Although Spurs had to contend with a physical Wisla Krakow side and a
bumpy pitch, the team put in an improved performance to gain a 1-1 win
which was enough to get Tottenham side through to the group stages of
While the team
could not hold onto a 1-0 lead and failed to impress themselves on the
home side when they had a lot of possession, at least there was a bit
more joined up play and some structure to have support up front to pose
problems for the Polish defence.
The first half contained little of note,
apart from a flurry at the end of the 45 minutes when the home side
should really have scored. When Spurs broke away, they failed to
pick out a black shirt with the final ball. It was 20 minutes in
that Cantaro found some space in the box, but only hit a weak shot with
his left foot as he went a little wide. Brozek hit a shot straight
at Gomes and a Diaz free-kick was aimed straight at the Spurs keeper.
In between Jonathan Woodgate picked up what now seems to be his
trademark yellow card for pulling back the goalkeeper as he tries to
release the ball after catching a corner. It happened on Sunday
and happened again today. Is it an indication that he is getting
too slow to get back into position ? Stupid bookings like this
will tot up and catch up with him, when we least need it.
Just before the break, Wisla pressed
forward and a ball slipped between King and Woodgate found Sobolowski,
but the brutal midfielder lacked the finesse to finish and tried to beat
Gomes at his near post, allowing the goalie to block his effort for a
corner. Then a corner was bobbling around the penalty area in
front of goal and the Krakow forwards luckily could not get a decent
contact on the ball to force it home.
After the break, Spurs came out looking a
more confident outfit. Fraizer Campbell let fly with s hot in the
first few minutes and it took a deflection to divert it over the bar.
This was the first of a couple of corners won at the Wisla end, but, as
ever, Tottenham failed to make anything from them. Bale's pacy
cross was whipped into the near post, but keeper Pawalek managed to get
his body between the ball and the post to keep it out and ten minutes
into the half, he had to be sharp again to grab Modric's shot as it
bounced off the uneven surface.
This was only the precursor to a Bale
cross from a ball that went over the penalty area from the other side.
As the ball came into the near post, Campbell challenged captain
Glowacki for the ball. However, it was the Polish defender who got
there first and glanced a fine diving header low across his goalkeeper
and just inside the post to put Spurs 1-0 up. It is the sort of
ball in that our forwards will make something of, but in this case, they
were beaten to it !!
The goal seemed to spark a change in the
referees attitude. He had been fairly pro-Spurs up until then, but
suddenly, the first tackles by our players began to earn yellow cards.
Strange, when one of the Polish players dived full length to pull Jenas
back with his hand ... by grabbing his foot !!
The game seemed to be going so well.
When Zokora broke up a Krakow move on the halfway line, it seemed to be
going better than that. He raced forward away from the red shirts
and as the keeper came out, he swept a left foot shot past him, but
narrowly past the post too. Knowing his track record for scoring
(or lack of it), he would have been better squaring it to Campbell, who
was unmarked in front of goal. Darren Bent went equally as close
with a shot across the keeper after turning three defenders on the edge
of the area. He looked a bit more like the striker he was prior to
joining Spurs, with other players around him giving him more support.
In the 70th minute, Boguski closed Gomes
down getting in the way of his clearance, with the luck favouring
Tottenham, with the bounce off the midfielder going wide, with the
goalie scurrying back to try and cover it if it went close. A
weird incident in midfield, when Aaron Lennon nudged Cleber ended with
both players getting yellow cards and so did Zokora, who waded in with
his hands on someone's chest.
The returning Ledley King did well to
clear away from Brozek as he went for a corner, but the Spurs skipper
knocked the ball away fro another corner. From this one, the ball
went into the rear post area of the six yard box and Brozek was there
again, but he could not control the ball. With ten minutes to go,
Brozek did better as he headed a cross goal-wards, but Gomes, with
Dawson diving on the line behind him, palmed the ball off the line and
up onto the post and away. King then got in the way of Zienczuk's
shot, but two minutes later, he was as culpable as Woodgate for the goal
that came for the home team. A simple lobbed high ball through the
middle of the defence saw Brozek going through to lobe the ball over
Gomes as he came to the edge of the area.
As always with Tottenham, this lead to a
panicky last ten minutes. Cleber managed to fire a low shot on
target, but the big Brazilian got down to it and pushed it out.
Unfortunately, he only managed to push it out to Brozek, who dived in to
head it back at goal, but his effort went straight to Gomes and he
caught it this time to relieve the pressure. Dawson came on for
Lennon, as Ramos tried to block out the Polish side and the central
defender was required to produce a well-timed tackle to take the ball
and not the player in the area.
Still there was time in the last minute
for Marcelo to break onto a ball on the edge of the penalty box and
thundered a volley on goal, which went just over the top. With
four minutes of injury time, Tottenham managed to play the ball sensibly
and keep the ball away from their own goal to get through to the final
whistle and relief in qualifying for the group stage of the UEFA Cup.
It was symptomatic of the way Spurs'
season has gone so far that they always looked fragile, but the play
between the midfield and forwards gave the team a bit more going forward
and this did help keep the ball up the other end. There were still
not enough quality balls into the box or shots on goal, but the
understanding appeared to be coming.
It should be remembered that Wisla were
Polish champions and were in the Champions League qualifying round and
that they beat Barcelona at home in their second leg. However, the
team will need to have stepped up their game by the time they meet their