OPPONENTS Tromso IL (Norway)
DATE Thursday 19th September 2013
VENUE White Hart Lane






The Norwegian side arrive at White Hart Lane in what must seem tropical weather for them, coming from the Arctic Circle.

Tromso have lead a charmed life in getting to the group stage. They entered the competition as Fair Play winners, having finished fourth in the Norwegian Tippeligaen and then they lost to Besiktas of Turkey in the qualifying round. This is where their luck kicked in, as Besiktas were thrown out of European football for their involvement in match fixing in the Turkish League.  So, with their poor form at home, especially away from home, they might feel that their priorities are elsewhere.

Despite beating Rosenborg in their last game 1-0, they are sitting low down in their league and have a team that is struggling a bit after two decent years.  They did qualify for the Cup-Winners Cup in 1997-98 and played Chelsea, who they lost heavily to.

They are not a side packed with household names, nor ones that are that pronounceable, so Josh Pritchard stands out.  Firstly because of his name and secondly, as he is on loan there from Fulham's development team.  Jaroslaw Fojut was once on Bolton Wanderer's books after being a promising player in Poland with Darzbor Szczecinek; now being used in defence, whereas once he was a midfielder.

They have a Czech player, one from Bosnia and Montenegro, another from Ghana, two Swedes, a German and a Finn.  Collectively, they should not pose too much of a problem for Spurs, who really just need to win their home matches in the group to go through.  This would allow the youngsters and fringe players to travel to far flung away games, thus preserving the first team squad for league matches back home in England.

I expect a few players to get a run out on Thursday night, with Lamela, Defoe, Naughton, Friedel and Kaboul amongst them, with a few first teamers thrown in and on the bench to ensure that the points are ours.  Not a great attraction for the fans, but the team should be able to put on an impressive showing against a side who will no doubt come with damage limitation on their mind.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    4        Tromso IL    0
Tottenham go into this Group K match in the Europa League at home to Tromso IL without Nacer Chadli (adductor muscle), Aaron Lennon (foot), Etienne Capoue (ankle), Emmanuel Adebayor (match fitness) and Vlad Chiriches (no work permit). 

ITV 4 - 19:00 (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.

Tottenham Hotspur  3 (2)                                                                   Tromso IL  0 (0)
Europa League
Thursday 19th September 2013                                                                                                                     Kick off 20:05
White Hart Lane
Defoe  21
Defoe  29
Eriksen  86


Johnsen (foul on Dembele)  60
Fojut (foul on Lamela)  70  


Crowd :   26,581 Weather :  Mild, dry after earlier rain
Referee :  Mr. L. Kovarik (Czech Republic) Assistant Referees :  Krystof Mencl;  Patrik Filipek (Czech Republic)
Fourth Official :  Antonin Kordula (Czech Republic) Additional Assistants :  Miroslav Zelinka; Petr Ardeleanu (Czech Republic)
Tromso kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Tromso IL : kit
25  Hugo LLORIS

20  Michael DAWSON (c)
  4  Younes KABOUL
  3  Danny ROSE (  5  Jan VERTONGHEN 39)

19  Mousa DEMBELE (23  Christian ERIKSEN 64 )

33  Erik LAMELA
14  Lewis HOLTBY (  8  PAULINHO 71)

18  Jermain DEFOE   

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL
17  Andros TOWNSEND
  9  Roberto SOLDADO
37  Harry KANE

    1  Marcus SAHLMAN

  6  Adnan CAUSEVIC
  3  Jaroslaw FOJUT     
  Miika KOPPINEN (c)  (23  Kent-Are ANTONSEN 61)

10  Thomas DRAGE  (15  Magnus ANDERSEN 78)
  Thomas Kind BENDIKSEN  (17  Lars Gunnar JOHNSEN 46     )

13  Zdenek ONDRASEK

Unused subs: 
27  Benny LEKSTROM
28  Hendrik HELMKE
19  William FRANTZEN
  9  Steffen NYSTROM

Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas Manager :  Agnar Christensen
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  SpareBank 1
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Legea
Match report

Norwegian side Tromso came to White Hart Lane fourth from the bottom of their league and with a terrible away record, which was continued with this 0-3 defeat as Spurs went top of Group K after one game.  Though well supported by a loyal hardcore following, there was little to cheer for them other than every time Gylfi Sigurdsson slipped over (although eh did this a number of times during the match).

While the Norwegians came into the game a little in the early part of the second half, Tottenham were always in control and it was just a question of how many goals they would get. Unfortunately, the second half saw Spurs step off the gas and coast through the game settling for a late goal to make it three after two Jermain Defoe first half goals.
Starting with a fairly strong side, Spurs went onto the attack, with the visitors trying to get as many men behind the ball as possible. Danny Rose beat a couple of players on the left to come inside and shoot at goal, but Sahlman had little trouble in getting behind it.  The width of the pitch was being exploited by Tottenham, with Lamela on the other side, showing goof footwork to try and create a chance for Sigurdsson, but the Argentinian helped Spurs into a 21st minute lead when he played a smart ball outside a defender to the right and Defoe ran onto it and lifted it over the diving Tromso keeper to creep into the net ahead of the covering defenders.  It was a well taken goal by a master goal-scorer and on this sort of form, he will be pushing Soldado for a starting place in the team.  However, the goal had come after a similar move saw Holtby put him through, but that time, Jermain hit the keeper's legs and the chance was lost.  Gylfi also had a volley saved when Sandro's pass into the box popped up for him to strike low, but straight at the keeper.

Spurs were rarely threatened in the first half and went on to have the lion's share of possession, pulling the huffing and puffing Tromso players around, while creating chances, as Kaboul missed from a couple of yards out as Holtby's corner was missed by everyone at the near post and in the middle.  But in the 29th minute, Defoe was on the spot again to convert Holtby's clever pass with a scuffed shot across the keeper from the left and it once more just had the legs to get to the net before anyone could reach it.

Shortly after the goal, Spurs lost Danny Rose to injury, perhaps sustained when he jumped over a strong challenge (one of many that they put in when they realised they were not likely to get much from the game) and went over on his ankle.  Jan Vertonghen replaced the left back, which was probably something that AVB could have done without, as he was trying to nurse players through the next three games in six days.  With the team clicking, there was some good passing football being played, with Holtby linking up with Defoe to set up Sigurdsson with a shot that curled a yard wide from outside the box.

A couple of minutes before the break, Tromso managed to get forward with Fulham loan midfielder Josh Pritchard breaking into the last Spurs third on the right, but his shot was hurried and went wide left as he shot from the edge of the area, pulling it well wide.  Before the half-time whistle, Defoe had a shot that looked as if it was going in deflected wide and when Lewis Holtby found himself in a shooting position, he couldn't keep it down.

It was nice to see Erik "The Viking" Thorstvedt back at the Lane as the half-time interviewee.  Just like David Ginola, Erik knew how to play the crowd and by the end of his time at the microphone, he had both sets of fans applauding him !!

The second half began with Spurs continuing to go forward and Sandro had a shot blocked in the box and Holtby shot wide, before Tromso had an attacking spell, without causing any real danger.  Mousa Dembele hit a shot too high before Christian Eriksen came on for him, being the victim of a bad tackle that saw Johansen booked and the Belgian carried off on a stretcher.  Losing a second player injured was definitely not in Villas-Boas' plans, after his comments leading up to the match about players not being given recovery time between matches.

As it was, the change helped Tottenham play the ball around even more, although Tromso did have their second shot of the game on 64 minutes, but once more Pritchard let the occasion get to him and he thrashed a shot that flew way over the top.  Spurs kept going forward, but with little more effort, but creating a headed chance for Sandro with twenty minutes to go, but with the ball slightly behind him, he couldn't generate any power on the effort on goal.

While moves at each end brought crosses and corners, there was little to worry the keepers until three minutes before the end.  Kyle Naughton moved up on the right wing and played the ball to Eriksen, who took a touch on the right hand corner of the box and smashed a dipping swerving shot that flew past the keeper into his top right hand corner of the net to make it 3-0.  It was  marvellous goal ... almost Bale like in it's execution, but this was Eriksen's alone.  Hopefully, it will be the first of many more.

Meanwhile at the other end, Younes Kaboul limped off and AVB was going mad trying to get the players into a new line-up, with Naughton going to left back and Sandro dropping further back.  As it was, he needn't have worried as the final few minutes failed to stir anything worth concerning wither side and the whistle went, sparking a rush from the Tromso players to get a Spurs shirt, as the Tottenham players might be less willing to remove them after the return game in the Arctic Circle.

A professional job, well done again and one that puts Spurs out in front in the group, with Anzhi and Sheriff drawing 0-0, which bodes well for the remaining group matches.

Simon Block


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Other scores during this week :
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Valencia (SPA) 0 Swansea City 3 Thursday
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League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Tottenham Hotspur 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 +3
2 Anzhi Machachkala 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
3 FC Sheriff 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
4 Tromso 1 0 0 1 0 3 0 -3


Position before match :  -
Position after match :  1st


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