Young Boys of Bern (Home)
Premier League

Wednesday 25th August 2010

With a shocker of a debut 30 minutes in the Champions League, many observers are asking if Tottenham are up to the challenge of Champions League football.

Well, playing a team on their own plastic pitch is not perhaps the best gauge of how Spurs might fare against the elite of Europe's leagues, but this game at the Lane might answer a few more questions.  With the Spurs crowd behind them and playing on a more familiar surface, Tottenham can perhaps show how they can play. I am desperately hoping it is not one of those games when they fail to show what they are capable of.

The good surface at White Hart Lane might favour a passing game and Young Boys showed they are able to get that side of their game going and they might yet pose some serious questions to the defence.  It is therefore important to get the marking right and watch the runners, with a clean sheet a priority.

Going forward, which Spurs will surely attempt to do with the pace they are used to playing at in the Premier League, Bale and Lennon should tie up more than a man apiece and it will be a conundrum for the YB's boss as to whether he tries to go for the fourth goal or tries to soak up pressure and then hit on the break, as they did so effectively in Switzerland.   I expect that Defoe will be back and maybe even Luka Modric, as Spurs need to field their top players, who need to turn it on.  The battling win at Stoke will come as a boost to the players and they should maintain the style of play they adopt domestically, as the Swiss side showed signs of not being able to cope with it in the second half on their own ground.

Pav might be back with Robbie and JD will feature at some stage, but his groin injury has been hanging around for a while now and he might not be risked for the whole 90 minutes. 

Michael Dawson must be vocal alongside (most probably) Ledley King instead of Younes Kaboul, after the two played together on Saturday.  It may be more comforting to have the two regular centre-backs together, but they need to be keenly aware of where players are moving off them.  With Assou-Ekotto and Corluka needing to hold their positions to prevent supply in from the wings, it could be a narrow back four, with Bale and Lennon having to funnel back to help out.  Winning the middle of midfield is an important battle, as was shown when Tommy Hud came on in Switzerland, as suddenly, the game started flowing in the other direction and Spurs grabbed their two goals.

But, as we saw, they break with pace and that could be an issue that Spurs will need to tighten up on.  For all of Scott Sutter's column inches about wanting to play for England, I am not sure the current incumbents in the full back positions will exactly be quaking in their sponsored boots, but he will want to give a good display in front of his mates.  The other defenders are also strong in the tackle, with the chance to impress a big audience, so they won't hesitate in putting in a good shift.

If Spurs are unable to get past Young Boys, then we have to say well done to them and start all over again, as their are bigger and better sides awaiting in the group stages, so the potential of the team would not be tested until another top fourth place can be achieved.

The game could go one of two possible ways and I am hoping that it ends up the way we want and not in a 1-1 draw ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    2      Young Boys    0


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); David Bentley (out - ankle); Jamie O'Hara (out - back); Luka Modric (out - groin); William Gallas (ineligible);

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


ITV 1 - (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.






Tottenham Hotspur   4    Young Boys   0      (Half-time score : 2-0)

Champions League Qualifying Play-off second leg
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Wednesday 25th August 2010
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   34,709
Referee :  M. Duhamel (France)
Young Boys kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Heavy rain for most of the game
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes  (21  Cudicini  46)

22  Corluka
26  King  (c)
20  Dawson
32  Assou-Ekotto

  3  Bale  (21  Kranjcar  82)
  6  Huddlestone
12  Palacios 
  7  Lennon

15  Crouch      (p)
18  Defoe     (  9  Pavlyuchenko  61)

Unused subs: 
  4  Kaboul
10  Keane
17  dos Santos
19  Bassong
  8  Jenas

Young Boys :

  1  Wolfli (c)

  7  Sutter  (23  Reggazoni 62)
20  Affolter
25  Jemal
17  Spycher

22  Hochstrasser 
21  Degen 
11  Doubai  (14  C. Schnuewly 82)
19  Lulic   

10  Costanzo  (  9  M Schnuewly 61)
  9  Bienvenu 

Unused subs: 
35  Roman
13  De Pierro
24  Mayuka

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

all white with navy trim

Yellow and black hooped shirts, yellow shorts, yellow socks

  Young Boys
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Crouch 5
Defoe 32
Crouch 61
Crouch (p) 78

Young Boys


Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Palacios (foul) 51
Pavlyuchenko (foul) 63

Young Boys

Lulic (foul) 37
Degen (foul) 69

Lulic (foul - second yellow) 77

Match Report : -  
What looked a tough task after a first leg on plastic, ended up a more straight-forward win that left the Young Boys of Bern looking like they had nothing to offer in the second leg on grass and the Spurs men took full advantage.  Although having said that, the score could easily have been 7-0 or 8-0, but Spurs settled for the Peter Crouch hat-trick and a dodgy "handball" assisted goal from Jermain Defoe to progress to the Champions League group stage.

In fact, even the driving rain that swept into North London in the mid-afternoon failed to dampen the players' enthusiasm for the battle ahead.  With Spurs missing Luka Modric and Giovani dos Santos relegated to the bench, the team lined up for the kick off with Tom Huddlestone starting after his impressive sub's appearance in Switzerland, alongside Aaron Lennon on the right side.  Jermain Defoe partnered Crouch, in for Pavlyuchenko and captain Ledley King replaced Sebastien Bassong alongside Michael Dawson in the middle of defence in the other change from the first leg starting XI. 

Tottenham taking the field in their all-white European kit to the strains of the Champions League theme was something I had waited to see and hear for many years.

With the Swiss side kicking off, it would be interesting to see how they would cope with the different playing surface, although made slick by the soaking it got, it might have played a little more like plastic than Spurs would have been used to.  The need for a good start and the early goal saw Tottenham set off with a good tempo.

Having won an early corner on the Spurs right, Gareth Bale crossed the pitch to swing it in, but the Young Boys managed to knock the ball away, although straight back to the Welshman.  Bale picked up the ball, cut inside into the box and stood up a cross to the far post, where Michael Dawson was underneath it, but left the ball for the tall figure of Peter Crouch coming in behind him to bury his header low across the keeper to give Tottenham a 1-0 lead within five minutes of the start and put Spurs level at 3-3 on aggregate.

The crowd's early joy was tempered by the sight of Heurelho Gomes laying on the ground holding his groin after kicking a ball out.  He looked uncomfortable and was limping visibly, but either the Swiss side had not noticed or could not force him into a period under pressure while he was hampered by the injury.  He had to punch one corner out when he could have caught it, but apart from that there was only a shot that faded inches wide when a Jemal shot was blocked and Hochstrasser hooked the ball towards goal and went closer than perhaps he thought it might have ended up in the 39th minute.

By that stage of the game, Spurs had put themselves into the group stages.  Benoit Assou-Ekotto stationed himself on the edge of the box and struck a cleared corner very cleanly and the shot then struck Jemal flush in his chest (although some fans cried for handball).  The force of the shot knocked the wind out of the central defender and he needed treatment to recover.  23 minutes in, a Crouch knock down of Corluka's cross very nearly set up Huddlestone, but he was not quite close enough to the ball and his shot saw him slice under the ball and then Assou-Ekotto strode forward out of the depths of his own half to reach 20 yards out from the Young Boys goal before he let fly and the ball flew over the bar.

Just when Gomes was asking to be substituted, Spurs nicked the ball away from YB and JD played a one-two with Bale, leaving him on the edge of the D, where he took the ball down, quite obviously using his arm to bring the ball under control, before smashing it left footed between the keeper and his right hand post.  At 2-0 and with 32 minutes gone, Spurs fans could breathe a little more easily. 

It also seemed to free the Spurs players up a bit more and Lennon's through ball allowed Defoe in on goal, but his shot fizzed just wide as it flew across the goal and past the opposite post.  Young Boys really should have pulled a goal back, when Gomes' injury caused confusion in the Tottenham defence, with both Dawson and Corluka leaving Costanzo's cross and Henri Bienvenu was left with a free header from six yards out, but he could only knock it over the bar, with the limited mobility of Gomes rendering him helpless had it been better directed.

With half-time giving the crowd a chance to get their breath back, Carlo Cudicini was being given a good work-out by Sam Erith (the fitness coach) and it was evident that he would be replacing Gomes in a move that perhaps should have taken place twenty minutes before the end of the first period. 

The second half saw Tottenham press towards the Paxton Road end, with a 50th minute free kick being swung in by Bale, with Corluka not showing enough desire to get on the end of the ball, with the goal yawning in front of him and no YB player picking him up.  Four minutes later, a ball into the box was not adequately cleared by Dawson as the ball slid off his foot and it dropped conveniently for Bienvenu, who spurned another straight-forward chance, by not getting enough weight on his shot and Cudicini got behind the ball and grabbed it comfortably.

Bale was the key factor in the victory and his cross in the 56th minute was arrowing to Jermain Defoe in the six yard box, but Spycher did very well to get something on the bal land to get the ball away from the position of danger.  The corner that came from the clearance was headed down by King, but it hit a white shirt and dropped to Crouch, who tried to power a shot home, but Wolfi (Smith) did well to throw himself in the way and keep the ball out from close range.  However, the goalie was helpless just four minutes later, as Crouch got up well to meet Bale's corner and this time made no mistake from a central position to head down past Wolfi.  Degen, who had impressed in the first leg was not happy and took a swing at Crouch ... mainly because he was so frustrated with Lulic, who failed to challenge the England front man.  In fact, Degen was lucky to be on the pitch, as he had been leaving his foot in late and snarling and complaining about every decision that went against him.  Such a contrast to his play last week and his obvious happier countenance when things were all going his way.  He was booked for a late tackle on Huddlestone, with the referee doing well to go back to book him after play had been allowed to go on. 

Lulic had already been booked for a cynical foul.  He was not the same character who gave the Spurs defence trouble in the first leg ... more that he was troubling Spurs players by how injured they might get if they were near him when the ball appeared.  Jermain Defoe's groin injury had limited him to 60 minutes and Pavlyuchenko came on to replace him, and was almost immediately cautioned for a late tackle on Affolter.

Then another fine passing move worked the ball through the Young Boys side to end with Gareth Bale wide on the left.  He looked as though he might have lost the ball, but he wriggled through two yellow shirted players in the box and Lulic whipped his legs away from underneath him and the French referee waited for what seemed like an interminable length of time, before blowing his whistle and pointing to the penalty spot.  In the ensuing melee around the referee and the red card followed, while Lulic was lead from the pitch.  Crouch grabbed the ball and wanting his hat-trick, he placed it and waited for the delay to pass before making an awkward run up to the ball and putting it past Wolfi, who dived the wrong way, into the keeper's bottom right hand corner.  4-0 and the game was up for Young Boys.

But there was more left in the game, even with the visitors reduced to ten men and Spurs wanting to reserve a bit of energy for Saturday's match.  Kranjcar came on for Bale for the reason of saving him for the Premier League match and Spurs continued to attack the Swiss side's goal.

A corner from Hud was planted onto Corluka's head, but once more he displayed his disliking for heading the ball by putting a routine header over the top, when anything on target would have stood a good chance of being a goal.  When Spurs worked the ball down the left to find Roman Pavlyuchenko, the Russian held the ball up well and played a very unselfish pass square to Crouch as he ran in and he was denied a fourth goal by Wolfi spreading his legs to block the ball in the 84th minute.

With the flanks giving Tottenham a lot of attacking potential, Lennon swapped pass with Kranjcar and as the ball popped up, Lennon made a volley for himself, but did not keep the ball on target, with it going over the top by a few feet.

With hardly any efforts on goal, Young Boys capitulated pretty easily and after the first game, you would have thought they would have gained great confidence from the win.  However, Spurs played a good tempo and passed pretty well, although they must not give away cheap possession as better teams will be much more vicious when you don't have the ball.  Spurs were also lucky that they were not punished when they made mistakes and while it might not have made much difference to the outcome, it might have heaped some unnecessary pressure on themselves.

Flags waved and fans cheered, but there were still murmurs of discontent as some left the ground.  There will be games ahead that will test Spurs to a different level than they have been used to in the group stages.  Will this be a good thing or will it just lead to cat calls from sections of the crowd ?  Well, unless you play against the best you might not ever find out how good you are.  ... or how bad.  It will be a valuable experience and getting this far might attract a different class of players and that might consequently help us in the domestic league competition.

It is another step in the development of the club.

We haven't made it yet.  But we have made the Champions League group stages and that is somewhere we haven't been before.  Maybe it will be those single steps that are at the beginning of a thousand mile journey.  The group might take us over the thousand miles, but this first step is a significant one whatever the outcome of the first Champions League campaign.

sparky marky


Fan Reaction : -



To mis-interpret Terry Venables and Gordon Williams' book title.

And Young Boys certainly looked a different proposition away from their home plastic and on the lush turf of White Hart Lane.  Spurs set about their task and save for a couple of scoreable chances that the Swiss side spurned, looked untroubled with a comfortable 4-0 win.

Indeed, the Young Boys players showed a very different side of their character with some overly physical challenges and petulance, which showed when things didn't go their way, as it had in the first leg.

Spurs played well and used the ball to Crouch particularly well. in the first half.  Knocking the ball into him at above head height is not the best use of his natural length.  Playing the ball to him at below head level allows him to either nod the ball on to a team-mate or to chest it and hold the ball up.  The first tactic seemed the best option tonight and the side and especially Crouch benefitted from it.  His hat-trick showed a way that Spurs can play with him as the spearhead of the attack and not just as a lamp-post to aim high balls at.

The whole side played pretty well and while Young Boys do not represent the pinnacle of European footballing excellence, they are still and accomplished side, but obviously better at home.  One must assume they played way above this performance if they beat Fenerbahce away.

Spurs will need to tighten up considerably in keeping possession of the football during the group stage games, as there will be no respite if they are as profligate then.  As it was the first game showed the difference between being used to playing on a un-natural surface to playing your natural game.

How Tottenham will fare in the group stages ... a place where they have never been before ... we will eagerly anticipate.

steve morley

Watching this game was a bit like watching a Premier League game against West Ham United.

The away fans sang the whole game, held their flags up and were quite happy their side had lost 0-4.

the funky phantom








Other scores in the Champions League Qualifying Play Offs first leg :
Anderlecht (BEL) 2 Partizan Belgrade (SER) (4-4 on agg.  Win 3-2 on pens) 2 Tuesday
Hapoel Tel Aviv (ISR) 1 Red Bull Salzburg (AUS)   (Win 4-3 on agg.) 1 Tuesday
Sampdoria (ITA) 2 Werder Bremen (GER)   (Win 5-4 on agg.) 2 Tuesday
Sevilla (SPA) 3 Sporting Braga (POR)   (Win 5-3 on agg.) 4 Tuesday
FC Sheriff Tiraspol (MOL) 0 FC Basel (SWI)   (Win 4-0 on agg.) 3 Tuesday
Ajax (HOL)   (Win 3-2 on agg.) 2 Dynamo Kiev (UKR) 1 Wednesday
FC Copenhagen (DEN) (2-2 on agg.  - win on away goals) 1 Rosenborg (NOR) 0 Wednesday
FC Zilinia (SLO)   (Win 3-0 on agg.) 1 Sparta Prague (CZE) 0 Wednesday
Auxerre (FRA)   (Win 2-1 on agg.) 2 Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS) 0 Wednesday


Back to homepage