Son Heung-Min scored his first Tottenham Hotspur goals to help inspire a comeback to defeat FK Qarabag and claim a first home win of the season in their Europa League opener at White Hart Lane. Richard Almeida had given the Azerbaijani champions a shock lead before the South Korea international netted twice from close range on his full home debut before Erik Lamela flicked home a late third to put some much needed gloss on an uncertain performance.
Kieran Trippier, making his debut for the 1972 and 1984 winners, conceded the penalty inside seven minutes with a clumsy challenge on Ansi Agolli which led to Almeida sweeping beyond captain Hugo Lloris. Mauricio Pochettino's side initially struggled to get a foothold in the game but Son popped up twice in the space of three minutes to help his team towards the points.
Andros Townsend's corner was not dealt with by the Qarabag defence and Son tucked home from inside the six-yard box, before Dele Alli's turn and pull-back was converted emphatically but the Tottenham new boy. Erik Lamela took advantage of Qarabag pushing for a late leveller with an easy third chipped over the onrushing Ibrahim Sehic, following long periods of pressure from Gurban Burbanov's brave side.
But the headlines firmly belonged to Son, starting ahead of the rested Harry Kane, who made his first genuine contribution since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer transfer window. Kane is yet to score for his club this season and Son's performance could yet see the England international workload halved.
Kane omission was the first time he had been left out from the start since February though he was named on a bench as part of six changes made by Pochettino after the win at Sunderland. Match-winner from the Stadium of Light Ryan Mason was unavailable due to injury, as was Nabil Bentaleb.
Summer signings Kevin Wimmer and Trippier made their debuts for the north Londoners while Tom Carroll made his first start for the club since August 2013. Qarabag, who were dumped out of the Champions League qualifiers by Celtic before overcoming Swiss side Young Boys, were hardly stocked with household names but with former Birmingham City midfielder Michel on the bench they nevertheless represented a potential banana-skin for the Premier League side.
And inside the opening two minutes the hosts' greatest fears were almost realised when Carroll sold Wimmer short, allowing Reynaldo to nip and force a low save from Hugo Lloris. It would be another debutant in Trippier who would gift the away side a shock lead when he cleaned out Agolli in the box, allowing Almeida to slam home the resulting penalty.
Almeida tested Lloris again with a weak effort from range as Tottenham continued to toil. Seemingly devoid of ideas of how to break through Qarabag, it would be a mistake which would gift the equaliser to the home side as Townsend's miss-hit corner was not cleared, and Son turned home from three yards out past Ibrahim Sehic to net his first Tottenham goal.
The South Korean doubled his tally two minutes later as Alli's run and turn saw him set up Son, who tucked home with ease. Alli should have made a three a minute later but Sehic saved at his feet before Toby Alderweireld headed over as Qarabag threatened to implode.
The error-strewn display from both sides continued as the away side came close to an equaliser but Afran Ismayilov poke over the bar after Danny Rose's attempt to chest the ball back to Lloris ran into the path of the 26-year-old. Tottenham failed to heed the warnings and the chances kept coming but Reynaldo was unable to keep his header from Javid Taghiyev's cross down.
Lessons had clearly not been learned at half time as the Europa League group stage debutants again went close but Alderweireld put behind Agolli's cross-shot with Reynaldo lurking. The result should have been put beyond doubt however as the move of the match between Lamela, Alli and Carroll ended with the Argentine scooping the ball against the inside of the post.
Kane and Clinton Njie, for his first Tottenham appearance, were introduced after the hour but the change led to Qarabag's best chance to level but Lloris kept out Ismayilov's weak header. Spurs were able to keep them at bay and the win was confirmed five minutes from time as Lamela had time and space to dink the ball over Sehic after Kane's pass.