OPPONENTS Fiorentina
COMPETITION Europa League Round of 32 Second leg
DATE Thursday 26th February 2015
VENUE Artemio Franchi, Firenze






No preview prepared.
PREDICTION Fiorentina    1         Tottenham Hotspur    0

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Fiorentina  2 (0)                                                                              Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)
[Fiorentina win 3-1 on aggregate]

Europa League Round of 32 Second Leg
Thursday 26th February 2015                                                                                                Kick off 18:00
Artemio Franchi, Firenze
Gomez  53m 23s
Salah  70m 12s
Badelj (foul on Bentlaeb)  36
Salah (taking shirt off) 72 


Davies (foul on Badelj) 50 


Crowd :   , Weather :  Chilly
Referee :  Hüseyin Göçek (TUR) Assistant Referees :  Mustafa Eyisoy; Orkun Aktaş (TUR)
Fourth Official :  Serkan Ok (TUR) Additional Assistants :  Mete Kalkavan (TUR), Barış Şimşek (TUR)
UEFA Delegate :  Zoran Cvrk (CRO) UEFA Referee Observer : Edgar Steinborn (GER)
Fiorentina kicked off.
Game time : -  90+ 4 minutes.
Fiorentina : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Murara NETO

  4  Micah RICHARDS
19  BASANTA  (  2  Gonzalo RODRIGUEZ)
15  Stefan SAVIC
28  Marco ALONSO

14  Matias FERNANDEZ  (10  Alberto AQUILANI 25)
  5  Milan BADELJ     
7  David PIZARRO (c)
17  JOAQUIN  (23  Manuel PASQUAL 25)

74  Mohamed SALAH       

33  Mario GOMEZ 

Unused subs: 
40  Nenad TOMOVIC
  Elhadji BABACAR
72  Josip ILLICIC

    1  Hugo LLORIS (c)

  5  Jan VERTONGHEN  (  2  Kyle WALKER 75)
21  Federico FAZIO
33  Ben DAVIES     

42  Nabil BENTALEB  (18  Harry KANE 63)
25  Benjamin STAMBOULI

22  Nacer CHADLI  (17  Andros TOWNSEND 63)
23  Christian ERIKSEN

11  Erik LAMELA

  9  Roberto SOLDADO

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
Danny ROSE
38  Ryan MASON

Manager :  Vincenzo Montella Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Shirt sponsor :  - Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :   Joma Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

Tottenham were their own worst enemy as they lost at the Round of 32 stage for the second season running, committing basic mistake sin handing FIorentina two goals to allow the Italian side to go through 3-1 on aggregate.

Mauricio Pochettino changed things around once more, with the League Cup Final on the horizon on Sunday.  Lloris, Eriksen, Vertonghen, Bentaleb and Chadli started, while Rose, Walker, Kane and Mason all started on the bench.

The game was an odd one with Fiorentina playing more like the away team, with Spurs controlling much of the play apart from the Italian club's breakaways. Fiorentina only needed a draw, while Spurs needed to score one more than them, unless it got to more than one goal for Fiorentina.  The first shot of the match came in the fifth minute when Badelj was on the edge of the D and was forced to shoot early by being closed down, but his effort went wide, while Eriksen mis-controlled the ball on a bobbly pitch just outside the Fiorentina box, with it running to Lamela, who drove a shot at goal that bounced just in front of the keeper, but he was right behind it.

On the half hour, Spurs had the golden chance to open the scoring, as they broke from a Fiorentina corner. Lamela received the ball towards the halfway line and played a through ball where Eriksen had run into an offside position just inside the home team's half, but Soldado had run from deep and was onside to take the ball towards goal. As he approached the penalty area, the keeper Neto slipped and Soldado looked to play the ball left to Nacer Chadli, but there wasn't enough weight on the pass and Neto managed to grab the ball before the Belgian could reach it. Had it been a better ball, there would have been an open goal for Chadli.

Crosses came into the Fiorentina area as Tottenham pressed in the Italian's half, but few found a white shirt and for all the control, they did not have the goals to match.

Fiorentina claimed a penalty when Gomez's shot popped up off Fazio's foot and hit his arm, but it  wasn't predictable as to where the ball would have gone, so any award would have been harsh in the extreme. Lamela got on the end of a long cross, but was penalised for a foul, just before the half time whistle blew.

Five minutes into the second half, Spurs failed to clear a Fiorentina attack effectively, with the ball dropping kindly for Badelj inside the box, but his shot was straight at Lloris. After a dispute over a throw in which was obviously Tottenham's, Tony Jiminez was dismissed to the stands and a free-kick was given to the home side ... what for I don't know.

A minute later Mario Gomez had put the Italians ahead with a breakaway goal. Fazio gave the ball straight to Badelj on the halfway line, who played a straight ball through the middle. Fazio couldn't catch up and the German went on to shot under Lloris to put Fiorentina 2-1 up in the tie on aggregate. It didn't change much, as Spurs still needed to score to go through, but they would have to get at least one to take it to extra time. Perhaps it would be another case of Spurs doing better when they go behind ?

It didn't look like it when another break on 62 minutes saw Salah set free through the middle by Joaquin, who picked off Lamela's pass, but the Chelsea loanee went for a low sliding shot past Lloris, who blocked it with his legs and grabbed the loose ball. When Spurs attacked, their final ball was lacking, usually fired over the men in the middle or played to a man with a couple of violet shirts around him.

The 71st minute saw the mistake that would condemn Spurs to being knocked out of Europe for this season. A confused move that saw the ball bobble off legs as they moved into the box, led to Gomez back-heeling the ball through into the area. Vertonghen looked to have the ball, but fell over and left Salah the chance to lift his shot over Lloris to find the net.

Both goals were easily avoidable and Spurs failed to stop simple chances arising.

With fifteen minutes left, Walker came on for Vertonghen as Eriksen lined up to take a free-kick 20 yards out from the right hand corner of the box. That hit the wall, as one in the first half had, while at the back, Chirches dropped into the middle with Walker taking the right back slot. Spurs did walk the ball into the net with Kane knocking the ball in from close range, but Davies had been offside before he played the ball across to the Spurs goal-scorer.

Salah raced away from Chiriches, but the Romanian slid in to block the ball and almost handled the ball when on the floor in the box, but the Italian side started to win free-kicks with falls every time they were challenged to run down time and disrupt Tottenham's chances of moving the ball forward.

With five minutes left, Eriksen drove a left foot shot that was low and on target, but Neto dived to his left to push it away for a corner. Gomez then took out Townsend wide on the Spurs right, giving a free-kick that Soldado got a head to at the near post, to send Andros' set piece just over the angle at the far post.

I don't doubt that Spurs wanted to do well in this competition after coming so far, but the League Cup final was no doubt on their mind. They didn't play badly, but in the crucial moments, they failed to make good decisions. Fiorentina made sure that they swarmed around the Spurs players in the last twenty minutes to pressure them into losing possession and they will have to be careful, because Chelsea will have looked at our last two matches in which teams have been playing that way and gaining some reward for it.

Once more, it was a case of Spurs being too loose with the ball at both ends of the field ... and in the middle. Final passes were inaccurate, while Soldado's failed pass to Chadli could have put them ahead in the game to make life more difficult for Fiorentina. All we can hope is that Tottenham got these errors out of their system before Sunday, but, while different players might be fielded on Sunday, the way the defence plays needs to be much tighter. Players need to think of safety first rather than trying to be too clever in their own last third.

Here's to a happier day out on Sunday !!

Sparky Marky

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Other scores during this round :
Atletico Madrid (SPA) 2 Torino (ITA)  (Won 5-4 on agg) 3 Thursday
Besiktas (TUR) (a.e.t. Won 5-4 on pens) 1 Liverpool 0 Thursday
Borussia Moenchengladbach (GER) 2 Seville (SPA) (Won 4-2 on agg) 3 Thursday
Club Brugge (BEL) (Won 6-1 on agg) 3 AaB Copenhagen (DEN) 0 Thursday
Dinamo Kiev (UKR) (Won 4-2 on agg) 3 Guingamp (FRA) 1 Thursday
Dinamo Moscow (RUS) (Won 3-1 on agg) 3 Anderlecht (BEL) 1 Thursday
Everton (Win 7-2 on agg) 3 Young Boys (SWI) 1 Thursday
Feyenoord (HOL) 1 AS Roma (ITA) (Won 3-2 on agg) 2 Thursday
Internazionale (ITA) (Won 4-3 on agg) 1 Glasgow Celtic 0 Thursday
Legia Warsaw (POL) 0 Ajax (HOL) (Won 4-0 on agg) 3 Thursday
Napoli (ITA) (Won 5-0 on agg) 1 Trabzonspor (TUR) 0 Thursday
Olympiakos (GRE) 2 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR) (Won 4-2 on agg) 2 Thursday
Red Bull Salzburg (AUS) 1 Villarreal (SPA) (Won 5-2 on agg) 3 Thursday
Sporting Lisbon (POR) 0 Wolfsburg (GER) (Won 2-0 on agg) 0 Thursday
Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS) (Won 4-0 on agg) 3 PSV Eindhoven (HOL) 0 Thursday



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