|OPPONENTS||Dinamo Tbilisi (Georgia)|
|DATE||Thursday 22nd August 2013|
|VENUE||Boris Paichadze Stadium|
All I know about the opposition for this Europa League play off is
that they are the current Georgian champions, they lost to Steaua
Buchresti in the Champions League qualifier and I remember that when
we beat them 5-1 at home in the second leg of the UEFA Cup tie in
1973, all our goals were scored with headers.
They might be better in the air these days, but I know little about their current team.
So there is little that I can say to shed light on what the match might hols, other than to cast a word of caution, with Glasgow Celtic having lost to Shakthar Karagandy (Who are they ? Exactly !) this week after a long trek East. Spurs will no doubt put a reasonably strong side out, as they are fresh and keen to get accustomed to the new players who have been brought in, so there should be a professional approach that might see us bring a slim lead back to the Lane.
|PREDICTION||Dinamo Tbilisi 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|DINAMO TBILISI TEAM NEWS :|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Aaron Lennon (foot), Sandro (knee), Lewis Holtby (knee) and Emmanul Adebayor (bereavement) are all left out of the squad that travelled to Georgia and Younes Kaboul might start in the team for the first time in a year.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Tbilisi 0 (0) Tottenham Hotspur
Europa League Play-off First leg
Thursday 22nd August 2013 Kick off 17:00 (UK time)
Boris Paichadze Stadium
Khurtsilava (foul on ) 20
Gvelesiani (foul on ) 29
Dembele (foul on ) 37
Rose (foul on ) 59
|Crowd : 22,500||Weather : Warm|
|Referee : Pol van Boekel (Holland)||Assistant Referees : Davie Goossens (Holland), Bas van Dongen (Holland)|
|Fourth Official : Ed Janssen (Holland)||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the South Stand (Tsabadze Street) end in the first half.|
|Dinamo Tbilisi :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
30 Giorgi GVELESIANI
9 Jaba DVALI
Tom CARROLL 71)
9 Roberto SOLDADO (37 Harry KANE 72)
|Manager : Dusan Uhrin Jr.||Manager : Andre Villas-Boas|
|Sponsor : None||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
Spurs eased through this Europa League play-off, without even having to go through the gears, as they raced into a 5-0 first leg lead to take back to White Hart Lane next week, when we can expect to see a range of our younger players given a starting role against a Dinamo Tbilisi side that looks as thought they had given up the ghost by the hour mark.
Putting out a strong side,
AVB sent a message that he was taking this competition seriously and
wanted to gain a big enough margin not to have to risk too many
first teamers in the second leg, just before we face Arsenal.
So, Tottenham kicked off first half in stadium that saw England's
2-0 World Cup qualifier win in November 1996, with Teddy Sheringham
and Les Ferdinand scoring the goals. In our traditional
European kit of all white, Spurs faced Tbilisi in all dark blue.
An away goal 11 minutes into the match gave Spurs confidence and the freedom to play. With some neat one touch football, playing little triangles, Spurs were comfortable on the ball, but a little to comfortable sometimes, as when Capoue was robbed of the ball outside his own penalty area in the 15th minute by Dvali, who then shot wide with only Lloris to beat, but it had been a foul to gain possession and Spurs had a free-kick. A couple of minutes later, Soldado fired a low shot on goal at the near post, after Townsend tried to cross from right, but two defenders cut it out and then tried to keep it in, only to gift the ball to the Spaniard. Although only a couple of yards out, Lloria got down low to beat it out the shot. Townsend was causing havoc down the right and one run brought a yellow card for Gvelesiani who fouled Andros as he cut inside to edge of D and was fouled by the Tbilisi defender. From the free-kick, Gylfi Sigurdsson bent the ball around the right side of the wall, but could not get it to come back enough and it hit the outside of the side-netting.
Tbilisi brought a save out of Hugo Lloris after 25 minutes, when a low cross in from the left saw Dvali stoop low ahead of the near post, about eight yards out, to head across goal. Our keeper had to be on his toes to dive to his left to push the ball wide of goal. When Spurs broke forward next, Khurtsilava was booked for bad tackle on Sigurdsson and it was the Icelander who played a neat one-two with Soldado on the half hour on the edge of the Dinamo box, but was stopped by two defenders in front him, with Rose free outside him on left.
Tbilisi got a bit more of the ball in this period of the game and Lloris had to rush out to volley ball away from edge of box as diagonal ball came in on 35 minutes, then Dembele was booked for a foul on Merebashvili from behind in the centre circle, just prior to Grigalashvili lashing a shot over the bar from outside box. The hosts lost Xisco about five minutes before the break, with the more muscular, but equally ineffective, Vuoho coming on. With two minutes remaining in the first half, Naughton played a nice chip over the left back for Townsend to run in on the right wing. He got to the line, checked back, selling full back and allowing him to dink a cross to the middle of goal for the unmarked Paulinho to head in past the exposed goalkeeper from five yards out. At 2-0, the game was almost sealed.
In injury time at the end of
the first half, a free-kick was cleared out to Rose, 40 yards out
and he hit a first time shot low but straight at keeper. No
repeat of the Arsenal goal this time !!
In the 58th minute, Townsend was again the maker of a goal and this did wrap the game up. Townsend raced away from his marker and got to the dead ball line, from where he pulled the ball back low from the right for Soldado to finish low at the near post on the corner of the six yard box to make it 3-0. It was all becoming a bit too easy.
Danny Rose picked up a
yellow card for a foul on Khurtsilava, which was rich as at this
stage the home players starting grappling Tottenham's as they went
past them. Chadli came on for Sigurdsson, as Spurs started to
rest players for Sunday's match with Swansea City and on the other
flank Townsend was till tearing it up, this time dinking a cross for
Paulinho to try an outrageous overhead kick that was way off target.
Rose was the outlet for Chadli's left wing run, pulling the ball
back to the full back 20 yards out on left of D, hitting a
first time shot across keeper to pick out the top right hand corner
of the net for Tottenham's fourth goal. That was in the 64th
minute and then three minutes later, it was five, when Chadli got
away on the left and put in low cross in corridor of uncertainty and
Soldado volleyed in from the edge of the six yard box in the middle
of the goal.
Tottenham's most worrying moment came with 15 minutes left, as Khurtsilava crossed low to the near post for Dvali, who hit a low shot that Lloris kept out with legs before Dawson cleared. Another chance for Tbilisi came courtesy of Kaboul and Dawson getting in a mix-up, with the former kicking the ball against the latter in the middle of our penalty area, leaving Dvali with a clear shot that he pt across Lloris, but the French international dived to his right to push the ball wide. Then out of nowhere, there was a kid running onto the pitch. I hope that he was signed up by the home team, as he showed more movement off the ball than a lot of their players. I am sure UEFA will look into this and they should also look at the use of laser pens, as Chadli had one shone on him as he went to take a throw-in. Things could have got even worse for Dinamo, as the Belgian winger stood up a great cross from the left for Kane on the other side of the box. The striker headed the ball back the way it had come and left the goalkeeper stranded, but he was saved by the post, with the ball rebounding out to safety.
The last chance of the match came with four minutes of normal time left, as Grigalashvili crossed low from the right and Vuoho shot wide from about 10 yards out. The remainder of the time was spent with Spurs keeping the ball and Kane nearly getting away but he was stopped by a good tackle and then it was all over.
Spurs had rendered the second leg almost meaningless with this comprehensive victory. In doing so, they have the chance to leave players out for other games and give the youngsters a go, as well as showing the world that even without Bale, they can put in a professional showing to see off the opposition. Dinamo weren't the greatest team, but you can only beat what is put in front of you and we have struggled against teams of this type in Europe before, so to win this convincingly is satisfying.
The group stage looks a reality unless something happens to Tbilisi in the next week, so it means more games, more travelling and with a little bit of luck ... more goals !!
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|What you thought|
|Other play-off scores :|
|Swansea City||5||Petrolul Ploiesti (ROM)||1||Thursday|
|Udinese (ITA)||1||Liberec (CZE)||3||Thursday|
|Salzburg (AUS)||5||Zaligris (LIT)||0||Thursday|
|Appollon (CYP)||2||Nice (FRA)||0||Thursday|
|Aktobe (KAZ)||2||Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)||3||Thursday|
|Jablonec (CZE)||1||Real Betis (SPA)||2||Thursday|
|Kuban (RUS)||1||Feyenoord (HOL)||0||Thursday|
|Qarabag (AZE)||0||Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)||1||Thursday|
|Macabbi Haifa (ISR)||2||Astra (ROM)||0||Thursday|
|Atrimitros (GRE)||1||AZ Alkmaar (HOL)||3||Thursday|
|FC Minsk (BLR)||0||Standard Liege (BEL)||2||Thursday|
|St. Gallen (SWI)||2||Spartak Moscow (RUS)||2||Thursday|
|Molde (NOR)||0||Rubin Kazan (RUS)||2||Thursday|
|Esjberg (DEN)||4||St. Etienne (FRA)||3||Thursday|
|Kalju (EST)||1||Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR)||3||Thursday|
|FH Hafnarffjordur (ICE)||0||Genk (BEL)||2||Thursday|
|Tromso (NOR)||2||Besiktas (TUR)||0||Thursday|
|Elfsborg (SWE)||1||Nordslaelland (DEN)||1||Thursday|
|Sevilla (SPA)||4||Slask Wroclaw (POL)||1||Thursday|
|Pandurii (ROM)||0||Sporting Braga (POR)||1||Thursday|
|Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR)||P||PAOK (GRE)||P||Thursday|
|Chernomorets Odesa (UKR)||1||Skenderbeu (ALB)||0||Thursday|
|Partizan Belgrade (SER)||1||FC Thun (SWI)||0||Thursday|
|Rijeka (CRO)||2||VfB Stuttgart (GER)||1||Thursday|
|Vojvodina (SER)||1||Sherrif (MOL)||1||Thursday|
|Zulte Waregem (BEL)||1||APOEL Nicosia (CYP)||1||Thursday|
|Grasshoppers (SWI)||1||Fiorentina (ITA)||2||Thursday|
|Rapid Wien (AUS)||1||Dila (GEO)||0||Thursday|
|Estoril (POR)||2||Pashing ()||0||Thursday|
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