LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur's Erik Lamela scored a stunning 'rabona' goal to light up Thursday's Europa League ties, wrapping his left boot round the back of his right leg 20 metres out and blasting the ball into the top corner.
That goal, a second Lamela volley and a Harry Kane hat-trick helped secure a 5-1 victory over Greek side Asteras Tripolis but the result seemed almost insignificant in comparison to the sheer technical brilliance of the Argentine's moment of magic.
Elsewhere, the goals were liberally spread among the games in Europe's second tier competition with Borussia Moenchengladbach hitting five while Besiktas, VfL Wolfsburg, Salzburg and Villarreal all netted four times.
Rijeka's Andrej Kramaric underlined his status as one of the hottest prospects in European soccer with a hat-trick while trouble flared in eastern Europe again and Napoli lost 2-0 to Young Boys.
Nothing, though, came close to matching Lamela's 30th-minute goal for wow factor, a rare glimpse of the talent that Tottenham fans had heard about but not seen much of since his club record 30 million pounds ($48.09 million) move from AS Roma last year.
After Kane had given the hosts an early lead, the ball was rolled across the edge of the penalty area and Lamela strode purposefully towards it.
In a flash and almost imperceptible to the naked eye, he performed a gymnastic act of balance and flexibility to put one leg behind the other and arc his shot into the net, leaving the goalkeeper rooted to the spot and the crowd stunned. It was a suitable way to grace the 10th anniversary of the death of former manager Bill Nicholson who led Tottenham to the English league and FA Cup double in 1961. "I have seen Erik do that in training -- he has that in his locker," said Kane whose eventful evening culminated in him going in goal following a red card for Hugo Lloris late in the match and subsequently letting in a howler from a set piece.
"I quite fancied myself in goal but when I saw the free kick wobbling towards me I wasn't too happy," the striker told ITV Sport.
The result breathed life into Tottenham's Europa League campaign, giving them five points from three games, level at the top of Group C with Besiktas who crushed Partizan Belgrade 4-0, their heaviest home defeat in European competition. Besiktas took an 18th-minute lead through midfielder Veli Kavlak who buried a swerving piledriver from 30 metres past goalkeeper Milan Lukac before Demba Ba doubled the advantage on the stroke of halftime.
Roared on by 1,000 raucous away fans, who lit several flares in the first half, Besiktas continued to dominate and Oguzhan Ozyakup made it 3-0 in the 52nd minute before winger Gokhan Tore scored the fourth two minutes later.
Apart from Tottenham, the only other team to hit five were Moenchengladbach who crushed Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol 5-0 while Salzburg won 4-2 at home to Dinamo Zagreb and Villarreal beat Zurich 4-1.
Kramaric's three goals helped Croatian side Rijeka to a surprise 3-1 home victory over Feyenoord.
The 23-year-old, who has 20 goals in 14 domestic league, European and international appearances this season, single-handedly dismantled the former European champions with three second-half strikes in 13 minutes, including a penalty, that moved them into contention in Group G.
Rijeka are a point behind holders Sevilla who are top with five points after a 0-0 draw at Standard Liege.
The spectre of crowd trouble reared its head again as Slovan Bratislava's home game with Sparta Prague in Group I was halted for several minutes in the first half before the game restarted and the visitors completed a comfortable 3-0 victory.
Fiorentina made it three wins from three games in Group K with a 1-0 triumph at PAOK Salonika but Serie A rivals Napoli fluffed an opportunity to maintain their 100 percent record in Group I after a 2-0 defeat at Swiss side Young Boys. Everton are top of Group H despite winning only one of their three matches, a 0-0 draw in Lille leaving them unbeaten on five points.
They are a point clear of Wolfsburg who won 4-2 at FK Krasnodar with the Russian team's Andreas Granqvist scoring at both ends and Kevin de Bruyne netting twice for the Germans.
Former European champions Steaua Bucharest beat Portuguese outfit Rio Ave 2-1 in Group J with two goals from Raul Rusescu.