|OPPONENTS||Rubin Kazan (Russia)|
|DATE||Thursday 20th October 2011|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
|PREVIEW||Not knowing a
great deal about Rubin Kazan, it is difficult to preview the Europa
League tie, but they are in good form, with their season coming to a
conclusion, for the last time at this time of the year, as they move
in line with central European clubs calendar in future.
One familiar face in the opposition will be Obafemi Martins, who scored last season's winning goal in the League Cup Final against Arsenal. While we were all for that, let's hope he doesn't repeat the feat this time around and that Spurs will be able to rack up three points to top the group. They also have the Finnish Eremenko brothers, one of whom played for Kilmarnock, in amongst a league of nations, with players from Spain, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Israel, Lithuania, Georgia, Nigeria and Belarus as well as from Russia, of course.
Much will depend on the team Tottenham field and with only two fit central defenders, it will be a risk ahead of the trip to Blackburn on Sunday, but one that has to be made. However, with a lead in the match, Spurs could bring them off to rest them and give others experience in the back four, but Rubin are not to be taken lightly and while the youngsters will play, there should be an experienced spine in the side and the accent should be on scoring, which we have not done a lot of in this competition since the opening 5-0 away win at Hearts.
Pav needs to step up for this match and if he wants to leave, a good performance against a side form his home country, with television exposure back home will be a good advert for his services. Conversely, if he wants to stay, he must really start showing his ability and having scored against Shamrock, he might be up for this one too.
With Danny Rose fit again, he will play left back and Harry might keep some of the first choice players on the bench. Whichever team he chooses will find Rubin more of a match than our previous two opponents.
Spurs should have a good chance against a side who have come a long way, but a win might just about be enough to get through to the knock out stages, with the reverse games still to come.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 2 Rubin Kazan (Russia) 1|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs will be missing Michael Dawson (Achilles), Ledley King (groin), William Gallas (calf), Vedran Corluka (foot) and Tom Huddlestone (ankle).
Returning to fitness are Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, Sandro and Aaron Lennon, who could all play, while Tom Carroll, Giovani dos Santos and Andros Townsend might feature too.
|RUBIN KAZAN TEAM NEWS :|
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
1 (1) Rubin Kazan (Russia) 0 (0)
Thursday 20th October 2011 Kick off 20:05
White Hart Lane
Sharonov (foul) 32
Bochetti (dissent) 34
Eremenko (foul) 82
|Crowd : 24,058||Weather : - Clear, chilly|
|Referee : Manuel Jorge Neves Moreira de Sousa (Portugal)||Assistant Referees : Jose Cardinal, Jose Ramalho (Portugal)|
|Fourth Official : Rui Silva (Portugal)||Additional Assistants : Vasco Santos, Cosme Machado (Portugal)|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Rubin Kazan (Russia) :||kit|
9 Martins 61)
|Manager : Harry Redknapp||Manager : Kurban Berdyev|
|Sponsor : Aurasma||Shirt sponsor : -|
|Kit Supplier : Puma||Kit Supplier : Umbro|
With one swipe of his boot, Roman Pavlyuchenko showed what he can do when he puts his mind to it and condemned his countrymen to a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane, as Spurs continued their Europa League campaign. Albeit a narrow win, it was one that all but hands Tottenham a place in the next stage, although they will want to win another game just to make sure they finish top of the group.
Spurs had changed personnel quite a bit since the game against Newcastle United the previous Sunday, with so few fit central defenders Jake Livermore was shifted back into defence for the match, alongside captain Sebastien Bassong. Tom Carroll returned to his Europa League position, as did Giovani dos Santos, in midfield, where Sandro and Aaron Lennon were both given a run out as they returned from injury. Relaying on more experienced strikers for this game, the two up top were Defoe and Pav.
The early running was made by Spurs, with Pav unleashing a powerfully hit shot from 25 yards out that ripped past the goal but wide of the target in the second minute and five minutes later, Giovani struck a shot that had all the pace taken off it by a deflection off a defender. But then Rubin came into the game, utilising the width of the pitch and getting in behind the Spurs full backs. Firstly, they won a corner and Navas won a free header, but couldn't hit the target and then Karadeniz got on the end of a left wing cross that was played in behind Danny Rose and the little Kazan winger got a header on the ball from five yards out, but Gomes had made himself big and beat out the effort for a corner from point blank range. It was a golden opportunity and could have resulted in Spurs going behind in the 15th minute. 90 seconds later, Karadeniz returned the favour for Valdez to head at goal, but his attempt was easily left by Gomes as it went too high.
At the other end, captain Bassong made a forward foray and played in Defoe, who shot just wide, before Valdez had another chance from a cut back from the left side of the box from the dead ball line, but he failed to get any purchase on his shot and it gratefully trickled through to Gomes as he flopped to his right.
A crunching tackle by two Rubin players on Jake Livermore in the centre circle came about as Spurs tried to over-pass the ball, but the Spurs man won it and the ball was soon with Aaron Lennon, now on the left wing. He played it inside to Rose, who drove across the face of the box to the 'D' and then cut back, being brought down by Rubin skipper Sharonov. He received a yellow card and the ref moved the ball back out of the 'D' for the free-kick to be lined up by Pavlyuchenko. The Rubin wall looked a bit of a shambles before the kick was taken and Kyle Walker lined himself up behind the wall and in the goalkeeper's line of sight. When Pav began his run up, Walker ran off to the side and the Rubin wall broke into rubble, with players pulling out, diving on the floor to block a low shot and ducking under the ball as Pav hit a screamer that arrowed into the top left corner of Ryzhikov's goal via the underside of the bar and in to give Tottenham a welcome lead.
The goal was a revelation for a couple of reasons. One, it came direct from a free-kick ... something we are not very good at in competitive matches. And secondly, it came from the right boot of Roman Pavlyuchenko, who earlier that day was the subject of comments about a bid being accepted for him in January, although Harry Redknapp did say that he didn't want the Russian to go. Roman does score some stunning goals, but not really enough of them to make him a number one choice for a shirt in the starting eleven.
Bocchetti hit a centrally located free kick at goal from nearly 30 yards out when Defoe had been adjudged to have handballed, but his shot sipped too late to trouble Gomes, who was right behind it but underneath it as it sailed over the bar into the Paxton end. In the last minute of the half, two Russians had the last say with Pav shooting from the left side of the box and his shot that looked to be bending inside the far post was pushed wide by keeper Ryzhikov.
The second half started much the same as the first with Pav shooting at goal, but this time it was out for a corner off a defender, but then Rubin forced Gomes into a save with a reflex block on Sandro's inadvertent header towards his own goal and then the Brazilian keeper had to be alert when prevent Valdez' shot low to his right side after the Paraguayan had taken the ball off Lennon. Just after the hour, Noboa had a chance to score when Rose lost the ball and he put his shot wide when under pressure, but he had time to at least hit the target. As Rubin were having a decent spell of pressure, Redknapp introduced Assou-Ekotto and then, not long later, brought on Kaboul and Modric to try and see out the game.
A 72nd minute chance came for Jermain Defoe, with Carroll releasing Lennon to go around his marker and knock a cross in that Defoe headed at goal, only to see the Rubin goalie push it aside from just inside the post. Kaboul twice blocked efforts on goal when the ball ran loose in the Tottenham box and also made a timely tackle on the edge of the area, when it could have been easy to give away a penalty. Benoit also produced a well-timed challenge, just as one of the Rubin players looked like he was about to shoot. Obafemi Martins, a previous thorn in our side when he played for Newcastle, came on and had one of the blocked shots, but he also had an uncontested header in the six yard box that he put wide. A free kick two minutes for the end cold have spelled trouble for Spurs, but Gomes took the ball comfortably and he had a good game, coping with the whipped in crosses the Russian side had produced.
And that was about the last chance of the match, with Spurs holding on to a win, with a side that perhaps suffered from the changes, while Rubin will be looking to do better n two weeks time, when Tottenham make the long journey for the return in Russia.
Harry Redknapp will be pleased with the result, even though it was not a great performance and those who stayed away will be pleased that they saved their money and watched it on Channel 5. For those of us there, it was pleasing to see Tom Carroll have a good game, although he tired towards the end of the match and Younes Kaboul played a vital role in the win, despite only being on the pitch for 17 minutes. Heurelho Gomes should also be mentioned for making three very important stops.
But the return with Kazan will be a test of the novice players, as few first teamers will be risked on such a long flight with a game couple of days later, giving more the opportunity for game time in the first eleven. If the youngsters can win that one, they may well get a run in the last two group games, leaving Harry to protect his first team picks.
The Funky Phantom
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|What you thought|
|Burton Bradstock||I think some of
the lack of fluidity in our play probably came from the players not
having played together that much. You could see that Carroll
wanted to give the ball and get the return, but more often than not,
he didn't receive it and with Livermore being unaccustomed to
playing at centre-half, he sometimes did things that were not quite
But it was a decent enough performance despite the dodgy start when Rubin found space wide and almost scored a couple of times.
It was a great free-kick by Pav, as we do not score enough goals direct from free-kicks and he is capable of scoring very good goals, but he needs to apply himself more in the grubby side of the game in closing down opponents and making a nuisance of himself.
But another home win, will have pleased Harry, who I am sure will want to win against PAOK in the next group match at the Lane and hopefully take a point in Russia in two weeks time.
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