OPPONENTS FC Basel (Switzerland)
COMPETITION Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg
DATE Thursday 11th April 2013
VENUE St. Jakobs Stadium






Spurs travel to Switzerland knowing that the home side only have to draw at 0-0 or 1-1 to go through and having three of their players back in the side who were suspended for the first leg - all defenders - will help them maintain their reputation as a parsimonious side at home.

However, Tottenham go into the second leg without the attacking threat of Bale, Lennon and Defoe.  So, on the cards, it looks like the two away goals that Basel got last week at the Lane might be enough to see them through.  But, don't rule out the Spurs fighting spirit.  While the results might not be exactly what we are expecting, the performances are showing that while the injured trio are away, the side are still battling to stay in the hunt on two fronts.  Coming back from two down against a very slick Basel side and then getting a draw after going behind to Everton takes some doing.  And there is the incentive of not having a game this weekend to inspire a performance full of effort.

Spurs must not be too gung-ho though and the Swiss side will take advantage should they push forward too recklessly.  The thing in Tottenham's favour is that they have come from behind in both the last two rounds to go through and the side have a few players who are on a god run of scoring.  Both Vertonghen and Sigurdsson have got a few goals of late and Emmanuel Adebayor is starting to score the goals we need from him.  With the team looking a little more sluggish in attack without their pace men, there is still a flow with the team producing chances, driven on by Mousa Dembele.  While they lack the width without Bale and Lennon, movement by the other midfielders will pull Basel out of their positions, but they are  a well drilled outfit, with their manager a former defender, so he knows what he wants from them.

Breaking them down won't be easy, but we still have to ensure that they don't get much at the other end.  Right winger Salah looks a great prospect ... even if he doesn't score enough for his manager's liking.  And other players in the side are dangerous, with their quick, accurate passing and fast movement off the ball.  Spurs need to be compact, but not so much so that they leave the flanks unprotected.  Streller is a tall centre forward, but they don't play to his height in open play that much, preferring to keep the ball on the grass, so his movement will need to be tracked and I can see Villas Boas sticking with Dawson and Vertonghen in the middle, with Naughton coming in for Benny at left back to use his pace to counter Salah's, with Walker returning after suspension on the other side.

There is a decision to be made with Dempsey's inclusion after a disappointing display on Sunday, but options are limited and he will probably start with Clint playing behind Ade, using the same other midfielders in the hope of getting them involved in the box.  If things look like they are not going well, AVB may well use the same tactic as on Sunday, by bringing Tom Huddlestone on to open up the play with his expansive passing.

I am not sure I agree with Gordon Strachan's assertion that Basel can't play that well again, as they have had some good Champions League results against top sides and Spurs will need to be at their best to get through, but I think they might be able to ... although it will be a nail-biter ... and could go all the way ... again !!

PREDICTION FC Basel    1    Tottenham Hotspur   2
Spurs have Gareth Bale (ankle), Jermain Defoe (groin), Aaron Lennon (knee), William Gallas (calf), Sandro (knee) and Younes Kaboul (knee).  Kyle Walker is back after being suspended for the first leg and youngsters Shaquile Coulthirst, Cristian Ceballos and Milos Velkjovic have gone out to Switzerland with the squad.


ITV 1 - 20:00 (live)

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)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/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
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 :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

FC Basel  2 (1)     
(After extra time - score 2-2 at 90 mins.  Basel win 4-1 on penalties)

Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg
Thursday 11th April 2013                             
Venue :  St. Jakob's Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur  2 (1)

Kick off  20:05

Salah  27
Dragovic  49
Dempsey 23
Dempsey 83
Penalties : -
Schar (scored)
Streller (scored)
F. Frei (scored)
Diaz (scored)
Penalties : -
Huddlestone (saved)
Sigurdsson (scored)
Adebayor (missed)

Die (foul on Holtby)  58
Streller (retaliation)  90+4
Elneny (foul on Sigurdsson)  103



Naughton (foul on Salah)  39
Dembele (foul on Stocker) 45
Dempsey (dissent)  52
Dawson (dissent)  90+4 
Walker (dissent)  90+4

Vertonghen (foul on Streller) 90

Crowd :   18,000 Weather :  Heavy rain throughout
Referee :  Olegario Benquerenca (Portugal) Assistant Referees :  João Santos; Ricardo Santos (POR
Fourth Official :  Venâncio Tomé (POR) Additional Assistants : - Manuel De Sousa; Carlos Xistra (POR)
- UEFA Delegate : - Panagiotis Chatzialexiou (GER)
Basel kicked off and played towards the Spurs supporters end in the first half.
FC Basel : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Yann SOMMER

  4  Phillip DEGEN
  6  Aleksandar DRAGOVIC 
6  Fabian SCHAR
  3  Joo-Ho PARK

22  Mohamed SALAH    (13  Alexandre FREI 111)
8  Geoffroy SEREY DIE       (21  Marcelo DIAZ 58)
33  Mohamed ELNENY     
  Fabian FREI

  9  Marco STRELLER (c)     
4  Valentin STOCKER  (27  Markus STEINHOFER 70)

Unused subs: 
18  Germano VAILATI
26  Gaston SAURO
  7  David DEGEN
24  Adilson CABRAL

21  Marcelo DIAZ

  24  Brad FRIEDEL

28  Kyle WALKER     
20  Michael DAWSON (c)     
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN      
16  Kyle NAUGHTON       (32  Benoit ASSOU-EKOTTO)

  8  Scott PARKER  (  6  Tom HUDDLESTONE)
19  Mousa DEMBELE       (46  Tom CARROLL)

14  Lewis HOLTBY
  2  Clint DEMPSEY        

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR

Unused subs: 
25  Hugo LLORIS
33  Steven CAULKER
41  Shaquile COULTHIRST

Manager :  Murat Yakin Manager :   Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   Novartis Shirt sponsor :  Investec
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

As the rain poured down in the St. Jakob's Stadium, it was the same old story, as Spurs make any sort of situation difficult ... even going out of Europe.  Not content with losing inside the regulation ninety minutes plus added time, they like to give everyone their money's worth before going out on penalties.

Spurs had to shuffle their team after the injuries sustained in the first leg and they looked as narrow as they had on Sunday against Everton ,with the width really coming from Walker at right back and Sigurdsson in midfield.  The wet conditions didn't look like they would help, as the pitch seemed saturates in patches, meaning the ball wouldn't run as freely as it should.

The first effort on goal came from a Basel free-kick, given for a foul by Parker, after he had been flattened by Die without a foul given. Tottenham's first free-kick came to nothing when Vertonghen hit the defender and was then wrestled to the ground when he went for the rebound. Again … no free-kick.  Eleven minutes in, Basel opened Spurs up down our left and the cross found Salah coming in around the D, but his first time volley flew well over the top.

The game had been dominated by passing around the midfield, until Vertonghen put a defence splitting pass through the centre of the pitch and Dragovic stretched to cut it out, as his keeper came out to the edge of the box behind him. The defender's touch took the ball to the left and Dempsey, who was the intended recipient, snuck in behind him and took the ball past Sommer and slipped it into an empty net to put Spurs ahead in the tie.

Just when Spurs were doing the job of silencing the home crowd by keeping possession and making Basel look a pale imitation of the side they faced last week, they once more caused themselves problems. Demeble's short pass was straight at an opponent and the ball was quickly fed out to their right, where Salah took a touch and then toe-poked the ball at goal. Gathering pace off the wet pitch and with it taken early, Brad didn't have time to react and the ball nestled in the bottom left hand corner of the American's net to make it 1-1.

It gave the Swiss team the impetus and Salah was robbed of a shooting chance when he cut through the Spurs defence and Walker had to rush in from his right back position to take it off his toe and then Dawson did the same when Streller went in from their left wing and his sliding challenge cut out his cross.

35 minutes were on the clock when Spurs carved out a good chance with Dembele shooting from the right side of the penalty area. However, his left footed shot was palmed away by Sommer and he had a bit of luck when it was just out of Sigurdsson's stretched leg, as he tried to volley it back at goal. In the same move, with the ball still alive, it was fed through to Adebayor, who took a shot from the left side of the goal and hit a tame effort low at Sommer.

There was a “professionalism” about Basel's performance and it is not hard to see why they don't concede too many goals at home. They throw blocks all the time, but not on the ball, on opposition players to prevent them reaching passes and then they go down themselves, as if they have been fouled. Making the most of any touch, their antics would have been laughable had the referee not fallen for it as often as they hit the ground.

Half-time came with the score at 1-1 and Spurs kicked off after the break unchanged. Tottenham's early corner was headed at goal by Adebayor, forcing Sommer to save and straight away Streller was put through at the other end, winning a dubious corner. When it came in, a flick at the near post, Friedel beat it out, but straight to Dragovic two yards out, who put the ball into the net to make it 2-1 to Basel.

After that there was much passing of the ball in areas that didn't hurt either defence and Basel were getting away with murder from the referee. Twice Brad had to save from Diaz and in between Spurs came close when a corner picked out Dawson's head in the 72nd minute and his header was beaten out by Sommer.

Tom Huddlestone came on to replace Parker and Assou-Ekotto replaced Naughton. It was Tom, whose free kick was cleared and when he played it back in, it picked out Dempsey clear on the right and his poked effort was met with a weak wrist by Sommer and the ball could not be kept out, so was directed back into his own goal. This took the overall score to 4-4 on aggregate with the away goals equal.

Walker's one-two with Carroll released him near the by-line on the right his low ball across goal touched off a defender that took Sommer out and the ball ran across the face of the goal, just begging to be put in, but with no white shirt there.

Vertonghen's sloppy tackle on Streller as a through ball was played in was only going to being a red card from this referee, with just ninety seconds of normal time remaining. Two free-kicks flew over the bar, as Basel won free-kicks around the box and then the whistle went for another 30 minutes, with Spurs a man light.

A fine shot from 25 yards out by Elneny eight minutes into extra time saw Friedel work his angles out well, as, even though he didn't get to it, the ball beat his dive, but glanced off the post to go wide. Diaz curled a shot wide from 20 yards seconds before half-time in extra time and then, near the end, Alexander Frei got free on the left and shot at goal, but as the ball looked like it might beat Friedel, Michael Dawson slid across to stop the shot and concede a corner.

With some desperate attacking, Basel couldn't get anything else on target and the match went to penalties. And you know what happens next.  Spurs very rarely win penalty shoot-outs.  We are worse than England at it.  Maybe not having had a penalty in the Premier League this season might explain why we are so bad at them.  But Basel were fresher in leg and mind and better at taking penalties, so they go through, still only having won seven games out of 18 in the Europa League.

So, with an exit from Europe, all we have to look forward to for the rest of the season is what European competition we will be in next season.  Will it be the slog through round after round of Europa League football or the higher quality nature of the Champions League ?  Whatever the outcome, you know it won't be achieved in the most straightforward way possible.

Purcell Cole



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What you thought
East Stan Why are we so crap at penalties ? 

Tom Huddlestone is one of the best strikers of a ball at the club, so why did he try and place it instead of putting his foot through it ?  And why did Adebayor try to be too clever in putting the ball in the very top corner and over-cooking it ?

As soon as we got to the end of 120 minutes, you knew it was all going to go wrong.  Having put in so much effort in keeping Basel out in extra time with a man short, it was a tired set of players who stepped up to take the spot-kicks.

Where this leaves our season I don't know.  I would like to think our bad run is at an end, bnut with City next ... just coming into form and Chelsea later, it looks like the match at Stamford Bridge might be the play-off for Champions League this season.

Burton Bradstock After the last few games, I think we should change our motto to

"eam facere viam duram"

"Do it the hard way" !

- -.
Other scores during this round :
Newcastle United 1 Benfica (POR) (won 4-2 on agg.) 1 Thursday
SS Lazio (ITA)  1 Fenerbahce (TUR) (won 3-1 on agg.) 1 Thursday
Rubin Kazan (RUS)  3 Chelsea  (won 5-4 on agg.) 2 Thursday



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