Dinamo Zagreb
UEFA Cup - Group D

Thursday 6th November 2008

Not knowing much about our latest UEFA Cup opponents other than two of our summer signings - Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka - used to play for the top club in Croatia, it is difficult to comment on too many of their players.

There's a couple of Brazilians in the squad, a couple of home internationals and a couple of names from the past from the Premiership in the mix of the Zagreb roster.  You may recall Aston Villa flop Bosko Balaban.  Now he is a big star back at his first club and while he is now a few years older, he is also a few years wiser, so will need keeping an eye on.  The other oldie from the Prem is Igor Biscan, the ex-Liverpool midfielder, who was effective for the Reds without being a star.  He is getting on a bit now, so might be lacking the energy of former years, but can pass well and read the game perceptively.

For Tottenham, it will be another game without Ledley King, who has more important battles to fight, while some of the players will no doubt relish this game after the last three results under Harry Redknapp.  It will be interesting to see if he takes a different approach with Pavlyuchenko cup-tied and O'Hara suspended.  It might mean a start for Campbell alongside Bent and a more rigid midfield, which could produce the goods.

While Zagreb are no mugs, they might find it hard against a Spurs side who have their confidence on the rise ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  2    Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)  1


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Jamie O'Hara (suspended); Roman Pavlyuchenko (cup-tied); Vedran Corluka (cup-tied); 

DINAMO ZAGREB :  - (-); - (-); - (-); 


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 :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2005/10/12/live_commentaries_feature.shtml
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Tottenham Hotspur   4    Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)   0      (Half-time score : 2-0)

UEFA Cup - Group D
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Thursday 6th November 2008
Kick Off :  8.00 p.m.
Crowd :   32,295
Referee :  Freddy Fautel (France)
Zagreb kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Drizzly, mild
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

  2  Hutton
39  Woodgate (c) (16  Gunter 85)
20  Dawson
  3  Bale

  5  Bentley (51  Bostock 79)
  4  Zokora
  6  Huddlestone 
  7  Lennon

14  Modric (18  Campbell 75)

10  Bent     

Unused subs: 
21  Cesar
11  Gilberto
63  Dervite
32  Assou-Ekotto

Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) :

12  Kelava

  3  Ibanez
  4  Hrgovic      
22  Biscan
  6  Lovren      

21  Vrdoljak
10  Sammir (77  Morales 43)
14  Mikic
17  Mandzukic

  9  Balaban (c) (16  Badelj 60)
26  Drpic (  7  Etto 46)

Unused subs:
33  Loncaric
  8  Tomic
11  Tadic
15  Carlos

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham Hotspur

  Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Bent 30
Bent 33
Huddlestone 59
Bent 70

Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)


Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  



Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)

Lovren (foul) 45
Hrgovic (foul)   


Match Report : -  
What started slowly for Spurs on the night built to a crescendo that almost saw as many goalscoring fireworks, as flares in the Croatian end with Tottenham romping home to a 4-0 win, without really getting out of third gear.

A hat-trick for the back to his best Darren Bent and a sparkling display from Tom Huddlestone saw Tottenham get three points to get them back in the UEFA Cup group after losing out in the first match against Udinese.

The early stages of the game saw Spurs feeling their way with a slow start, while trying to use the full backs on the overlap.  Unfortunately, it was not the best of games for either Bale or Hutton, who both seemed to have a heavy first touch, when the simple ball might have opened Zagreb up earlier in the proceedings.  

Apart from a few blocked efforts when Zagreb got around the edge of the penalty area, there were few opportunities for the visiting side and their best effort was from Bosko Balaban, who made Gomes save a few minutes before the interval.  After that, it was in the final minute of normal time that Badelj headed a cross just past the post from close in.  As for Tottenham, the score could have ended up much more than the four they did score.

In the eighth minute, Luka Modric took a short free-kick taken by Tom Huddlestone, when the defence were not prepared and the ex-Dinamo man curled a shot a foot wide of the goal at the Park Lane end.  Four minutes later, Luka struck a long range effort, that was bobbling wide, but the keeper took no chances and pushed it out for a corner, even though it was going about two yards wide of the net.  Playing against his former club, he looked keen to score and only the frame of Michael Dawson prevented him putting Spurs ahead, when the Croat's volley struck our central defender in front of the Zagreb goal.

Then, in the 29th minute, Bentley's neat flick sent Modric away down the left and his low ball back into the box foxed two Dinamo defenders was missed by Hud, but fell kindly for Darren Bent to hit the top of the net, with a helpful deflection that took the shot past Kelava.  That goal gave Spurs the taste for it and Tom struck a fizzing shot that the keeper chose to push aside, but it was only another minute after that when Spurs made it 2-0.

The 33rd minute witnessed Darren Bent do what he does best.  With Huddlestone playing in an advanced midfield role, he took the ball outside the area, shaped up to shoot and then fed a neat pass through the D for Bent to nudge the ball past the keeper to double the advantage.  It was a striker's goal and one that would have been a trademark of his first season at Spurs if we had played it that way. 

2-0 up with the best part of 55 minutes still to play, it looked like a question of "how many ?"  As it turned out, Spurs controlled the game without looking that comfortable. Dinamo had the Balaban shot low to Gomes' left as he cut in from the right wing, just before the break.

After the break at the other end, Kelava pushed out a stinging Bentley drive, while he also had to respond well to deny Modric again, this time from an acute angle.  Unfortunately, he did not know that from the corner he conceded, David Bentley swung it away from a heavily loaded penalty area and found Huddlestone running in and striking the ball first time on the volley from thirty yards.  The ball seemed to be drilled into the net at a height of about a foot off the floor all the way.  It was superb technique.

With 66 minutes on the clock, Bent had the ball in the back of the net again and thought he had claimed his first hat-trick for the club.  However, a linesman's flag denied him the opportunity to celebrate just yet.  It was a shame, as Huddlestone's pass was neatly dinked over the goalie.  The wait was only three minutes anyway.

Huddlestone opened up the Zagreb defence once more and slipped a pass through into the box, where Bent pushed his shot past Kelava for the hat trick he had been waiting for.  I was pleased for him, as he does work hard and has played in positions and formations and styles, which do not suit him.  Some players might have gone on striker, but Darren goes looking for strikes ... on the pitch.

Towards the last quarter of an hour of the match, Bale crashed a shot at goal and the keeper pushed it away.  The ref was letting an awful lot go and a scything down of Bentley by Biscan was a certain yellow and also a possible red, as he was late as well as from behind.  Lovren should have been booked at least twice before he eventually was, meaning the ref could have been sending him off for what were two worse tackles than O'Hara was sent off for in the previous round of matches.  The tackling that goes on in their national game must be robust to say the least.

.The biggest cheer of the night was for David Bentley going off.  Well, that's what he thought and it wasn't because he had a poor game, but the reason was it heralded the arrival of John Bostock - a 700,000 signing ripping off Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan in the process.  Now the youngest player to represent Spurs, Bostock showed he has the big match temperament.  A couple of early touches saw the visitors test his strength on the ball and he was not found wanting; in fact he genuinely looked like he was up for the physical battle.  And when he took Aaron Lennon's pass, he had no second thought other than to wallop it at goal.  Unfortunately for him the ball passed the wrong side of the post otherwise he would have made an even more memorable entrance into Tottenham history.

A late Zagreb header worried Spurs, but the only excitement they truly brought to the event was their fans, who somehow managed to smuggle in flares (the firework type ones, not the trousers), whereas home fans can't even get in without having the top taken off their bottles of soft drinks.  The smoke obliterated the view from the Police pod hanging from the South Stand roof, so anything could have been going on, but they might have been glad of the cloud cover when the Dinamo fans, as a man ... I don't think there were any women, took their shirts off and sung and clapped until the end of the game.  There was some trouble when stewards move din to try and stop the flares being lit, but it was only a minor incident.

What we should take form this win is the clean sheet, the good finishing of Darren Bent, the fine all-round performance of Tom Huddlestone and the energetic and dynamic display of Luka Modric.  Added to that, the introduction of a new young Spur and the present and the future suddenly look brighter.

Now, if we can only move up the Premier League table as quickly as we moved up the UEFA Cup Group D table !!



Reaction : -



It was a strange atmosphere at the Lane for this UEFA cup match.  Having won points in our last few league matches, it was expected that the same would happen in this European encounter, but what would the opposition be like ?

Would they be out to show Luka and Vedran what they are missing ?  Would they be out to avenge their country's defeat at the hands of England ?  Would they try to capitalise on the side's upheaval over the last few weeks ?

As it turned out, it proved to be none of these, with the side either not capable or not willing to test Tottenham, so Heurelho Gomes had a relatively quiet night of it and Spurs had the opportunity to test their attacking skills.

Thanks to a towering performance by To Huddlestone, Tottenham dominated almost from the start, but this must be gauged against a Croatian side not closing him down.  However, Tom must start imposing himself on games like this more often if he wants to realise his full potential.

Modric was tough against some rough treatment and Darren Bent showed that whatever he touches at the moment turns to goals.

Almost everyone put in a good shift tonight and it gives belief that maybe Spurs can make a fist of the UEFA Cup as well as surviving in the League.







Other scores this round of matches :
Group A
Manchester City 3 FC Twente Enschede (HOL) 2 Thursday
Racing Santander (SPA) 1 Schalke 06 (GER) 1 Thursday
Group B
Benfica (POR) 0 Galatasary (TUR) 2 Thursday
Metalist (RUS) 0 Hertha Berlin (GER) 0 Thursday
Group C
Stuttgart 2 Partizan Belgrade (CRO) 0 Thursday
Standard Liege (BEL) 1 Seville (SPA) 0 Thursday
Group D
Spartak Moscow (RUS) 1 Udinese (ITA) 2 Thursday
Group E
AC Milan (ITA) 1 Sporting Braga (POR) 0 Thursday
Wolfsburg (GER) 5 Heereneveen (HOL) 1 Thursday
Group F
Slavia Prague (CZE) 0 Aston Villa 1 Thursday
Ajax (HOL) 1 Zilinia (SLO) 0 Thursday
Group G
St. Etienne (FRA) 3 Rosenborg (NOR) 0 Thursday
Valencia (SPA) 1 FC Copenhagen (DEN) 1 Thursday
Group H
Feyenoord (HOL) 1 CSKA Moscow (RUS) 3 Thursday
Lech Poznan (POL) 2 Nancy (FRA) 2 Thursday



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