emerson Royal picked the card up to allow Vinčić to complete the job in an incident that proved a turning point in what was a lackluster stalemate at that point.

Still, it needed Richarlison’s late interventions to get Tottenham over the line in an otherwise stuttering performance by the team. He is emerging as a new attacking star for Spurs after forcing his way into the starting lineup in recent weeks following an offseason move from Everton for 60 million pounds (then $73 million).

“We had to dig deep and keep knocking on the door,” Tottenham striker Harry Kane said, “and thankfully Richie popped up with a couple of goals.”

Perisic, another offseason arrival, said Tottenham had been “nervous” in the early stages of the game in which both teams canceled each other out.

“It was a bit easier 11 vs. 10,” Perisic said. “We signed a lot of new players and need some time, especially in the Champions League. We have to continue like this and are in a good way.”

While Tottenham remained unbeaten in all competitions, it was Marseille’s first loss of the season and continued a dreadful run of results in the Champions League. France’s one and only European champion — in 1993 — lost five of its six group matches in 2020-21 and all six in its previous appearance in the competition, in 2013-14.

Sporting beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 in the other game in Group D.

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