OPPONENTS Partizan Belgrade
COMPETITION Europa League Group C
DATE Thursday 18th September 2014
VENUE Partizan Stadium






Not knowing a lot about the Serbia club, it is difficult to give an in depth analysis, but Milos Veljkovic reckons they have a couple of good youngsters who play in the Serbian Under-21s alongside him.  He reckons left-back Nemanja Petrovic and attacking midfielder Andrija Zivkovic will both be players to watch.

They have the wonderfully named Zivko Zivkovic in goal; captain Sasa Ilic who has played in Spain, Turkey and Austria; Ivory Coast born Ismael Beko Fofana was with Charlton for four years without getting a game in the first team and has since being playing for teams you have never heard of; defender Branko Ilic is a 53 time capped Slovenian international who is now entering the veteran stage of his career after playing in Spain, Russia and the Middle East and might have trouble against pace; then Petar Grbic, Vladimir Volkov and Nikola Drincic are all Montenegrin internationals.  Danko Lazovic was a PSV Eindhoven player when they knocked Spurs out of the UEFA Cup in 2007-08 and had his penalty saved in the penalty shoot-out, but the Dutch side went on to a win on penalties.

The rest of the squad are all Serbian and while their senior national side has been feted for reaching the World Cup finals, their Under-21s were unfortunately involved in the racism incidents that marred the England Under-21 win in Serbia a couple of years ago, which saw Steven Caulker and Danny Rose involved in shocking scenes.

I hope the game passes off without anything like that happening again, with Partizan hoping that their play-off win over Neftci of Azerbaijan by 5-3 on aggregate.  It looks as though they can score goals, but the differencee in quality between the Azerbaijani league and the Premier League might be a bit too much for them to broach.  With Spurs putting out a very decent side, I think there will be three points to start the group games for Tottenham.

PREDICTION Partizan Belgrade    0         Tottenham Hotspur    3
Spurs have left Danny Rose, Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor, Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele at home to rest, with Kyle Walker still recovering from hip surgery ruling him out too.  Roberto Soldado might be fit after having a stiff neck and back, while Federico Fazio and Michel Vorm are ready to amke their debuts if called on.
Petar Skuletic is suspended for this match.

ITV 4 - 19:00 (live)

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Partizan Belgrade  0 (0)                                                                                   Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)
Europa League Group C
Thursday 19th September 2014                                                                                                                    Kick off 18:00
Partizan Stadium
B. Ilic (foul on Stambouli) 57
Luka (foul on Capoue) 86


Townsend (dissent)  34
Davies (foul on Townsend)  48


Crowd :   , Weather :  Warm
Referee :  Alon Yefet (ISR) Assistant Referees :  Amihay Yehoshua Mozes, Mahmud Mahagna (ISR)
Fourth Official :  Yehiel Levy Haluba (ISR) Additional Assistants : Eli Hacmon, Ziv Adler (ISR)
Partizan Belgrade kicked off the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes
Partizan Belgrade : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
25  Milan LUKAC

13  CIRKOVIC  (21  Sasa MIRKOVIC 68)
  Vojislav STANKOVIC
30  Branko ILIC     
3  VOLKOV  (  5  Nemanja PETROVIC 55)

  4  Miroslav VULICEVIC
  Nikola DRINCIC
22  Sasa ILIC  (c)
  Danilo PANTIC
14  Petar GRBIC  (  7  Predag LUKA 85     )

27  Danko LAZOVIC

Unused subs: 
11  Nikola NINKOVIC
  Andrija ZIVKOVIC
10  Ismael Beko FOFANA


    1  Hugo LLORIS

21  Federico FAZIO
33  Ben DAVIES     

42  Nabil BENTALEB
25  Benjamin STAMBOULI  (29  Etienne CAPOUE  72)

17  Andros TOWNSEND       (11  Erik Lamela 59)
  8  PAULINHO  (  9 Roberto SOLDADO 60)
  7  Aaron LENNON

18  Harry KANE

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

15  Eric DIER
23  Christian ERIKSEN

Manager :  Marko Nikolic Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   None Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

Tottenham's opening Group C Europa League match in Belgrade saw ten changes form the team that faced Sunderland last Saturday and the changes may not have helped Spurs be as fluent as they looked at the Stadium of Light.  However, they displayed a confidence on the ball, which was a little concerning sometimes on a pitch that did not allow the ball to run true.  However, there was enough control to limit Partizan's efforts on goal, but there was a lack of action for  Lukac in the home goal, as the match finished goal-less.

Spurs started well and were almost ahead after 68 seconds. A corner on our right was headed on at the near post by a defender and the ball found its way to Kane at the far post. Harry took a touch past a defender and from a narrow angle struck a rising shot that beat the keeper but bounced down off the crossbar and was hacked clear.
Tottenham had to face a typically European performance, with every challenge being met with a Partizan player falling to ground holding his face in the hope of securing a red card. It really is shameful and I donít know why officials canít see through it, especially as there are five sets of eyes to see it.

A lot of Partizanís attacking moves came from our left back position, with crosses into the box, which mostly failed to find their target. They did have a good chance in the 25th minute from the other side when Fazio got under a long throw into the area, trying to beat Lazovic to the ball, but it left him free on the corner of the six yard box and Vertonghenís block prevented the effort troubling Lloris. Ben Davies looked hesitant to start with and maybe Partizan seized on that.

Spurs plugged away with their passing to try and find a way through the Partizan massed ranks and the ploughed field that was the pitch. Passes jumped up like vicious leg-spinners, while judging a ball through was not as easy as it should have been, with the speed off the turf also being variable, as was the colour of it. The possession meant that most of the half was played with most of the players in the Partizan last third, making it hard to make clear cut chances and it being a chess game, rather than two sides going for it.

Tottenham almost got through when Townsend, who wasnít getting much joy out wide, played a neat lofted pass from a central position on halfway and nearly picked out Lennon, but the keeper came out to claim it. The passing was generally good, with Stambouli playing some neat short passes through to the players breaking forward. However, just before half time, a Spurs corner was caught by the keeper and the home team broke quickly to find space on their right, but the shot from Pantic went low straight at Lloris at his near post.

Spurs kicked off the second half and Davies was soon in the book when he brought down Lazovic out wide and the free-kick was punched out by Hugo. It seemed to rattle Davies and he had to bailed out by Fazio, before the Partizan side played Lazovic through on their left and his pull back was scuffed at Lloris by Grbic. Spurs were getting closed down quickly in the first fifteen minutes of the half, but Lamela came on for Townsend and Soldado for Paulinho, who had not been involved a great deal.
On the hour, a cross from the left was almost touched in by Lazovic, but Davies played him offside and Hugo made the save before the refís whistle gave Tottenham the free-kick. Lamelaís early ball out to Soldado on the left saw the Spaniard cross for Kane, who was just eased out of it by a defender. The Serbian team were reasonably neat in their passing, but their main strength was their strength in holding Spurs players off the ball. They were without their star striker, but appeared to lack the adventure to make Tottenham work hard at the back.

The crowd had been quietened during the first half, but Partizanís spirited second half got them singing again. The flags had stopped waving and the shirts were not twirling around the home fans heads, as Spurs started to take a bit of control of the ball. They failed to create anything with it and then a scuffed Davies clearance went straight to Sasa Ilic and he sliced it way over the bar. They got free wide right and Grbic lifted a cross to the far post where their captain put his header way over from ten yards out.

Most of Partizanís best pressure came from set-pieces, but Tottenham defended them pretty well with a new back four playing together for the first time. In the last ten minutes, Partizan looked tired, but were given impetus when Bentaleb gave away a needless free-kick when Spurs were on the attack.
The second half failed to produce a save from the Partizan keeper and were seemingly happy enough to knock the ball about without penetrating the home defence. Partizan were more dangerous in the second period, but they lacked the necessary quality in making anything of the balls slung into the Tottenham box. Fazio did better in the second half, when the ball was played in the air and he won a good majority of headers, while Stambouli was steady and used the ball well, despite some physical attention from the home players.

So, once more it is about turning possession into goals and although a point from the opening group game was not the best result, with Partizan a limited side, but points away from home and three home victories should see Tottenham through.

Matt Enright



The Serbian club got their name when someone proclaimed to be partizan to Belgrade and the chairman at the time thought this was a good idea, as opposed to being a bit red star to Belgrade.

Without a competitive meeting between the two clubs in Europe, Spurs did meet Partizan in the Kappa Cup in Barcelona, when only about 200 fans turned out in the Olympic Stadium and were place din direct midday sunshine.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this round :
Group A
Apollo Limassol (CYP) 3 FC Zurich (SWI) 2 Thursday
Borussia Moenchengladbach (GER) 1 Villarreal (SPA) 1 Thursday
Group B
FC Kobenhavn (DEN) 2 HJK Helsinki (ICE) 0 Thursday
Club Brugge (BEL) 0 Torino (ITA) 0 Thursday
Group C
Besiktas (TUR) 1 Asteras (GRE) 1 Thursday
Group D
Red Bull Salzburg (AUS) 2 Glasgow Celtic 2 Thursday
Dinamo Belgrade (SER) 5 Astra (ROM) 1 Thursday
Group E
PSV Eindhoven (HOL) 1 Estoril (POR) 0 Thursday
Panathinaikos (GRE) 1 Dinamo Moscow (RUS) 2 Thursday
Group F
Qarabag (AZE) 0 St. Etienne (FRA) 0 Thursday
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR) 0 Internazionale (ITA) 1 Thursday
Group G
Standard Liege (BEL) 2 HNK Rijeka (CRO) 0 Thursday
Sevilla (SPA) 2 Feyenoord (HOL) 0 Thursday
Group H
Everton 4 Wolfsburg (GER) 1 Thursday
Lille (FRA) 1 Krasnodar (RUS) 1 Thursday
Group I
Napoli (ITA) 3 Sparta Prague (CZE) 1 Thursday
Young Boys Bern (SWI) 5 Slovan Bratislava (SLK) 0 Thursday
Group J
Steaua Bucaresti (ROM) 6 Aalborg (DEN) 0 Thursday
Rio Ave (POR) 0 Dinamo Kiev (UKR) 3 Thursday
Group K
PAOK (GRE) 6 Dinamo Minsk (BLR) 1 Thursday
Fiorentina (ITA) 3 Guingamp (FRA) 0 Thursday
Group L
Metalist Kharkiv (UKR) 1 Trabsonspor (TUR) 2 Thursday
Legia Warsaw (POL) 1 Lokeren (BEL) 1 Thursday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Asteras Tripolis 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0
2 Besiktas 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0
3 Partizan Belgrade 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
4 Tottenham Hotspur 1 0 1 0 0 0 1  


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


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