COMPETITION Europa League  Group C
DATE Thursday 2nd October 2014
VENUE White Hart Lane






Besiktas come to White Hart Lane looking for revenge.  It may have been eight years ago that we beat them away in the UEFA Cup, but they have long memories and will be looking for a victory on our turf.  From Tottenham's point of view, wins in the next three matches will see us through.

Our Turkish opponents sit second in the Superliga one point ahead of superpowers in their country Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, being still unbeaten in their own league.  Managed by former Everton and Croatia central defender Slaven Bilic, who was previously in charge at Lokomotiv Moscow and Croatia's national side before that.  A volatile character, Bilic has a reputation of trying to get his side to play and if they are willing to do that at the Lane, it could be an interesting match.  I have the feeling that they will be happy with a point and will pack the midfield, using Ba's strength to try to muscle past the Spurs defence on the break.

There are not too many familiar face sin the visiting squad, with Demba Ba being the most notable, having played with Newcastle United and Chelsea while in England.  The other former Premier League player no longer goes by the name he used here, when he was Karim Frei at Fulham, but now is known as Karim Koyunlu.  Another player who was with the Gooners for a short while and played two League Cup matches for them is the previously little-known Oguzhan Özyakup.  Yes, I was surprised too.

The majority of the Besiktas squad consists of home grown players, with the odd South American thrown in, so, there will be plenty of effort and a degree of skilfulness, leaving Tottenham's task to control the game and make more of the possession they have been enjoying so far this season.

Even though Besiktas were held to a draw at home by Asteras Tripolis, Spurs are having trouble getting it together going forward and Demba Ba will be a difficult opponent and good at set-pieces, so, while Tottenham are hoping for a home win, they might not be too upset.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    1         Besiktas    1
Danny Rose is a doubt with a knock from Saturday's game and Kyle Walker is still out following his operation on his hip.

ITV 4 - 19:00 (live)

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South Africa 
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Tottenham Hotspur  1 (1)                                                             Besiktas  1 (0)
Europa League  Group C
Thursday 2nd October 2014                                                                                                    Kick off  20:05
White Hart Lane
Kane 27m 54s Ba (p) 89m 58s
Davies (foul on Kevlak) 8
Bentaleb (foul on Hutchinson) 48
Fazio (shirt pulling on Ba before corner taken) 51
Chiriches (handball) 88  


Ba (elbow on Chiriches) 7



Crowd :   24,300 Weather :  Warm, dry
Referee :  Manuel Grafe (Germany) Assistant Referees :  Guido Kleve; Christoph Bornhorst (Germany)
Fourth Official :  Mike Pickel (Germany) Additional Assistants : -  Tobias Stieler; Robert Hartmann (Germany)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Besiktas : kit
  1 Hugo LLORIS (c)

15  Eric DIER
  6  Vlad CHIRICHES      
21  Federico FAZIO     
33  Ben DAVIES     

42  Nabil BENTALEB      
25  Benjamin STAMBOULI   (19  Mousa DEMBELE 65)

17  Andros TOWNSEND 
18  Harry KANE 
  8  PAULINHO  (  7  Aaron LENNON 60)

  9  Roberto SOLDADO  (10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR 79)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
  4  Younes KABOUL

  29  Tolga ZENGIN

  2  Serdar KURTULUS
  6  SIVOK
31  Ramon de Morais MOTTA

  5  SOSA
  8  Veli KAVLAK  (15  Oguzhan OZYAKUP 65)
  7  Gokhan TORE  (21  Kerim KOYUNLU 82)
10  Olcay SAHAN  (11  Mustafa PENTAMEK 72)

  9  Demba BA      

Unused subs: 
  1  Cenk GONEN
  3  Ismael KOYBASI
20  Necip UYSAL
22  Ersan GULUM

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Slaven Bilic
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Vodaphone
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   adidas
Match report

Tottenham ended this Group C Europa League game with a point, which disappointed many fans leaving the Lane, but on balance was a result for Spurs, who had Hugo Lloris to thank for the after making four top drawer saves.

The grumbles about conceding a last minute equaliser had some grounds, as it was a Vlad Chiriches gaffe that handed Demba Ba the opportunity to stutter his way up to the ball and send it past a confused Lloris.  But that was the only time the Spurs keeper had been bettered, as he made three fine stops to deny Gokhan Sahan and a point blank reflex stop to save Ba's close range effort.  As for Spurs, they once again looked laboured, with the lack of a creative spark meaning it was difficult to get through on their keeper.  We won't know how good he is, as their first shot beat him and the second he saved, but that was in the 71st minute, with both coming from Harry Kane - now a very important player for Tottenham.  The England Under-21 man was deployed in a position in the hole behind Soldado and looked strong on the ball and his goal was a good finish too.

The much changed Spurs team lined up looking considerably different from Saturday's draw with Arsenal, raising expectation in the small crowd containing many who had Stub Hubbed as this was the first game that season tickets didn't apply and many opted to watch from home.  Besiktas brought lots and lots with them, being noisy and flarey but generally good natured (as far as my grasp of Turkish allows ... and that is very limited ... to none). 

The game saw Besiktas take the early initiative and when Chiriches gave a loose ball in mid-pitch, Fazio slipped as he went in to tackle, leaving Sahan to go through on goal and he should really have scored from inside the box with only Lloris to beat.  His low prod went past the keeper's left hand post.  Demba Ba was booked for an elbow on Chiriches that looked like it might have broken his nose again, but he came back on and the former Chelsea striker stayed on, with the referee probably thinking it came too early in the game.  In the 12th minute, a long left wing cross was picked up at the far side of the box on the right corner of the penalty area.  He turned quickly and smacked a shot that cannoned off the angle of crossbar and post, with a corner given, so Lloris must have got a touch on it.  From the corner, Franco won the header and put it across goal, but too high.

Spurs were having trouble finishing their passes, with Besiktas pressing the game on the halfway and with Paulinho stuck on the right wing, he failed to get in the game that much.  With 27 minutes on the clock, Spurs got a goal against the run of play. The ball was worked forward through Fazio and Davies to Nabil Bentlaeb. His pass inside to Kane saw the forward turn his man and with a low, raking left foot shot from outside the box, he best Zengin’s dive to his left and the ball headed for the bottom corner of the net. It was a decent finish, with not a lot looking on for him and was enough to put Tottenham ahead.

However, Besiktas showed they weren’t just here for the trip. Sosa made ground down the right and his low cross was too far ahead of Ba, but Sahan met the ball at the far post and directed it back where it had come from. The shot was on target, but luckily for Spurs Hugo was quick to get across and got some leg on it to take it wide of the goal to the right. Coming just five minutes after the goal, it was an important stop by Lloris and it wasn’t to be the last.

But it was Tottenham who finished the half strongly, with Kane to the fore once more. Firstly, he rose to head Davies’ cross over the top from six yards out and then he took the ball from a Townsend pass, Harry smashed a shot at the near post and Zengin beat the ball out for a corner in the 38th minute. Then Andros put in a low cross that was just too far in front of Fazio and Soldado, when a touch would have taken the ball past the keeper.

During half time, the victorious Under-16 side who won the Korea Cup were paraded with most of them taller than Aaron Lennon, but some looking no more than ball boys. Will they be stars of the future ? Probability says that few will make the grade and fewer will do so at Tottenham, but Spurs need to start bringing more players through the ranks, as the Financial Fair Play rules will require that this is how teams get players into the club.

The second half was started with a flurry of yellow cards for Tottenham. Bentaleb got booked for a rash challenge, with Fazio following him after a bit of pulling at a corner that involved Ba, but the referee failed for the second time to dismiss him. When they got the ball down, Spurs had a couple of chances, with Paulinho’s shot from outside the box blocked by Kurtulus and then Townsend curled a shot a couple of feet over from just outside the area. Bentaleb linked well with Soldado to shoot just wide, but only after Lloris had produced the first of a series of superb saves.

When Ba rolled away from Chiriches, he laid the ball on a plate for Sahan to drive a shot at goal from 18 yards and Hugo leapt up and pushed his shot over the bar with his left hand, when he was moving in the other direction. Both Ba (with a donkey kick) and Sahan (with an overhead) tried the spectacular to score and revive their flagging support, who were getting quieter as the game wore on. Then Tottenham created perhaps their best move of the match, with the ball moving up the left wing through Bentaleb and Lennon for Davies to pull the ball back for Kane and the young striker drilled a low shot at goal from 20 yards out, which forced Zengin to his second stop of the match on 71 minutes.
The game moved from end to end and while Spurs cold not fashion good opportunities, they kept coming for Besiktas, with sub Pektemek heading over from a corner and then Lloris coming to Tottenham’s rescue once more with a save from Ba. Put in on goal ten yards out by former Gooner Oyzakup, Hugo managed to get out to him a little and as Ba tried to knock the ball past him into the roof of the net, the French keeper pushed the ball up and over the bar. He had no right to get to the ball let alone prevent a goal, but it was a fantastic demonstration of how good he is. With every save like this you realise (like with Gareth Bale) that he might be too good for Tottenham and he will be off to a Champions League club next summer, which is nothing more than he deserves really. Make the most of him while he is still here. A series of corners saw either Lloris catch or punch them, with those that did find the heads of the attacking side not threatening the goal that closely.

Besiktas appeared to be getting a little downhearted, but never fear, there is always a chance when Vlad is playing. Maybe it was unfortunate, but he is becoming an unlucky general, who always seems to be the one it happens to. A through ball by Ozyakup should have been no trouble to deal with saw Chiriches be off balance when he tried to clear the ball on the edge of the box and it bounced under his legs and then popped up waist high to allow Pektamek in and the Romanian knocked the ball away with his hand as the Besiktas man looked to go on to get a shot away. The inevitable occurred when Ba stepped up to put the ball to Lloris’ left after a slow, stuttering run up, which I thought had been outlawed by FIFA.

It was nothing more than their display deserved, but conceding late goals are something that Tottenham are becoming increasingly familiar with. Is this a result of the hard training that Poch is supposedly famous for ? Are the players getting tired towards the end of games ? Well, the performance against West Ham in the first Premier League game undermines that theory, but perhaps the number of games is tiring some of the players. Cutting out these sort of errors will help Spurs hold onto leads, but they still need to make more of the possession they have, even though Besiktas edged that in this match. However, the shots stats showed 24 for the visitors and ten for Spurs. I know you can have as many shots as you like and it is only the ones that go in that count, but we failed to test their keeper enough, with his handling looking suspect.

A draw isn’t the worst result and really, it could have been 1-4 without Lloris playing a fine game.

We need to win a few games in this competition to seal a place in the knock out rounds and then Poch can mix and match his players and they need to get to that position before the return in Turkey, which will see Tottenham face a barrage of noise from the crowd as well as attacking fervour on the pitch.

Kevin Mendament




Besiktas have a parrot as their non-official emblem among the fans, as a run of bad form left them feeling as Besiktas as a parrot.

The club are in fact named after former Manchester United star of the 1960s and 1970s George, who surname was translated into Turkish and became the club's name.


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What you thought
Stan Chun Great performance by Lloris. Not sure where we would be without him.

Chiriches is an accident that doesn't have to wait to happen.  If he is using his move to Spurs as a stepping stone to get to Chelsea, sell him to them quick !!

- -.



Other scores during this round :
Group A
FC Zurich (SWI) 1 Borussia Moenchengladbach (GER) 1 Thursday
Villarreal (SPA) 4 Apollon Limassol (CYP) 0 Thursday
Group B
HJK Helsinki (ICE) 0 Club Brugge (BEL) 3 Thursday
Torino (ITA) 1 FC Kobenhavn (DEN) 0 Thursday
Group C
Asteras (GRE) 2 Partizan Belgrade (SER) 0 Thursday
Group D
Glasgow Celtic 1 Dinamo Belgrade (SER) 0 Thursday
Astra (ROM) 1 Red Bull Salzburg (AUS) 1 Thursday
Group E
Dinamo Moscow (RUS) 1 PSV Eindhoven (HOL) 0 Thursday
Estoril (POR) 2 Panathinaikos (GRE) 0 Thursday
Group F
St. Etienne (FRA) 0 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR) 0 Thursday
Internazionale (ITA) 2 Qarabag (AZE) 0 Thursday
Group G
HNK Rijeka (CRO) 2 Sevilla (SPA) 2 Thursday
Feyenoord (HOL) 2 Standard Liege (BEL) 1 Thursday
Group H
Krasnodar (RUS) 1 Everton 1 Thursday
Wolfsburg (GER) 1 Lille (FRA) 1 Thursday
Group I
Sparta Prague (CZE) 3 Young Boys Bern (SWI) 1 Thursday
Slovan Bratislava (SLK) 0 Napoli (ITA) 2 Thursday
Group J
Dinamo Kiev (UKR) 3 Steaua Bucaresti (ROM) 1 Thursday
Aalborg (DEN) 1 Rio Ave (POR) 0 Thursday
Group K
Guingamp (FRA) 2 PAOK (GRE) 0 Thursday
Dinamo Minsk (BLR) 0 Fiorentina (ITA) 3 Thursday
Group L
Lokeren (BEL) 1 Metalist Kharkiv (UKR) 0 Thursday
Trabsonspor (TUR) 0 Legia Warsaw (POL) 1 Thursday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Asteras Tripolis 2 1 1 0 4 1 4 +3
2 Besiktas 2 0 2 0 2 2 2 0
3 Tottenham Hotspur 2 0 2 0 1 1 2 0
4 Partizan Belgrade 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 -3


Position before match :  4th
Position after match :  3rd


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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