COMPETITION Champions League   Group H
DATE Wednesday 6th December 2017
VENUE Wembley
3.  Roberto LAGO
5.  Jesus RUEDA
6.  Lorenzo EBECILIO
7.  George EFRAM
8.  Mickael POTE
9.  Igor de CAMARGO
11.  Nektarios ALEXANDROU
13.  Nauzet PEREZ
17.  Ghayas ZAHID
20.  Roland SALLAI
21.  Zhivko MILANOV
22.  Minas ANTONIOU
25.  Agustin FARLAS
26.  Nuno MORAIS
29.  Praxitelis VOUROS
30.  Giorgis MERKIS
33.  Antreas MAKRIS
46.  Stathis ALONEFTIS
50.  CARLAO 
98.  Antreas PARAKAVRAS
PREVIEW The APOEL squad is the thickest in terms of either quality or depth, but they have given a good account of themselves as a minnow in a big group.  Still being in with a chance of Europa League football in the last group game shows that they are making some progress, despite their hammering at home by Real Madrid in the last round of matches.

They showed against us in Cyprus that they are capable to having a go and hit the woodwork, providing more worrying moments than perhaps were expected.  But they come into this game which is a dead rubber for Spurs.  Group won, the only thing to play for is another home win and a bit more prize money.

The fact that Pochettino has said he intends to rest five of his top players and give a couple of youth players an opportunity to play reflects on what the game means to Tottenham.  But this will give the fringe players who take to the pitch a chance to impress the manager and prove that they can do a job for the side if called upon.  Nkoudou, Vorm, Llorente, Sterling, Amos, Foyth, Aurier, Sissoko and even Dele and Dembele need to put in a shift to put their names into the manager's mind for the months ahead.  It is a shame that Lamela wasn't included in the squad, as he would be a shoe-in for a starting place to get some competitive game play under his belt.  At least Davinson can give his all with a three match Premier league ban coming his way

As it is, the side that Tottenham put out should be good enough to see off the Cypriots (although most of them aren't).  Three at the back, with some good service to the front men should mean that another three points come our way, but it may take a bit of time for them to become accustomed to playing together.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2         APOEL    0
Pochettino will rest Kane, Eriksen, Trippier, Lloris and Dier, with Alderweireld (hamstring) and Wanyama (knee) out injured, it will give the squad a good chance to be used with Luke Amos and Kazaiah Sterling coming in for some experience at the top level.

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Tottenham Hotspur  3 (2)                                                                       
Champions League  Group H
Wednesday 6th December 2017
APOEL  0 (0)

Kick off 19:45
Llorente  19m 52s
Son  36m 55s
Nkoudou  79m 35s
Aurier  (foul on Aloneftis)  63
Rose  (confrontation with Sallai)  67


Sallai  (confrontation with Rose)  67
Rueda  (foul on Nkoudou)  82


Crowd :   42,679 Weather :  Dry, mild
Referee :  Slavko Vinicic (SVN) Assistant Referees :  Tomaz Klacnik; Andraz Kovacic (SVN)
Fourth Official :  Grega Kordez Additional Assistant Referees :  Rade Obrenovic; Roberto Ponis
UEFA Delegate :  Eugène Westerink (NED) UEFA Referee Observer :  Francesco Bianchi (SUI)
APOEL kicked off and played towards the West Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 3 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit APOEL : kit
13  Michel VORM  (c)

24  Serge AURIER      
21  Juan FOYTH
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
  3  Danny ROSE        (37  Kyle WALKER-PETERS  70)

14  Georges-Kevin N'KOUDOU 
29  Harry WINKS

20  DELE Alli  (54  Kazaiah STERLING  88)
7  Moussa SISSOKO 

18  Fernando LLORENTE 
  Heung-Min SON    (19  Mousa DEMBELE  65)

Unused subs: 
33  Ben DAVIES
40  Luke AMOS


  13  Nauzet PEREZ

29  Praxitelis VOUROS
  Jesus RUEDA      
  3  Roberto LAGO

16  Olivera FRANCO  (20  Roland SALLAI    )
26  Nuno MORAIS  (c)
17  Ghayas ZAHID
  6  Lorenzo EBECILIO

46  Stathis ALONEFTIS  (  9  Igor de CAMARGO  75)
  8  Mickael POTE  (11  Nektarios ALEXANDROU  81)

Unused subs: 
  1  Raul GUDINO
22  Minas ANTONIOU
25  Augustin FARAIS
Giorgos MERKIS

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Giorgis DONIS
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Pari Match
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

With what was a much reduced Tottenham side fielded to take on APOEL of Cyprus to complete the Group H games, having the top spot in the table already bagged, Mauricio Pochettino's side went out and did what they had to do to bring in three points and seal the record of 16 points to win a group this season's competition.  With APOEL offering little threat on the Spurs goal, it turned out to be a quiet night for captain Michel Vorm, whose most active involvement was the pre-match coin toss.

With an assortment of a handful of first teamers, some fringe players and some youngsters, it was a reasonably coherent performance, while not thrilling, but enough to overcome a side who had hopes of finishing third, but not the confidence to take that hope any further.  It looked like Spurs adopted a shot on sight policy, with Aurier hitting a shot across the goal in the second minute, while Son followed it up with another drive a minute later that the keeper got a touch to this time.  Llorente showed good awareness when he headed own a Rose cross into Son's path and the striker was unable to aim his volley on goal.  When Spurs won a ninth minute free kick, all hell broke loose in the box.  Winks played the ball in and Llorente won a header that the keeper kept out, Sanchez had a shot  blocked and then Georges-Kevin Nkoudou's effort was stopped on the line by Rueda.  When the ball came back in, Llorente's cross was nodded just off target by Davinson Sanchez.  

The pressure was all on the APOEL goal and Foyth went close with a header from a Danny Rose corner, being just too high with his effort.   Then, a fine pass from central midfield out to Aurier on the right from Harry Winks opened up space for the Ivory Coast defender to put a cross low into the middle of the box, where Fernando Llorente too the ball under control with his back to goal.  He turned well and put the ball past the keeper to record his first goal for the club.  The defender could have been a  bit closer to him, but the Spaniard showed his goal-scoring instinct  to get the monkey off his back with his first, of what will hopefully be many, goals for the club.

Was this to be the goal that opened the floodgates ?  Well, it wasn't for the want of trying.  Son tried a shot from the edge of the box and it was blocked.  A few corners were defended well by the opposition, then when they tried to go forward, Aurier made a useful interception and then turned it into an attack, with Sissoko finishing the move with a header that Perez managed to reach, as Moussa looked to loop it over him.  The second goal wasn't too long coming and with 32 minutes on the clock, Son passed inside to Llorente, who laid it back into his path and he bent the ball around a defender and into the goal just inside the keeper's right hand post from just right of the D. It was a very well taken and well-placed shot that left the keeper no chance.

Going 0-2 down seemed to kick APOEL into attacking action and Aloneftis should have done better with a cross that eluded Pote in the middle of the goal, before the same player tried a shot from the left, but Juan Foyth blocked it for a corner.  That was cleared and produced a chance for Son to try his luck from 30 yards, with the keeper tipping it wide with a good diving stop.

Paul Miller's half-time chat recalled European nights of old and when the team re-emerged, the Spurs XI was unchanged.  Vouros had an early opportunity for APOEL when Spurs were opened up on our left, allowing the defender to strike a shot across goal that came off Danny Rose and luckily deflected wide for a corner, which substitute Sallai headed wide.  Tottenham moved the ball forward and found GK on the left, from where he tried to emulate Sonny and curl a shot in, but the ball flicked off a defender for a corner.  APOEL were a little more adventurous in the second half, but still failed to trouble Vorm, with Ebecilio hitting the ball into the crowd with a high shot from outside the box. 

The chances kept coming Tottenham's way and Son struck a 25 yard free kick over the bar and Nkoudou forced the keeper to touch an angled shot wide, before Danny Rose had to be substituted after a strange incident, in which he appeared to have clashed heads with Sallai and retaliated by pushing the opponent away, which earned both of them yellow cards and Rose a cut that could not be stemmed.   With Walker-Peters coming on in his place, the attacking continued down the left and a neat interchange of passes between Dele and Gk allowed the Frenchman to go into the box and strike a shot at goal that came off Vouros and left the keeper helpless once more, as the ball flew past him.  Nkoudou's first goal has been a long time coming, but then he has not had much playing time, so perhaps this might give him the confidence when he is called upon and help him integrate into the side better. 

With time running out and two subs having been used, Pochettino made a great gesture by lining up Kazaiah Sterling to come on, but with Spurs playing keep ball and APOEL showing little appetite to get it of them, it was a full six minutes before the youngster was allowed to enter play as the ball finally went out of play.  He managed one touch, which led to him being flattened from behind by a defender, with Tottenham playing out the remaining three minutes of added time and securing a simple 3-0 win. 

The visiting fans had been noisy throughout, with a good round of applause for their players at the end, with Tottenham being professional and putting in a good showing to round off the group.  Some players were criticised by some fans, such as Dele for not scoring a hatful and Llorente for his contribution, but both players did more than just create and score.  Alli was involve din a lot of play and wasn't hiding from getting the ball, while Llorente looked like he had a bit of an understanding with Son, whose finish was classy.   Foyth looked composed throughout, in comparison to Sanchez, who looked as  though he had been rattled by Saturday's sending off, allowing the ball to get away form him a little too often.  Both full backs did well and despite Winks, Sissoko and Nkoudou wasting some possession with wayward cross-field passing, all made contributions to the win. 

So, mission accomplished and now on to the knock-out stage with our opponents to be picked on Friday.  We are restricted to a few clubs and it could be Juventus or Bayern Munich, with the other options being Shakhtar Donetsk, Basel, Sevilla or Porto.  We will need to be at our best whoever we get drawn against, so the players who played tonight will have gained good experience of the competition and what is needed if they need to come into the side in the future.

Stanford Rivers




APOEL are nicknamed The Legend, after the film about the Kray twins of the same name featuring Tom Hardy.


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What you thought
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Group H Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 6 5 1 0 15 4 16 +11
2 Real Madrid 6 4 1 1 17 7 13 +10
3 Borussia Dortmund 6 0 2 4 7 13 2 -6
4 APOEL 6 0 2 4 2 17 2 -15

Position before match :  1st
Position after match :  1st


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


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