|DATE||Thursday 26th August 2014|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
Having had the shock of going a goal behind in the first leg in
sweltering heat in Cyprus, Tottenham will be looking to finish off
this play off to reach the group stages of the Europa League
The first leg showed Spurs that they cannot afford to be sloppy in their play even against supposed under-dogs, but AEL beat Zenit St. Petersburg in Cyprus and are no mugs. Well organised, they proved difficult to get through, with only Tottenham's superior fitness telling in the last quarter of an hour.
Scorer Sardinero looked nippy when given the chance and Barcelos looked to put his forwards away as the creator in midfield. Guidileye and Carlitos are both attacking players who will try and sniff out an effort on goal. We saw from the first leg that keeper Fergouch is a goalie who isn't confident holding the ball, which is perhaps a result of bumpy pitches in the hoe country, but Spurs could benefit if they follow up shots on goal. With Soldado ruled out, this gives Kane a chance to lead the line and if Lamela and the rest of the midfield can create the chances, there should be goals in this game.
Our defence just has to stay switched on and the way they played against QPR at the weekend, they allowed the Hoops few efforts on goal, so another performance of concentration and application should see Tottenham through.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 3 AEL Limassol 0|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Roberto Soldado misses out with a stiff back/neck and he is joined on the sidelines by Kyle Walker, who has a pelvic injury. Vlad Chiriches is fit for the first time this season and joins the rest of the squad for Poch to pick from.
|AEL LIMASSOL TEAM NEWS :|
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
3 (1) AEL Limassol
Europa League Play Off Second Leg
Thursday 26th August 2014 Kick off 19:45
White Hart Lane
Kane 45m 00s
Paulinho 49m 25s
Townsend (p) 65m 54s
Townsend (shirt pull on Edmar) 45+5
Fergouch (foul on Naughton) 12
Lima da Silva (foul on Townsend) 42
|Crowd : 29,976||Weather : Mild|
|Referee : Miroslav Zelinka (Czech Republic)||Assistant Referees : Ondřej Pelikán, Antonin Kordula (Czech Republic)|
|Fourth Official : Emanuel Marek (Czech Republic)||-|
|AEL kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 10 minutes|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||AEL Limassol :||kit|
Lewis HOLTBY 81)
18 Harry KANE
PULPO Romero 13)
10 Diego BARCELOS
9 Lukasz GIKIEWICZ
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Ivaylo Petev|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Cytavision|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Puma|
While Spurs had enough chances to win a couple of matches, the three goals sufficed as a not quite full White Hart Lane witnessed a much changed side from Sunday see off the might of Cypriot football. With Harry Kane making up for his penalty being saved with a goal on the stroke of half-time and second half goals from Paulinho and Andros Townsend, successfully converting from the spot, Spurs overcame a side who showed little of the fight from the first leg, in what might have been chilly conditions for them.
The atmosphere at these early Europa League games is usually provided by the visiting fans (depending on their numbers). Surprisingly, only the bottom section of the away corner was filled by the yellow and blue clad (well for some of the time) Cypriot fans. But they made a lot of noise and jumped about a bit and generally enjoyed their day out in North London. Spurs fans were generally quiet and the lack of occasion in these games is only too obvious and it devalues the competition that there are so many clubs producing so many games, many of which mean little.
The prospect of a Champions League place at the end of it might mean that the prize is bigger, but there is still a long slog through the winter group games to reach the four knock out stages before you get to a one off final. The chances of winning the National Lottery might be more advantageous.
Anyway, Spurs set about their task in a professional way, but the tempo was much reduced from Sunday's win over QPR and this allowed AEL to get numbers back behind the ball and made Tottenham's task more difficult. With Paulinho playing an advanced role, Spurs moved the ball well down the right, where Kyle Naughton used the space to get forward, although he was the butt of the battering that the Limassol defenders handed out. None more so than in the seventh minute, when he broke through and got to the penalty area, before goalkeeper Fegrouche raced off his line like a steam train and took Kyle out in no uncertain fashion. The keeper was never going to get there first, but came off worse, as the defender's knee got him in the head as they collided and he needed a long spell of treatment and had a bad injury to his face. He left the field on a stretcher to a yellow card being waved after him by the referee.
When everything had settled, Pulpo came on to replace the stricken Fegrouche and Kane stood over the ball ready to take the spot-kick. He hit it quite well, but too far down the middle and the legs of the substitute keeper kept the ball out. An early goal would have put the team in a good position, but the AEL fans didn't care, as they stripped off their shirts, jumped about like mad and cheered like they had got that Champions League place in May. For Spurs it was like history repeating with Kane missing a penalty at the same end against Hearts in a 0-0 play off second leg. We just hoped this wouldn't turn out the same.
Harry seemed keen to make it end the same, with some shots on goal, which demonstrated the confidence in taking them on, but none troubled the new keeper as much as the penalty. He brought a save out of Pulpo drilling a shot low to his right and making him dive to save, but another couple of efforts were off target or blocked, leaving team-mates in good positions unseen. When AEL did attack, they found the Tottenham defence in solid form, with Kaboul strong in the tackle and Naughton allowing no space for the wide man to get past. Ben Davies on the other side had a quieter time of it and used the space to get forward to support the midfield. It was 25 minutes before AEL had a shot and then goal-scorer from the first leg, Sardinero blasted it way into the top tier of the Paxton.
Mousa Dembele made his first start and seemed sluggish. He is a powerful man, who rarely seems to use it in his running or shooting. He prefers to turn and turn again to lose his man rather than run past him and his shooting can bring rewards, but one effort in the first half with his right foot virtually trickled through to the goalie. He does hold the ball well and bring other players into the game, but his very deliberate approach slows the game up for Spurs, when they have players who can exploit a quick break. Conversely, Andros Townsend is never afraid to buy a ticket to the raffle and his shooting needs some honing. When they fly in it is great, but too often they fly high and sometimes very wide, leaving the forwards and the crowd exasperated. There are aspects of his game that he needs to analyse (much as he was doing in Brazil for ITV at the World Cup).
Just when it looked as though the teams might turn around level, the goal came for Spurs. Paulinho had lost the ball down on the left wing, but AEL captain Nikolaou kindly returned it to him, five yards outside the corner of the box. The Brazilian passed inside to Kane, who had a clean run on goal down the middle, placing his shot to the left of the keeper, as he moved right sending the ball into the bottom corner of the net. It came right on the stroke of what would have been half-time, butt here were still seven minutes of added time for the injury to the keeper to be played. AEL won a couple of corners and they were dealt with by Spurs, allowing them to go in with a lead.
Chirpy's ice bucket challenge kept the crowd entertained (?) during the break, with Martin Chivers getting as much over him as the Spurs mascot. After the thrilling event, there was a touch of curling brought to the Lane, as an employee had to come out and brush the ice away quickly before the two teams came out for the second half, as the location for the ice bucket challenge was on the track right between the tunnel and the pitch.
The second half started positively for Spurs, with Sandro putting Kane in on goal, but he pulled his shot across goal, then Sandro almost put Paulinho in, but a defender got a foot in to stop the ball reaching him. However, a few minutes into the half, the Brazilian World Cup midfielder had doubled Tottenham's lead. For some reason Vlad Chiriches was in the Limassol penalty area and tried a drag back which didn't pay off, but then he intercepted a weak pass in the area and gave the ball to Paulinho. Taking no time to get his shot away, the ball rifled between the lags of a defender and under the keeper to hit the net and make it 2-0.
The goal prompted a bit of a response from AEL, with Gikiewicz being provided with a shooting chance from just inside the area, with time to pick out a place to put it, but he curled it straight into Lloris' hands allowing him to make an easy save. It was 55 minutes in and the first direct effort Hugo had to deal with.
Paulinho showed his unselfish side just after the hour, when he was through, laying the ball back to Aaron Lennon. With the keeper having come out to Paulinho, Aaron tried to chip the ball over the last defender, but he got back to head it away as it headed for the unguarded goal. The Spurs winger had a quiet game, working hard, but not threatening the AEL defence very often. Shortly after Lennon's effort, Kaboul found himself running down the right wing and pulling the ball square for Kane, who hit a shot that the keeper blocked with his legs.
As it was, it was only a minute or so after that Spurs made it three. Naughton had moved infield and tried to dink a ball into the box, but Edmar handled it and the referee pointed to the spot for the second time on the night. Paulinho grabbed the ball, but another one appeared and Townsend got it and marched up to the spot. After the sub keeper eye-balling him (he had probably seen Krul do it in the World Cup and thought it was a good idea), Andros stepped up to take the penalty, with a number of fans around me thinking it would end up where his previous efforts had gone. Although eh didn't hit it that cleanly, the ball ended up in the left hand corner of the net, as he sent the keeper the wrong way.
Lloris was called on to rush to the edge of his area to stop Carlitos getting a through pass, but Spurs continued to attack, with a Sandro curler on target but lacking power, Kane hitting the keepers legs for the third time and Andros bringing a save from Pulpo to tip over his powerful drive. The closest Tottenham came to adding to the total was when Ben Davies cut in from the left to drill a low shot on goal from just inside the box that the keeper did well to touch wide.
Paulinho almost finished off the match in style, when he launched into an overhead kick that was heading into the top corner before Pulpo pushed it out and then recovered well as the ball dropped just wide of the post for Kane and he tried to force it in, The keeper kept it out and that was about the last meaningful action of the tie.
Spurs progressed and probably didn't play as well as they had in the first leg, but they had sometimes finished off their chances better and did not allow the Cypriot team to get through on goal as often. Spurs looked sharper and fitter, which will be a factor in their play this season, giving opponents problems on the break, but also in keeping going until the end of matches. Building on the mental strength is something that Poch seems to be getting through to the players, as this will allow them to make the right decisions through the 90 plus minutes. SO into tomorrow's draw, the group stages await and then that date in May in Warsaw !!
Spurs have won every game they have played against Cypriot sides in the Europa League and the Champions League.
Cypriot sides are yet to
beat Spurs in European competition, with Famagusta coming closest by
infecting the Tottenham players with a bad case of Anorthosis.
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|Match programme sponsors||-|
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this round of play-off ties :|
|Astra (ROM) (2-2 on agg.; won on away goals)||0||Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)||1||Thursday|
|Borussia Moenchengladbach (GER) (won 10-2 on agg.)||7||FK Sarajevo (BOS)||0||Thursday|
|Club Brugge (BEL) (won 3-1 on agg.)||1||Grasshoppers (SWI)||0||Thursday|
|Debrecen (HUN)||0||Young Boys Bern (SWI) (won 3-1 on agg.)||0||Thursday|
|Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) (won 5-2 on agg.)||2||Petrolul (ROM)||1||Thursday|
|Feyenoord (HOL) (won 5-4 on agg.)||4||Zorya (UKR)||3||Thursday|
|Hajduk Split (CRO)||0||Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR)||0||Wednesday|
|Hull City||2||Lokeren (BEL) (2-2 on agg.; won on away goals)||1||Thursday|
|Internazionale (ITA) (won 9-0 on agg.)||6||Stjarnan (ICE)||0||Wednesday|
|FC Krasnodar (RUS) (won 3-1 on agg.)||3||Real Sociedad (SPA)||0||Thursday|
|Legia Warsaw (POL) (won 3-0 on agg.)||2||Aktobe (KAZ)||0||Thursday|
|Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS)||1||Apollon (CYP) (won 5-2 on agg.)||4||Thursday|
|Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR)||3||Asteras (GRE)||1||Thursday|
|Metalist Kharkiv (UKR) (0-0 on agg; won 1-0 a.e.t.)||1||Ruch Chorzow (POL)||0||Thursday|
|Midtjylland (DEN)||1||Panathinaikos (GRE) (won 6-2 on agg.)||2||Thursday|
|Nacional (POR)||2||Dinamo Minsk (BEL) (won 5-2 on agg.)||3||Thursday|
|Neftci PFK (AZE)||1||Partizan Belgrade (SER) (won 5-3 on agg.)||2||Thursday|
|Omonia (CYP)||1||Dinamo Moscow (RUS) (won 4-3 on agg.)||2||Thursday|
|PAOK (GRE) (won 4-1 on agg.)||4||FC Zimbru Chisinau (MOL)||0||Thursday|
|Rapid Vienna (AUS)||3||HJK (FIN) (won 5-4 on agg.)||3||Thursday|
|Rio Ave (POR) (2-2 on agg.; won on away goals)||1||Elfsborg (SWE)||0||Thursday|
|Rostov (RUS)||0||Trabzonspor (TUR) (won 2-0 on agg.)||0||Thursday|
|FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk (BEL)||0||PSV Eindhoven (HOL) (won 3-0 on agg.)||2||Thursday|
|St. Etienne (FRA) (1-1 on agg.; won 4-3 on pens)||1||Karabukspor (TUR)||0||Thursday|
|FC Sheriff Tirsapol (MOL)||0||HNK Rijeka (SLO) (won 4-0 on agg.)||3||Thursday|
|Sparta Prague (CZE) (won 4-2 on agg.)||3||Zwolle (Ned)||1||Thursday|
|Torino (ITA) (won 1-0 on agg.)||1||RNK Split (CRO)||0||Thursday|
|FC Twente Enschede (HOL)||1||Qarabag (AZE) (1-1 on agg.; won on away goals)||1||Thursday|
|Villarreal (SPA) (won 7-0 on agg.)||4||Astana (KAZ)||0||Thursday|
|FC Zurich (SWI) (won 4-1 on agg.)||1||Spartak Trnava (SVK)||1||Thursday|
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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