OPPONENTS Internazionale
COMPETITION Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg
DATE Thursday 14th March 2013
VENUE San Siro






On the evidence of the first leg, there is little to worry about in playing Internazionale, as they showed little threat to our goal at the Lane.  However, on their own turf, they will be a different proposition.  The Italians will be backed by a partisan crowd and might revert to type to get through to the last eight.

There were a couple of glimpses in the first leg to show that Spurs will need to be alert to stop the oppo getting chances and they will be hoping to at least hit the target when they do get through.  Only Friedel's late save with his foot stopped Inter grabbing a useful away goal/  And if Spurs can get one, then I can't see the Italians getting four. The only worry is that without Bale and maybe Lennon, it could mean Spurs lack the threat of lightning pace to worry the home side.

Cassano and co will be more of a threat on their own turf, but Spurs will need to dig in and not concede an early goal, because that might hand the impetus to Inter and invite them to push on.  A solid performance by the midfield five should be the basis for a decent outcome, with Tottenham always likely to grab one on the break.

This Nerazzurri side is nothing like that one we played in the Champions League and while they are unfortunate in having some of their more experienced players out, the same will be true for Spurs and so it might make it more of an even contest than the first leg, but I expect Tottenham to go through.

PREDICTION Internazionale    1      Tottenham Hotspur   1
Andrea Stramaccioni leaves Dejan Stankovic, Alvaro Pereira, Marco Benassi and Ezequiel Schelotto out of his squad for the match, while Walter Samuel and Diego Milito are both missing through injury.
Injuries to Clint Dempsey (calf), Sandro (knee) and Younes Kaboul (Knee) rule them out along with Gareth Bale serving a one match suspension.  Aaron Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor are both fit again and are in with a chance of playing.


ITV 4 - 18:00 (live)

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Internazionale  4 (1)     
Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg
Thursday 13th March 2013                             
Venue :  San Siro
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)       (a.e.t. 3-0 at 90 mins)

Kick off  18:00
Cassano 20
Palacio 52
Gallas o.g. 75
Alvarez  110
Adebayor 96
Juan Jesus (foul on Adebayor)  114



Livermore (time-wasting) 14
Friedel (time-wasting) 44
Walker (foul on Juan Jesus)  78
Adebayor (foul on Gargano) 115  


Crowd :   18,241 Weather :  Mild
Referee :  Ivan Bebek (Croatia) Assistant Referees :  Tomislav Petrovic; Miro Grgic (Croatia)
Fourth Official :  Dalibor Conjar (Croatia) Additional Assistant Referees :  Domogoj Vuckov; Goran Gabrillo (Croatia)
Internazionale kicked off the first half.
Internazionale : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit

  4  Javier ZANETTI (c)
26  Cristian CHIVU
29  Mateo KOVACIC (42  Marco BENASSI 79)
  JONATHAN (23  Andrea RANOCCHIA 107)

21  Walter GARGANO

40  Jesus JUAN     
14  Freddy GUARIN (42  'RICKY' ALVAREZ 71)
19  Esteban CAMBASSIO
  8  Rodrigo PALACIO

  Antonio CASSANO

Unused subs: 
27  Vid BELEC
28  Simone PASA
47  Matteo COLOMBI
60  Niccolo BELLONI

  24  Brad FRIEDEL    

28  Kyle WALKER    
13  William GALLAS (c)
16  Kyle NAUGHTON  (33  Steven CAULKER 104)

19  Mousa DEMBELE
  Scott PARKER

29  Jake LIVERMORE      (  7  Aaron LENNON 70)

18  Jermain DEFOE  (14  Lewis HOLTBY 56)
10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR    

Unused subs:
25  Hugo LLORIS

Manager :  Andrea Stramaccioni Manager :   Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   Pirelli Shirt sponsor :  Investec
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

What turned out to be a long night of hoping and wishing, all ended up well, with Spurs progressing on away goals and despite the shocks along the way, the victory proved that even when you are not performing to a level that would see you through, the team can still dig in to get the result they need ... JUST !!

Adebayor had made the starting eleven, while Lennon and Assou-Ekotto didn't, as AVB began the line-up in a 4-4-2 formation, with Naughton in for BAE and Gallas replacing Michael Dawson.

Spurs started really well, holding onto the ball and playing most of the opening fifteen minutes inside the Inter half, but they failed to make much of an impression in goal-scoring terms. Ironically, the referee seemed hotter on time-wasting than the barging and overly-physical approach adopted by the home team as they feared being out-muscled, as they were in the first leg. Some challenges were almost rugby like, with Jonathan throwing a block in front of Naughton at one stage.

When Cassano was straight through into the box and had the whites of the posts in his sights, he decided to slow down and try to draw Gallas into a foul to win a penalty, but his dramatic fall was twigged by the ref, who waved play on and funnily enough, he didn't get booked, as Bale had done in the first game. He had already been released won the right, but fired a shot straight at Brad who saved comfortably.

However, the balance of play was swinging Inter's way and when Jonathan released Palacio on the right wing and his cross picked out Cassano at the far post after 20 minutes. The Italian international headed down and the ball beat Friedel's dive to give the home team's fans something to shout about rather than whistle about when Tottenham had possession. And it was the failure of Kyle Walker or Mousa Dembele to track back after an attack had handed Inter a goal-kick that left Cassano in the space he needed to score from.

Almost straight away after the goal, Palacio was sent through the middle with Gallas trailing, but with only Friedel to beat, he tried to lob him and the ball bounced off the top of the bar.

Spurs had a chance when they fashioned a move that saw the ball set up for Gylfi Sigurdsson just outside the box and his right foot curling shot was palmed wide by Handanovic.

With possession being retained reasonably well by Spurs, they too some of the sting out of the play, but there were moments when things looked nervy, with Guarin firing an injury time shot from their left that Friedel beat out. When play switched to the other end, Inter's defence were more intent on knocking Defoe over than getting the ball and it ran to the left to Adebayor, who tried to chip Handanovic, but it sailed well over the bar, when a goal right before half-time might have put the tie out of Inter's reach.

It had been a first half of parts. Some good in keeping the ball and others when we looked shaky, with Inter looking to play the ball over or through the back line.

The second half started with Spurs holding the ball well and Inter hitting Tottenham players late every time they played the ball. When Adebayor charged forward on the right to play the ball square for Vertonghen, who had gone up to support the attack, the ball was won by Chivu. From there they launched an attack and with a ball through the defence from Cambiasso, Palacio had the opportunity to slide the ball past Friedel's left hand from around the penalty spot, to guide the ball inside the post and score Inter's second goal with 38 minutes still to play.

With the defenders piling forward for Spurs, there was little cover and with Adebayor not playing anything like to the level that is expected, it was a surprise when Defoe made way for Holtby to come on. Holtby wasn't very impressive in his first few involvements in the match, giving the ball away and then not getting back with Javier Zanetti, as he broke into the box on our left, but his low cross was blocked and Friedel claimed the ball.

The home fans whistled as Ricky came on for them and just before that, Aaron Lennon replaced Jake Livermore. The passing looked nervous and Spurs players were not as comfortable on the ball as they had been. Inter were winning a lot of loose balls and when Walker nudged Zanetti off the ball two yards outside the left hand corner of our penalty area, it provided Inter with an opportunity to get Cassano to fire in a free kick that came off the wall and then Gallas to nestle in the net for 3-3 with fifteen minutes left.

The referee was getting to be a bit of a joke, as Walker was scythed down by Jesus and then he booked the Spurs man for diving. His fellow full back, Naughton cut in with five minutes left to rifle a right foot shot that Handanovic had to palm just wide.

In injury time when Gallas failed to clear the ball, leaving it for Esteban Cambiasso the chance to go through on goal from the left side and his low shot was pulled wide by two feet, meaning the game would go into an extra half hour.

In the opening couple of minutes of the first period of extra time Spurs had three good chances to put the tie out of Inter's reach. Parker slipped through Lennon and only a sliding intervention from Zanetti at the cost of a corner stopped him scoring. From it, Vertonghen rose high to head down and Handanovic got down well for a big man to keep it out with his foot. From the resulting corner, Spurs had another free header, with Gallas heading powerfully but off target.

Just when you wondered why Adebayor was in the team, Demebele's low left foot shot from the left of the D saw the keeper save, but the ball ran out to the edge of the six yard box where Emmanuel jumped into to poke the ball into the net for a vital away goal. The ball had gone through a defender's legs, but Ade was well placed for once to knock in Tottenham's goal.

Twice in minute Friedel saved from shots from the right side of the box and Cassano nearly played in Gargano, but he couldn't reach the dinked through pass just before the teams turned around for the second period of extra time And in the first minute, the ball dropped for Cassano 22 yards out and his curling shot to Friedel's left saw the American goalie stretch his body to push it wide for a corner.

109 minutes in, substitute Rannochia nodded the ball wide to their left and when the cross came in from Cassano, Ricky Alvarez was there to head past Friedel despite getting a hand to the ball. The Inter man got in behind Vertonghen and found space at the far post.

As the game went on Inter were still intent on trying to reduce the Tottenham numbers. Having already felled Dembele with an elbow, both he and Sigurdsson were hit with late tackles. With Adebayor's booking for a kick at Gargano in the corner at the Inter end, Spurs gained their fifth booking, compared to the home team's one. The Croatian ref certainly saw the game differently to many watching.  An Inter corner in the last minute of extra time saw Rannochia headed over from close range when he got under the ball. That was before two added minutes were announced. Surprisingly, they passed reasonably uneventfully.

So, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief as once more Spurs do it the "Tottenham Way".  How long my heart will hold out if they continue this for the rest of the season, I don't know.  Maybe starting with the 4-4-2 gave Inter the sniff of a defensive set up, but with two forwards, AVB was obviously going for the away goal, but neither forward showed much inclination to hit the net, until Adebayor got his "Go Go Gadget" leg into action.  But the whole performance lacked the tempo and movement that caused Inter so many problems in the first game.  Without Bale and Lennon, the team lack width and more often than not, the play comes back infield, which wouldn't be too bad had Defoe and Ade been on it today, but we scraped through and into the Round of 8.  With Rubin still in it - a long trip could be on the cards, but that might be better for Chelsea.  Fenerbahce still remain for a fiery atmosphere or Lazio for a anti-Semitic atmosphere.   Will Spurs take this seriously enough to reach the Round of 2 ?   Tomorrow's draw will give us a hint.

Steve Dawkins



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Other scores during this round :
Bordeaux (FRA) 2 Benfica (POR) (won 4-2 on agg.) 3 Thursday
Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS) 1 FC Basel (SWI)  (won 2-1 on agg.) 0 Thursday
SS Lazio (ITA)  (won 5-1 on agg.) 3 VfB Stuttgart (GER) 1 Thursday
Newcastle United  (won 1-0 on agg.) 1 Anji Makhachkala (RUS) 0 Thursday
Rubin Kazan (RUS)  (won 2-0 on agg.) 2 Levante (SPA) 0 Thursday
Fenerbahce (TUR) (won 2-1 on agg.) 1 Plzen (CZE)  1 Thursday
Chelsea  (won 3-2 on agg.) 3 Steaua Bucharesti (ROM)  1 Thursday



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