Young Boys (Bern) (Away)
Champions League

Tuesday 17th August 2010

Without knowing a lot about Young Boys of Bern, it is difficult to do any sort of match preview.

All I know is probably what you do and that is what has been in the press since the draw was made.  They have a Spurs supporting full back Scott Sutter, who is confused about whether he wants to play for Switzerland (his dad is Swiss) or England (he was born in England).  They play their home games on an artificial pitch.  They are in their first Champions League campaign ... like Spurs.  They are currently in seventh place in their league of 10 with one win two draws and two defeats.

Looking at their website, I had not heard of any of their players, but they beat Fenerbahce in the last round and Harry Redknapp said they were very impressive at home and should have won by more goals on the plastic pitch.

It will be interesting to see how Spurs cope with the artificial surface, as they should be able to knock the ball around, but on their home turf, Young Boys will be more used to the playing conditions and will be keen to put a lot of effort in to try and knock Spurs out of their stride.

With keeping good possession and good movement off the ball, the side should be able to use the practice pitch training routines to their best effect.  Giovani dos Santos and Robbie Keane could be useful on such a pitch and with Tom Huddlestone able to ping passes around, he might be the one to open up the Swiss side.

It could be a useful result if Tottenham can sneak a win in Bern and I think they will be able to come back with a lead and the important away goals ...

PREDICTION : -    Young Boys (Bern)    1      Tottenham Hotspur    2


YOUNG BOYS (Bern) :  Hassan Lingani (out - shin); Emiliano Dudar (doubtful - ankle); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (doubtful - knee); Jermaine Jenas (out - calf); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Jamie O'Hara (out - back); David Bentley (out - ankle); 


Sky Sports 2 - (live coverage)
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.


Young Boys (Bern)   3    Tottenham Hotspur   2      (Half-time score : 3-1)

Premier League
Venue :  Stade de Suisse
Tuesday 17th August 2010
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   31,275
Referee :  F De Bleekere (Belgium)
Young Boys kicked off and played towards the Spurs fans end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Mild, pitch watered before the match
Teams : - 
Young Boys (Bern) :

  1  Wolfli (c)

  7  Sutter
20  Affolter
25  Jemal
27  Spycher

22  Hochstrasser 
21  Degen  (16  Raimondi 90)
11  Doubai
19  Lulic 

10  Costanzo  (14  C. Schnuewly 65)
  9  Bienvenu 

Unused subs: 
35  Roman
13  De Pierro
24  Mayuka
23  Reggazoni
  9  M. Schnuewly

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
19  Bassong 
20  Dawson (c)
32  Assou-Ekotto 
    (  6  Huddletone 36)

  3  Bale
17  dos Santos
12  Palacios
14  Modric  (21  Kranjcar  46)

  9  Pavlyuchenko 
18  Defoe  (10  Keane 66)

Unused subs: 
21  Cudicini
15  Crouch
  4  Kaboul
  7  Lennon

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Young Boys (Bern)

Yellow and black hooped shirts, yellow shorts, yellow socks

All white with navy trim

  Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Young Boys (Bern)

Lulic  4
Bienvenu  13
Hockstrasser  28

Tottenham Hotspur

Bassong 42
Pavlyuchenko 83

Cards : -  
Young Boys (Bern)

Bienvenu (foul)  72


Tottenham Hotspur  

Assou-Ekotto (foul)  3 
Bassong (foul)  68


Match Report : -  
Luckily for Spurs ... and I mean luckily ... two players who contributed to the side going 0-3 behind in 30 first half minutes contrived to get Tottenham back into the game with a 2-3 defeat that doesn't look too bad over the 90 minutes that had gone before.

It was a shocking start on a plastic pitch that saw the Tottenham players unsure of their grip underfoot.  In some ways it was depressingly reminiscent of the Wembley FA Cup semi against Portsmouth.

Young Boys started playing the game at a high tempo that Spurs found it hard to cope with.  Short, sharp passing in and around the box soon lead to Lulic turning on the edge of the area to strike a low shot that bounced away off the upright with Gomes static.  That was just about two minutes in and even then, it looked like it might be a long night.   The impressive David Degen lured Benoit Assou-Ekotto into a challenge, which looked no more than a tangle of legs, but the Belgian ref saw things differently and awarded the Cameroon defender a yellow card.  Not an ideal situation to be in with only three minutes on the clock.

The free kick was swung in and cleared, but Doubai hit a shot from 23 yards out, which struck Jemal on the back and rolled kindly off Bassong into the path of Lulic on the left and the Bosnian stroked a calm shot past Gomes into the opposite corner for a fourth minute lead.  Considering how long Spurs fans have been waiting for this, it was a horrible way for the experience to begin.

Spurs created an opening with Pav playing in Giovani, but his final touch took the ball a little too close to the keeper and his attempted dink over Wolfli only found his midriff as he spread himself at the Mexican's feet.  Then Bale played a low pass back to Jermain Defoe on the edge of the box and he hit a shot that flew inches over Wolfli's crossbar.

But then things got worse.  Pavlyuchenko gave the ball away in the Young Boys half and they broke through the middle, where Bienvenu turned away from Dawson on the edge of the centre circle and ran away from him, as the England centre-half struggled to turn on the artificial turf, leaving the Cameroon striker a clear run on goal and he side-footed the ball past Gomes as he came towards him.  0-2 and only 13 minutes gone !

Harry had set the team up for our strengths, which was to attack, but we were being taken apart at the back, where the home team had the advantage of knowing how the ball ran on the astroturf.  Spurs' passes ran too long, while theirs found the space in behind defenders, as they were more aware of what weight to put on the ball.  But Tottenham settled down a little, building some attacks and getting some efforts on goal, although not forcing the keeper to make a save.  Pavlyuchenko put a low ball across the face of goal that Defoe could not reach and then both dos Santos and Modric shot wildly over from the edge of the area.

The good work was all undone when a good move saw Bassong get caught too square and he couldn't turn to cut out the through pass from Costanzo that superbly played in Hochstrasser to shoot powerfully past Gomes to make it 3-0 after 28 minutes.  It looked like the Champions League campaign was virtually dead in the water before it had even faced the Swiss Navy.

Tottenham were all at sea.  The body language of the players looked like they would much rather be somewhere else and the confidence that had battered Manchester City on Saturday remained in left luggage.  A fourth looked on the cards and Jemal struck a powerful free-kick that dipped just over the bar, but Gomes had it covered, but Harry had decided something had to be done.  he removed Assou-Ekotto, who's usefulness was somewhat reduced by the early booking and a sending off would definitely not have helped the cause.  Instead, he brought Tom Huddlestone into midfield and with him, his array of passing that was a mystery why he had left him out in the first place.  Bale dropped back to left back and Spurs set about trying to repair some of the damage already done.

With seven minutes to half time, Corluka dropped a pass over the back four and Defoe got onto it, but he was wide on the right and when he got to the dead ball line, there were few viable options in the box and in the end, his low firm cross ended up in the keeper's arms.  But then, out of nothing, Spurs were offered a slim lifeline.  A sliced clearance gave Tottenham a corner and Bale floated it into an area near the centre of the goal, about ten yards out and Sebastien Bassong climbed high, hung in the air and then powered a header past Wolfli and Sutter on the line to make it 1-3.  The score-line looked a bit healthier and almost got another before the break, when Defoe showed good movement to escape his marker, but he was leaning back and could not guide Bale's cross on target.

The half-time whistle came at the wrong time for Spurs, as they were at last pressing on the Young Boys goal.  What the Swiss side had done well in the first half was close Spurs down, giving them no time on the ball to play, to use the ball quickly when they had possession and to take their opportunities.  Four shots and three goals.  It was what Tottenham would have to try to emulate in the second period.

It was something they were going to have to do without the presence of midfielder Luka Modric, who failed to appear after half-time, having shown a bit of a limp during the latter stages of the first half.  Replaced by Niko Kranjcar, perhaps his fellow Croatian's more direct running might trouble the Swiss side more.

That particular aspect did not prove that effective, although Niko worked hard and passed well, he rarely threatened to un-nerve the Young Boys defence.  He did find an early ball in just after the restart, but Defoe was thwarted by Wolfli getting to the low cross just ahead of him.  Spurs worked a Bale long-throw well and Hud smashed the ball across the six yard box with Defoe unable to reach it and then Roman was crowded out, when he tried to turn in the box on 53 minutes.  Pav then got on the end of a low Bale special, with the ball gathering just a bit too much pace off the turf, he could not keep his effort down and the ball went high into the crowd behind the goal.

Again, it had been a good spell of possession and pressure from Tottenham, but they allowed Young Boys to push them back, with Sutter heading across goal from a corner on the hour and then Bienvenu going even closer when he got above Bale, but he could not control his header and it flew over Gomes' hand and bar, when he should have hit the target.

In between, Pavlyuchenko struck a shot rising over the bar from 20 yards out after he ran at their defence and then Bassong tried the same, but his shot was always well wide of the goal.  The game was now going end to end and Degen broke away down their left from our set-piece and Dawson almost brought him down, risking a card of some colour.  However, the Swiss front man took the ball to the by-line and pulled it back for substitute Christian Schneuwly to run on and hit it powerfully, but too high with the goal gaping in front of him.

When play broke up the other end, Spurs won a corner when Pav headed powerfully, but without great direction and the goalie tipped it over in the centre of his goal.  Bassong had a free header from the corner, but failed to keep the ball down too.  It was soon soaring over the top once more, as Palacios played a god awful back pass to Gomes without looking and Bienvenu rescued it to allow Degen to reproduce his run and cross, but this time Gomes knocked the ball away from goal straight to Schenuewly and this time he met the ball on the volley, but could not hit the target in front of him and Spurs escaped going further behind again.

With time running out, it looked like a 1-3 defeat was what Spurs fans would have to accept from this "easy" draw against Young Boys.  But then, Vedran Corluka played a pass into Roman Pavlyuchenko from the right touchline and he stepped over the ball, let it run to Robbie Keane, on for the injured Defoe and the Irishman turned the ball round the corner on the right hand corner of the box to allow the Russian to get in behind his marker and smash a first time shot into the top near post corner.  The keeper will feel disappointed to let the goal in at his near post, but Roman hit the ball so cleanly that it would have been hard to stop it ... as it proved.

Both sides were knocking the ball about, waiting for the final whistle without seeking another vital goal, leaving both sides relatively satisfied after the game.  Young Boys had beaten the fourth best team in the Premier League last season and Tottenham had stuck to holding possession and believing in themselves, which was hard for the fans to do with the first half hour too painfully fresh in the memory.

Having had a bit of a shocker of a game, Pav came up with the goal which might make a lot of difference in the tie.  What is sure is that Tottenham must learn that this is only the qualifying and IF they make it through, they will face the cream of Europe.  The Swiss may make good chocolate, but Spurs will need to rise to the top of their game if they are to go through.

purcell cole


Fan Reaction : -



For Mark Sainsbury's take on the game, click here.
What a shambles Spurs looked in the first 40 minutes of the match. 

Alright, Young Boys got every bounce of the ball and some borderline decisions, but Spurs were off the pace and unsure of what was happening under-foot.  Palacios showed he is not the ball-winning, passing midfielder we need, as he did neither that well tonight and Dawson and Bassong both had nervy games, if I am being kind.  Their inability to turn left them in positions that they got caught out from and they failed to adjust their body shape to counter it.

Modric was crowded out and the two men on Bale every time he got the ball stifled his attacking instincts more than we would have liked to see.  It should have allowed someone else room to make an angle for a pass, but the movement was poor in general and only for Pav's goal did we see some creative movement.

And that goal might prove crucial.  MIGHT.  It depends if Tottenham start the second leg is such leaden legged fashion.  Even saying that, if they do play better (or if they don't) to get through, the group stages will contain teams who show no mercy and the outcome could be embarrassing if they reproduce such a lame effort.

They managed to pull two goals back, but YB could have had another three themselves and don't forget they won 1-0 at Fenerbahce.

There will be another onslaught at the start on Wednesday next week and Spurs will have to hold firm in the face of the most aggression seen from the Swiss since William Tell was a boy.  If they can weather that storm, then they can look forward and after last night, it might just be too scary to look back.

stevie b


Great to see Erik The Viking back on TV, giving his view of the game on Sky Sports.  Shame that he didn't have a great deal to enthuse about though.

Also a shame we always get Gooner Alan Smith commentating on our games.  No passion, little insight and little passion.  What have Sky got against us ... or is there a Gooner producer somewhere in the gallery ? 

I could see all the Gooner dancing about singing their song about Young Boys when we went 0-3 down.  It was head in the hands time.  But when we came back, I thought of their faces tightening up and not being as cocky. 

The team will need to be on their mettle for the return, as Young Boys can play on grass too, but our players might feel a bit more confident and if we approach it like a Premier League game, we might feel more comfortable.

benny the ball




Other scores in the Champions League Qualifying Play Offs first leg :
Dynamo Kiev (UKR) 1 Ajax (HOL) 1 Tuesday
Rosenborg (NOR) 2 FC Copenhagen (DEN) 1 Tuesday
Sparta Prague (CZE) 0 FC Zilinia (SLO) 2 Tuesday
Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS) 1 Auxerre (FRA) 0 Tuesday
FC Basel (SWI) 1 FC Sheriff Tiraspol (MOL) 0 Wednesday
Sporting Braga (POR) 1 Sevilla (SPA) 0 Wednesday
Partizan Belgrade (SER) 2 Anderlecht (BEL) 2 Wednesday
Werder Bremen (GER) 3 Sampdoria (ITA) 1 Wednesday
Red Bull Salzburg (AUS) 2 Hapoel Tel Aviv (ISR) 3 Wednesday


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