OPPONENTS Fiorentina (Italy)
COMPETITION Europa League - Round of 32 first leg
DATE Thursday 18th February 2016
VENUE Stadio Artemio Franchi
PREVIEW No preview produced.
PREDICTION Fiorentina    1         Tottenham Hotspur    2
Last season's corresponding fixture

BT Sport - (live coverage)

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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 & 15.00 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
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South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
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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.

Fiorentina  1 (0)                                                                       
Europa League  Round of 32 First Leg
Thursday 18th February 2016
Stadio Artemio Franchi
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (1)

Kick off 18:00
Bernardeschi  58m 45s Chadli (p) 36m 51s
Astori (foul on Alli)  20



Alli (kick at Tomovic) 29
Davies (foul on Blaszczykowski) 49
Dembele (foul on Badelj)  67
Kane (foul on Gonzalo)


Crowd :   , Weather :  Chilly
Referee :  Felix Zwayer (Germany) Assistant Referees :  Thorsten Schiffner (GER); Marco Achmüller (GER)
Fourth Official :  Mark Borsch (GER) Additional Assistant Referees : Tobias Stieler (GER); Robert Hartmann (GER)
UEFA Delegate :  Pertti Alaja (FIN) UEFA Referee Observer : Hugh Dallas (SCO)
Spurs kicked off the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes.
Fiorentina : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
12  Ciprian TATRUSANU

28  Marcos ALONSO
  2  Gonzalo RODRIGUEZ (c)
  Davide ASTORI     
  3  Nenad TOMOVIC

16  Jakub BLASZCZYKOWSKI  (  9 Nikola KALINIC  62)
  6  Tino COSTA  (  8  Matias VECINO 67)
10  Federico BERNARDESCHI 
72  Josip ILILIC  (  5  Milan BADELJ  61)

  7  Mauro ZARATE

Unused subs: 
33  Luigi SEPE
14  Matias FERNANDEZ
23  Manuel PASQUAL
30  Khoma BABACAR

  13  Michel VORM

16  Kieran TRIPPER
27  Kevin WIMMER
33  Ben DAVIES     

28  Tom CARROLL (19 Mousa DEMBELE 46     )
  8  Ryan MASON (c)

20  Dele ALLI     
23  Christian ERIKSEN
  7  Heung-Min SON (10 Harry KANE 68     )

22  Nacer CHADLI  (15 Eric DIER 79)

Unused subs: 
31  Luke McGEE
  2  Kyle WALKER

  3  Danny ROSE
25  Josh ONOMAH

Manager :  Paulo Sousa Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   - Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Le Coq Sportif Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

With the usual Europa League changes implemented by Mauricio Pochettino, it didn't seem to make much of a difference to the performance as Spurs set out to win the game and were unlucky to only return from Italy with a 1-1 draw.

With Ryan Mason leading the team, Spurs were confident in possession and accurate in their passing.  They stroked the ball about with ease, as Fiorentina sat back and drew Spurs onto them, but put up a defensive wall when Tottenham got close to their penalty area.  Dele Alli was fortunate not to see a red card when Tomovic shepherded the ball off and fell on the floor by the dead ball line, only for the Tottenham midfielder to kick him in the stomach. The ref showed him a yellow card and it could have been much worse.

There were few direct efforts on goal, with only Eriksen's raking 25 yarder that had the keeper pushing the ball over the top for Spurs, but the way they closed down Fiorentina and made them retreat into their own half was impressive. With the majority of possession and territorial superiority, the goal came from the penalty spot when Carroll and Davies exchanged passes, with the Welshman bursting into the area, where Tomovic dived in and took Ben's foot, with the referee right on the spot to point to the spot. With Harry Kane on the bench, Nacer Chadli stepped up and slotted the spot-kick into the bottom right corner of the keeper's net, while the goalie went the other way.

Fiorentina had chances, mainly through Zarate, who could have had a first half hat-trick, but hit two good pull-backs over the bar. The former West Ham striker then shot wide, instinctively, when Ililic's cross got over Alderweireld's head and Bernardeschi managed to make the ball go behind him when two yards out from goal and Zarate's instant reaction also managed to miss the target from close range.

The second half started with a foul on Chadli on the left wing, which Eriksen swung in to the near post. Son had been offside and moved back before moving forward again to head the ball past Tatarusanu, but the linesman's flag denied him the goal, as he had gone beyond the last man. It was five more minutes before the next effort, when Son played in Chadli on the left, who cut inside onto his right foot and tried to beat the keeper at his near post, but he got down to save it.

Shortly after, the scores were level when Bernardeschi took a punt with a 30 yard shot, which would have been comfortable for Vorm had it not taken a deflection off Mason's foot and the ball looped over the keeper into the top corner of the net. Ryan might have closed the Fiorentina man a bit quicker, but it was bad luck that the ball ended up where it did.

The goal gave the home team a lot more impetus and Spurs looked a bit rattled, as they were pressured on the ball and turned over possession more than they had been so far in the game.

With three minutes left, Tottenham almost grabbed a late winner, with Eriksen's ball out to Trippier on the right producing a cross that was pulled back to the far post. Dele Alli met it with an overhead kick, but he could not keep the ball down. Zarate almost scored, when he hit a 22 yard shot that caught a deflection and Vorm had to scramble to his left to save. From the corner, Gonzalo met the ball at the near post with his head, but glanced it across goal and wide of the far post. Vorm had to save again from Zarate, as a clearance dropped to him and he took it first time, trying to lob the keeper, but he got across to save, although it was going wide in the end anyway.

Fiorentina embarrassingly played a very “Italian” game in the second half, throwing themselves to the floor too easily, with the referee falling for it, as easily as the violet shirted players were plunging to the turf. Into injury time, they were obviously trying to con the ref into a sending off, with some dramatic over-acting from simple physical contact.  Luckily, Spurs managed to see out the game without any further cautions for those already on yellow cards, but Kane got a yellow for bumping into the Fiorentina captain, who went down like he had been punched by Muhamed Ali, which was strange, as when Costa had forearmed Alli in the windpipe, the Fiorentina player was only punished by a  free kick.  The referee was inconsistent for both sides !!

Becoming the first English team to score against Fiorentina at home in European competition at the Stadio Artemmio Franchi was some landmark, but to only come home with a draw will be a little disappointing, but that shows how far the team have come in a year, when they were losing there 0-2 last season.   The side played well and again, the players who came in showed calm, confident ability to fit into the side without much difficulty.  With the FA Cup tie with Palace on Sunday before the second leg next Thursday, some of these players could get some more playing time, which might not be a bad thing, as the more they get used to playing together, the easier they will be able to be take their game on as a team. 

Kirk Hammerton




Fiorentina were never regarded as a serious team in Serie A until they rode on the back of the Magic Roundabout to find credibility, being based in Florence.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Fenerbahce (TUR) 2 Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS) 0 Tuesday
Anderlecht (BEL) 1 Olympiakos (GRE) 0 Thursday
Ausburg (GER) 0 Liverpool 0 Thursday
Borussia Dortmund (GER) 2 FC Porto (POR) 0 Thursday
FC Mydtylland (DEN) 2 Manchester United 1 Thursday
FC Sion (SWI) 1 Sporting Braga (POR) 2 Thursday
Galatasaray (TUR) 1 SS Lazio (ITA) 1 Thursday
Marseille (FRA) 0 Athletic Bilbao (SPA) 1 Thursday
St. Etienne (FRA) 3 FC Basel (SWI) 2 Thursday
Sevilla (SPA) 3 Molde (NOR) 0 Thursday
Shakthar Donetsk (UKR) 0 Schalke 04 (GER) 0 Thursday
Sparta Prague (CZE) 1 FK Krasnador (RUS) 0 Thursday
Sporting Lisbon (POR) 0 Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 1 Thursday
Valencia (SPA) 6 Rapid Vienna (AUS) 0 Thursday
Villarreal (SPA) 1 Napoli (ITA) 0 Thursday


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


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