COMPETITION Europa League - Qualifying Round Play-off First Leg
DATE Thursday 18th August 2011
VENUE Tynecastle






Having already started their season, Hearts have a couple of games under their belt and might be up and running more than Spurs, but Tottenham had the first game of the season postponed, so could be fresher and raring to go.

The Edinburgh club have been subject to a change of manager already and their side are learning the new system he is playing, so not all is as smooth as you might imagine.   One win, one draw and two losses is not the start that the Jambos would have hoped for.   One good thing of their season so far is former Spurs trainee John Sutton, scoring following his transfer from Motherwell.

Among their other players are Andy Webster (the man who the Webster Ruling is named after, where you can buy yourself out of a contract), former Sunderland strikers Kevin Kyle and Stephen Elliott, the lively Ugandan David Obou and lots of Lithuanian players recruited through contacts of the controversial owner Vladimir Romanov.

While Spurs are likely to be under full-strength, there will be enough first teamers who will give Hearts a match, although the nature of the draw will mean that the Scots are up for the battle against the English.

Spurs to edge the first leg before taking the tie comfortably overall at home next week.

PREDICTION Heart of Midlothian    1       Tottenham Hotspur   2
Rafael van der Vaart is fit for Tottenham's midfield, which will be missing Luka Modric (groin), Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Jermaine Jenas (Achilles), Wilson Palacios and Sandro (knee).  Ledley King's knee op is still keeping him out of the side, as is William Gallas with a calf injury.

It may be an opportunity for Harry Redknapp to use some of the fringe members of the squad with the second leg to come at White Hart Lane.


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Heart of Midlothian  0 (0)     
Europa League Qualifying Play-off First Leg
Thursday 18th August 2011                              
Venue :  Tynecastle
Tottenham Hotspur  5 (3)

Kick off 17:45
None van der Vaart  5
Defoe  13
Livermore  28
Bale  63
Lennon  78
     Templeton  86 (foul)
     Grainger 86 (kicking ball at Walker)
     Kaboul  51 (foul) 
Crowd :   16,279 Weather :  Drizzly, cloudy
Referee :  Tagliavento (Italy) Assistant Referees :  - (-)
Fourth Official :  - -
Heart of Midlothian : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Kello

  3  Grainger     
  6  Webster
26  Zaliukas
  2  Hamill

  8  Black
11  Driver (10  Elliott 64)
12  Templeton     

15  Sutton (19  Skacel 74)
31  Mrowiec (13  Obua 81)

Unused subs:
30  MacDonald
17  McGowan
  4  Jonsson
18  Novikovas

    1  Gomes

28  Walker
  4  Kaboul     
20  Dawson
32  Assou-Ekotto

  7  Lennon 
29  Kranjcar
29  Livermore 
  3  Bale  (  9  Townsend 70)

  van der Vaart  (  4  Huddlestone 59)

18  Defoe  (  9  Pavlyuchenko 79)

Unused subs: 
23  Cudicini
24  Friedel
22  Corluka
19  Bassong

Manager :  Paulo Sergio Manager :   Harry Redknapp
Match report

Spurs travelled to Tynecastle with no competitive football under their belts this season, but taught Hearts an object lesson in how to pass crisply, keep the bal and run their opponents ragged, as they went on to take a 5-0 lead back to White Hart Lane in the second leg next week.

Much discussion about the abject state of Scottish football following this result will effectively end any chance there may have been to bring the two Glasgow clubs into the Premier League and even if they came in at Championship level, there is no guarantee that they would win a place in the top flight.

For the watching Dave Mackay, it must have been a bitter-sweet experience.  His two old clubs battling it out for a place in the lower of the two European competitions.  And while he may have been taken back to the Glory Glory times at Tottenham, with the sharp passing and movement typified by Bill Nicholson's Double side, he will no doubt have been disappointed that Hearts had little of the fire and drive that he used to display in their midfield.

The home side were reduced to petty late challenges and off the ball blocking to try and prevent Spurs running wild.  But that is what they did inside the first thirty minutes in a direct turn-around of last season's slide against Young Boys in the first half of the Champions League qualifier.

With space being afforded to both Lennon and Bale, as well as Kranjcar and van der Vaart in midfield, the white shirts were on the move to pull the maroon ones all over the place.  This left opportunities to test Kello and then find the net.  Bale had been tormenting Grainger for the opening five minutes, beating his man as well as setting up Kranjcar to play in van der Vaart for an effort that went wide.  A neat piece of inter-play from Defoe, who cut inside, played the ball off a defender with it falling to VDV, who then got a rebound off a home defender and his own arm, before he coolly slid the ball under Kello with his left foot from around the penalty spot.  Not a bad start to the season, belated though it was !!

Within eight minutes Defoe had started a move deep in the Tottenham half, before the ball was worked out to Lennon on the left wing, where he played the ball and got it back from Rafa, hitting a first time pass into the path of JD on the edge of the box, where he took a touch and confidently stroked the ball past the Hearts keeper for 2-0.  The Hearts team looked mesmerised by the way Tottenham were playing and had few answers to it.

Spurs continued to make chances, with Bale putting a fierce ball across the face of goal with nobody on hand to convert it, as well as ripping a shot over the goal.  28 minutes had elapsed when another slick piece of passing opened up Hearts very easily.  Some neat passing on the edge of the box ended with Defoe playing a cute pass into Livermore just inside the box and the young midfielder took the ball wide of the keeper and slipped it into the net for the third goal for Tottenham.

As the half went on, Kello was the busier of the two keepers, with Gomes hardly bothered by the Hearts attack, apart from a Stevenson shot side with eight minutes to go to half-time.  In between the goal and that effort, Defoe struck the bar with an acrobatic volley, but he was offside and then he was centrally placed and hit a weak left foot shot straight at the keeper.  Kaboul had a moment to make a name for himself, when Bale's corner was flicked on at the near post by a Hearts man and the French defender chested the ball down, but hit it on the up, sending the ball well over the bar.

Mackay's appearance at half-time brought cheers from both sets of fans, with the Hearts supporters at last having something to make some noise about, as their early enthusiasm had been silenced bar the abuse hurled at Tottenham's superior players.

Their players did have a bit of a go at the start of the second half, with a series of corners giving the Tottenham defence some nervy moments, with the ball being flung in to cannon off anything that was in the way.  Gomes had to claw one shot away and get down to his right to keep another shot from Stevenson out, but the same player knocked an acceptable chance wide of the near post when Driver drove in a low ball to the front of the six yard box.  Bearing in mind some of the 'rustic' challenges that the Jambos players were making, it was ironic that Kaboul was the first in the book, but he did deserve it as he stretched for a tackle with his studs showing. 

Kyle Walker had started at right back and although he didn't get forward too much, he did manage to use his pace getting back to deprive Templeton of the ball when going into the box.  In that move, van der Vaart stretched and Hud came on to replace him and his introduction posed Hearts other problems.  His strength was an issue, as even the physical approach failed to disturb him and he played a one-two with Defoe before shooting over, when it looked like the keeper had touched it.  However, his next involvement in the 63rd minute was to chip a ball over the back-line for Bale to sprint onto and touch wide to the left as Kello ran out.  He composed himself to steer the ball into an empty net to make the score 4-0.

Five minutes later Gareth made way for Andros Townsend and his pace made Hamill turn and the lively winger played a hard, low ball across goal, with nobody there to convert it.  Fifteen minutes were left when Skacel got on the end of Elliott's cross and Gomes kept the ball out with a dive and a hand to the ball.  not that Spurs had to worry as in the 78th minute, from a Hearts corner, they broke to find Townsend in the centre circle and he played the ball inside the full back for Defoe on the left.  The England striker looked up, player a pacy ball into the six yard box and Aaron Lennon cut across the front of his man to divert the ball with a side-foot past Kello for the fifth Spurs goal.  It might have been that the tie was over then.

Townsend went close with a long range effort and Kranjcar brought a save from Kello from a free-kick before the ball eventually made it down to the Spurs end and Stevenson's snap-shot went inches wide.

The final whistle ended Hearts' misery and they were a broken team.  Spurs waved and celebrated as it was job done.  And it might allow Harry to field some even younger players (and Friedel) in the return leg on Thursday next week.


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What you thought



Other scores in the qualifying round first leg ties :
Aalesunds FK (NOR) 2 AZ Alkmaar (HOL) 1 Thursday
AEK Athens (GRE) 1 Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) 0 Thursday
Athletic Bilbao (SPA) 0 Trabzonspor (TUR) 0 Thursday
Atletico Madrid (SPA) 2 Guimares (POR) 0 Thursday
Austria Vienna (AUS) 3 Gaz Metan Medias (ROM) 1 Thursday
Besiktas (TUR) 3 Alania Vladikavkas (RUS) 0 Thursday
Bursaspor (TUR) 1 Anderlecht (BEL) 2 Thursday
Differdange (LUX) 0 Paris St. Germain (FRA) 4 Thursday
Ekranas Panezavys (LIT) 1 Hapoel Tel Aviv (ISR) 0 Thursday
FC Metalist Kharvik (UKR) 0 Sochaux (FRA) 0 Thursday
FC Nordsjaelland (DEN) 0 Sporting Lisbon (POR) 0 Thursday
FC Thun (SWI) 0 Stoke City 1 Thursday
FC Vaslui (HUN) 2 Sparta Prague (CZE) 0 Thursday
FC Zestafoni (GEO) 3 Club Brugge (BEL) 3 Thursday
Fulham 3 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (RUS) 0 Thursday
Glasgow Celtic 0 Sion (SWI) 0 Thursday
Hannover 96 (GER) 2 Sevilla (SPA) 1 Thursday
HJK Helsinki (FIN) 2 Schalke 04 (GER) 0 Thursday
Lazio (ITA) 6 Rabotnicki Skopje (MAC) 0 Thursday
Legia Warsaw (POL) 2 Spartak Moscow (RUS) 2 Thursday
Litex Lovech (BUL) 1 Dynamo Kiev (UKR) 2 Thursday
Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS) 2 FC Spartak Trnava (SVK) 0 Thursday
Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR) 3 Panathinaikos (GRE) 0 Thursday
Nacional (POR) 0 Birmingham City 0 Thursday
NK Maribor (SLO) 2 Glasgow Rangers 1 Thursday
Omonia Nicosia (CYP) 2 Red Bull Salzburg (AUS) 1 Thursday
PAOK Salonika (GRE) 2 Karpaty Lviv (UKR) 0 Thursday
Red Star Belgrade (SER) 1 Rennes (FRA) 2 Thursday
Rosenborg (NOR) 0 AEK Larnaca (CYP) 0 Thursday
Shamrock Rovers (IRE) 1 Partizan Belgrade (SER) 1 Thursday
Slask Wroclaw (POL) 1 Rapid Bucharest (ROM) 3 Thursday
Slovan Bratislave (SVK) 1 AS Roma (ITA) 0 Thursday
Sporting Braga (POR) 0 Young Boys Of Bern (SWI) 0 Thursday
Standard Liege (BEL) 1 Helsingborgs (SWE) 0 Thursday
Steaua Bucharest (ROM) 2 CSKA Sofia (BUL) 0 Thursday
SV Ried (AUS) 0 PSV Eindhoven (HOL) 0 Thursday
Vorskla Portava (UKR) 2 Dinamo Bucharest (ROM) 1 Thursday


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