|OPPONENTS||FC Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova)|
|COMPETITION||Europa League Group K|
|DATE||Thursday 24th October 2013|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
With a relatively straightforward 2-0 win in Moldova, Spurs return
to more familiar surroundings at the Lane to face the Sheriff side
who have come to town. There was a determination to have a go
at Spurs, probably thinking they might as well go down having had a
throw of the dice.
However, they could not penetrate beyond Lloris, although they did get behind our back four on occasion ,with the team as a whole playing a little looser than AVB might have liked. This allowed the home team to throw men at the Spurs defence, with come good passing opening Tottenham up. Thursday's game will be different, with a solidity providing a basis to make attacks on the Sheriff goal. The shots will rain in as we attempt to kill off the Sheriff side.
Ismail Isa was a big strong forward, who seemed to lack composure in the box, while strike partner Luvvanor found himself in good positions, but found people in the way when he looked to hit the target. Midfielders Cadu and Ricardinho proved a good supply to the front men, but the approach might be very different at the Lane, with a mass of bodies between ball and goal, with the hope of hitting Spurs on the breakaway.
The defence didn't look any great shakes and the only risk from them might be a kick on the ankle as players try to go past them. Behind the back four, Tomic in goal looked nothing more than an average keeper, so we need to test him more often tonight. That will show what he is made of and it is about time we opened up a bit to stretch sides and finish them off in style.
As the nights draw in European nights should get more special, but with this and the Anzhi games virtually being dead rubbers, the only worry is how many people will turn up to watch them. It will give some the opportunity to see Spurs in the flesh, while hopefully, we will have the chance to see a few younger faces in this or the next home game to gain some valuable experience.
While AVB can be quite stubborn and has hit back at the backlash about Hugo Lloris' head injury on Sunday, he might just rest him and start with Brad Friedel so that the Frenchman will be fresh for this Sunday's league game against Newcastle United. I expect that Holtby might be left on the bench, with Eriksen given his chance again, along with Lamela, Kaboul (our Europa captain) and Lennon will start again, as I think Andre might plump for Sigurdsson against Newcastle. If Capoue is fit then he could gain a starting place coming in for Sandro, while Defoe will start in attack, looking for the one goal to make him Tottenham's all time top European goal-scorer.
Spurs should stroll this one and I hope that they are able to put in a good showing, as some of the players need to maintain their form in case they are called upon in the Premier League.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 4 FC Sheriff 0|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Tottenham go into the match without Danny Rose (toe), Zeki Fryers (groin), Sandro (hamstring), Nacer Chadli (hamstring) and Emmanuel Adebayor (match fitness).
|FC SHERIFF TEAM NEWS :|
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
2 (0) FC Sheriff
Thursday 7th November 2013 Kick off 20:05
White Hart Lane
Defoe (p) 67
Eriksen (foul on Moyal) 53
|Crowd : 32,225||Weather : Chilly, dry|
|Referee : Kenn Hansen (Denmark)||Assistant Referees : Lars Rix; David Vang Andersen (Denmark)|
|Fourth Official : Daniel R. Norgaard (Denmark)||Additional Assistants : - Jakob Kehlet; Jens Maae (Denmark)|
|UEFA Delegate : Karl-Erik Nilsson (Sweden)||UEFA Referee Observer : - Costa Kapitanis (Cyprus)|
|FC Sheriff kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||FC Sheriff :|
18 Jermain DEFOE
Henrique LUVVANOR (99
|Manager : Andre Villas-Boas||Manager : Veaceslav Rasnac|
|Sponsor : AIA||Sponsor : IDC|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : adidas|
A patchy crowd, diminished by the cost to season ticket holders and the traffic problems which stopped people stuck on the M11 getting to the match, saw Spurs progress to the group stages of the Europa League with an under-whelming 2-1 win over FC Sheriff Tiraspol at White Hart Lane. There were attempts by the 1882 group behind the Park Lane goal to create some atmosphere, but for all their songs about Sol Campbell, imagining we scored a goal and asking Friedel what the score was, the lack of an imposing performance over the minnows form Moldova still leaves some fans unimpressed and some booing was heard early in the second half. This could well have been from the occasional visitors to the stadium, who thought all they had to do was turn up to see Tottenham win, but at least the team did not think that.
They did at least set about their task with an energy that threatened to upset the quick breaking style of Sheriff, but the fact that Tomic in the Moldovans goal only had to make one save shows how difficult Spurs found the defence to break down. There was some good passing moves in the first half and for a stage in the first half of the half, it looked like the players were trying to set up Defoe for his record breaking goal and Lamela for his first, but it meant that the defenders had time to get in the way of any shots that came in. Both eventually got their goals, but they took time to come.
AVB had rested Hugo Lloris after the row that surrounded him being injured at Everton on Sunday, picking Brad Friedel, who became the oldest player ever to appear in the UEFA Cup/Europa League. Younes Kaboul returned as Europa League captain, with Kyle Naughton coming in at left back, allowing Jan Vertonghen to return to his favoured central role in defence. Lamela featured on the right of the three, with Eriksen and Sigurdsson all playing behind Jermain Defoe. Etienne Capoue made his comeback alongside Mousa Dembele in front of the back four.
The atmosphere was odd at the ground, as few people were milling around fifteen minutes before kick off, with many arriving late because of the traffic issues around the area and also because Sheriff had no fans to support them. This is the first time I can remember this since our early days in the UEFA Cup, when we played teams from far flung corners of the continent. However, there was little to get excited about in the first half and with a bit of luck, Sheriff might have had a goal themselves.
The first shot to be saved came from Spurs, with Mousa Dembele swaying past defenders to open up a shooting chance on the left and for once, he slammed a shot on goal that Tomic did well to get down to at the foot of his right hand post to push wide with six minutes gone. Lamela was featuring in the early moves in the match and he was twice robbed of the ball on the edge of the box, before hitting a shot wide from 25 yards out. In contrast, apart from one flowing passing move that took Spurs from deep in their own half to the edge of the Sheriff box, Christian Eriksen was almost anonymous. The Dane looked at odds with what was going on around him, although the second half saw him perform much better before being subbed by Holtby. Lamela's footwork was posing problems for the Sheriff defenders, who seemed to be able to stop him, as long as it was by unfair mean, winning some free-kicks in the last third, but when he went to ground at the end of a run in the box, the referee failed to blow his whistle. Ironically, when Erik got back and a Sheriff player fell under his challenge, a soft free kick was given.
Sheriff had Spurs fans worried when a 25th minute breakaway saw midfielder Ricardinho feed the ball in from the right to Isa, who fired a shot at goal and was shocked to see Kaboul's challenge take the ball away from Friedel and hit the post before going off for a corner. When the corner was cleared, Spurs looked to clam things down, but when Eriksen was back on the right of his own box, he played a lazy ball across the 22 yard line and Ricardinho stepped in to pick it off, with a clear run on goal. Luckily for Tottenham, the Brazilian is not one of the best products from that country and hurried his shot a yard wide of Brad's goal. Almost from the goal-kick, Spurs worked the ball up the right and Walker pulled it back to Lamela, who shot firmly, only to see Samardzic thrown himself in front of the shot, with two other defenders behind him doing the same. Moyal denied a Defoe shot in the same manner, but the little striker was within a hair's breadth of increasing his European goal tally right on half time. Gyfli got away down the right and put a cross into the six yard box and Jermain went in for it with a defender alongside him and the keeper in front, but missed the ball completely, although it may have taken a touch off a defender on it's way into the area.
That brought half-time, with Martin Chivers being interviewed about his European goal-scoring record and his times playing away in Europe in glamour ties, like the ones against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the UEFA Cup final of 1972. Soon enough, it was time for the teams to come out again and Spurs kicked off, pushing into the final third of the Moldovans half more often, with quicker passing producing a number of balls into the box. None came to much, with Spurs having to rely on Friedel coming out of his box to sweep behind the defence and then Eriksen pulling back Moyal to earn a booking, as the Sheriff midfielder looked to break forward from halfway. Brad was in action again five minutes later, when he dropped to his right to stop a low shot from Luvvanor, who was put in by Ricardinho.
Spurs hit back straight away with Eriksen finding space 30 yards out and striking a powerful shot that looked to be going into the top of the goal, until Tomic threw himself upwards and tipped it over with a flick of his fingers. Brad made another couple of saves from corners, making stretching punches, but getting good distance on them, before Spurs went ahead. The game was moving into the 60th minute, as Lamela ran in on the penalty area, getting the ball back from Christian Eriksen, but the ball bounced away to the right of the centre in the box, allowing our record signing to fire home a low left footed shot to the keeper's left, leaving him no chance of reacting. The relief from a player who has had a hard time settling in was palpable. It was also noticeable that his team-mates were all happy for him and that indicates that there is a good togetherness within the squad. The crowd also joined in with the celebrations and it proved to be an opening goal that gave him confidence.
Within a couple of minutes, he had set up Defoe for a blocked shot and then, on a long run from left to right, diagonally across the box, he bamboozled the defence with his quick footwork and Paye tripped him up, with the referee pointing to the spot this time, unlike in the first half. I am sure he would have liked to take it to erase his saved penalty against Hull last week in the shoot-out, but there was no way anyone but Defoe was going to take it and he stepped up to blast it high past Tomic and into the roof of the net to make it 2-0 and put himself top of the European goal-scorer's list for the club.
Maintaining the attacks on goal, Spurs had a couple of minor chances, but when Cadu got away on the left for Sheriff, his shot was parried by Friedel, who wasn't quick enough to get in the way of Isa's follow up. The fact that Spurs had conceded brought a strange hush around the ground. The Spurs fans are not used to seeing the team let one in during Europa League games and there were no Sheriff fans to join in with Isa's moment of joy, when he hit the loose ball to return it with interest into the Tottenham goal.
So, with the Sheriff manager looking for all the world like a low rent Joachim Loew, extolling his team to get back to their own half so they could go for an equaliser, Spurs looked as though they might be on the end of a surprise result. Paulinho tried an overhead kick from a deflected Eriksen cross, but it went off target, Kane almost got onto the end of a cheeky ball into the box from Holtby and then did from Lamela, but his shot was blocked. The Spurs youngster forced a save from Tomic low to his right, as Kane close din and the ball fell to Holtby, but it bounced up and Lewis got a shot on target, but the keeper was back to save again. In fact, the keeper had the last say in the match, when he went forward for a late free-kick on the Sheriff right wing. The ball came in and Tomic, near the D on the edge of the box went for the ball as it dropped to him, but missed his volley completely. It was comical to see him racing back, when Spurs were just looking to run time down.
Which they did and the final whistle came as somewhat of a relief. The chill night air was closing in as the player swapped shirts and the Spurs players took the cheers from the crowd. Qualification for the knock-out stages had been achieved, but we are not through as the top side just yet, with Anzhi beating Tromso. The Norwegians have little left to play for in their last match, but Spurs need at least a point and therefore, might have to put out some first teamers in the Arctic Circle with that match coming between gamed with the two Manchester clubs. Spurs should make it, but not in the way they might have liked to, resting players from the last two group matches.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this round of matches :|
|Kubar Krasnador (RUS)||1||Swansea City||1||Thursday|
|Rubin Kazan (RUS)||1||Wigan Athletic||0||Thursday|
|Europa League Group K Table|
Position before match :
Position after match : 1st
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