|COMPETITION||Europa League Round of 32 2nd Leg|
|DATE||Thursday 21st February 2013|
Lyon showed enough last week in the first leg to give Spurs food for thought and while a goal for us would leave Lyon needing to score two to take it to extra time and three to win, complacency must not be allowed to creep in, as one goal could turn the match with a home crowd behind the French side.
While Gomis and Lopez were kept away from goal last week, they will be looking to get in the box more at home, while midfielders such as Lacazette and Fofana - both scorers at the weekend - will be seeking to bolster the attack by breaking from midfield. That is without accounting for defender Umtiti, who scored last week at the Lane, but it is unlikely that he will score another like that so soon. Well, I sincerely hope not !!
As for Tottenham, the breather of a free weekend should give them enough energy to go the full 90 (and more if required), but with a quick start, they might take Lyon by surprise and with the first leg proving that Lyon's replacement for Hugo Lloris - Remy Vercoutre has proved shaky. By peppering him with shots, they could seek to break a fragile confidence and any free-kick around the box might have him quaking in his boots, but it might be worth considering some other options from dead ball situations, with Kyle Walker an alternative.
I take Spurs to grab a goal and despite a spirited home team performance, go through by the narrowest of margins.
|PREDICTION||Olympique Lyonnais 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs go into the tie still missing Jermain Defoe (ankle), Sandro (knee) and Younes Kaboul (knee).
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Olympique Lyonnais 1 (1)
Thursday 21st February 2013
Venue : Stade Gerland
Tottenham Hotspur 1 (0)
Kick off 18:00
|Gonalons 17||Dembele 90|
Gonalons (foul on Bale) 63
Umtiti (throwing ball away) 75
Walker (foul on Lisandro) 25
Gallas (dissent) 65
|Crowd : 38,761||Weather : Chilly, dry|
|Referee : Wolfgang Stark (GER)||Assistant Referees : Jan Hendrik Salver & Mike Pickel (GER)|
|Fourth Official : Christoph Bornhorst (GER)||Additional Assistant Referees : Felix Zwayer & Tobais Welz (GER)|
|Olympique Lyonnais kicked off and played towards the Sud end in the first half.|
|Olympique Lyonnais :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
15 Milan BISEVIC
13 Anthony REVEILLERE
5 Dejan LOVREN
23 Samuel UMTITI
Lisandro LOPEZ (31
Rachid GHEZZAL 73)
Scott PARKER (29
Jake LIVERMORE 84)
10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
|Manager : Remi Garde||Manager : Andre Villas-Boas|
|Sponsor : Veolia||Shirt sponsor : Investec|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
Spurs did their usual trick of making matches exciting by leaving their goal until the last minute of normal time to go through to the last 16 with a tie against Internazionale awaiting next month. Mousa Dembele's left footed drive from outside the penalty area sunk Olympique Lyonnais, who had spent much of the match encamped in their own half defending a single goal scored in 16 minutes, which would have taken them through instead. As it was, former Gooner Remi Garde's master plan for a 1-0 to the Lyonnais failed as his former mentor Wenger's team is doing oh so regularly now.
Spurs brought in Lewis Holtby to start in the middle of the three behind Emmanuel Adebayor and Lyon dropped Steed Malbranque to bring in Clement Grenier, who scored at the weekend. In stark contrast to the unsporting and frankly ignorant Lyon fans, Spurs supporters did not boo Grenier every time he touched the ball, whereas the OL fans did to Brad Friedel just because it meant Hugo Lloris wasn't playing against his old side in front of his former supporters. If he had played they probably would have booed him too !! As it was Friedel enjoyed the last laugh with a gesture that they were all mouth and he had let his football do the talking on the pitch.
In truth, the fare on display was poor. Spurs conceded possession too easily, with Parker and Dembele particularly guilty, but Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Adebayor also free in giving the ball away. Adebayor had a poor first half, with a couple of nice touches almost breaking the deadlock of the massed ranks of the OL defence in the second half, with Mousa playing like a dog until his late, late goal. Easily Tottenham's most enterprising player in the first half was Lewis Holtby, who seemed fired up for the match, racing around shutting people down and spraying the ball around finding his targets.
The home side were out to get an early goal and while it had to wait until the 16th minute, it did come from a "professional" piece of play by Lisandro Lopez. Looking like a heavier version of Adel Taarabt, he only needed the slightest whisker of a touch to go down like a sack of spuds to win a free-kick and he tried it on, along with a number of his team-mates, although the German referee did get wise to it. However, when he rammed on the brakes tight to the Spurs left touchline, forcing Kyle Walker, who was too close to him to collide, there was a free-kick as a result. Grenier put the ball into the near post area with some pace on it and Gonalons rose in front of Bale, who was turning his back on it, to power a header low past Friedel to give the home side the lead and draw them level at 2-2 on aggregate, with the benefit of the away goal to their advantage.
It was a soft goal to conceded, much as it had been a soft free-kick to give away and it left Spurs a lot to do. Especially as l'autobus was about to be parked.
Dragging everyone back behind the ball at every opportunity, mostly leaving only Gomis up front, Lyon looked to defend their lead and to hit Spurs on the break. They nearly did when Lacazette pulled a low ball back to Lopez on the half hour, but his first time shot, with the ball coming across him, was dragged well wide. OL were working hard to not allow Spurs space to play, but the long periods of possession Tottenham had, they failed to make much headway with the ball. There was little penetration through the defence and only a ball from Parker down the right hand channel that just escaped Bale's run threatened that situation.
Lennon was finding it hard to get into the game and when Bale finally went on a long run from inside his own half in a central position to the right wing, he won a corner. However, when he took it, the ball failed to reach the near post. As it turned out, it was Tottenham's bright spark Holtby who had their best chance of the half, with a low shot that looked like it had insufficient power, but forced Vercoutre to go full length to his left to tip the ball onto the post and out with almost the last touch of the half.
This showed that Spurs could still pull something out of the bag, but despite AVB pushing BAE up on the left wing, little was produced form that area and Lyon were still persisting with the old Arsenal technique of strangling the life out of the game. It took five minutes into the second half for Adebayor to do something useful. Drifting out to the right wing, he floated a cross into the box that picked out Bale expertly and the Welshman took it confidently on the volley to try to surprise Vercoutre, but his left footed effort slid wide of the post by a ball's width and the chance went begging. Ten minutes later and it was Friedel who was saving the day, with a low stop with his hands close to his legs as Grenier poked a quick shot at goal from 10 yards out.
It was at this stage that Gareth Bale decided that he needed to do something about the situation and fired a couple of long range bombs in at Vercoutre, who fisted the shots away and did it well, but punching swerving drives is a dangerous game to play. Just after the hour a long ball over the top by Grenier looked to free Gomis, but Friedel was quickly out to fly kick the ball away, but it only went a matter of yards and Lacazette seized on it, taking it into the area and looking to go past the Spurs keeper. Luckily our American goalie was smart enough to shape to tackle him with an outstretched leg, but withdrew it at the last minute, causing the French midfielder to hit the floor, but looking foolish in doing so as the referee twigged that he had been looking for a penalty and was not interested.
In the 64th minute, Bale stepped up to fire in another long ranger sipping free-kick, but Vercoutre again chose to punch it out, although he got nowhere near Adebayor's hopeful lob over his shoulder back into the goalmouth from tight on the dead ball line on the left of the goal and the ball bounced off the face of the bar and when Lennon went for the rebound, he was lucky not to have his head taken off by a Lopez overhead kick. Bale thundered another effort on from even further out and Dempsey rose to head a corner from bale over the bar, when perhaps he might have done better to get it on target with a quarter of an hour to go. The American forward was in the thick of the action and poked another shot just wide from Adebayor's low ball in and then almost got on the end of a Bale cross-shot that flew just in front of him ten yards out.
It seems for all the world that Spurs were heading out of the competition, with Lyon making substitutions to bolster their midfield/defence and then adding Ghessal to try to run the ball forward. but their lack of discipline in just hacking the ball out lead to it coming back more and more, leaving one last go at goal by Spurs. Mousa Dembele got the ball from Assou-Ekotto on the left of centre and cut outside, dropping his shoulder to throw Gonalons off and he took a left foot shot from the edge of the box that flew low across the grass and past Vercoutre's left hand as he dived to try and keep it out of the bottom corner of his net ... unsuccessfully as it turned out, causing the Spurs fans behind that goal to go mental. It had been Mousa's one major contribution to the match and perhaps showed good belief by AVB in a man that I would have taken off if it had been up to me. Lucky it wasn't then !!
Lyon realised that they had to get the ball forward quickly and this lead to a couple of offside decisions against them and then Spurs got the ball down in the corner at the other end to run down time, with a huge boot across field by BAE leaving the ball with Umtiti at the final whistle. It was his goal that the home fans had hoped would be the difference between the two teams, but in the end, it was their own lack of ambition, to take the game to a under-par Spurs in the first half which was their undoing.
With Danny Blanchflower's quote about winning being about glory not boring the other team into submission, you have to wonder about the French side's tactics of stifling play, only to be beaten at the death. If revenge is a dish best served cold, then going through in the Europa League is best achieved with a last minute goal. All that time spent defending and hoofing the ball forwards was not time best spent by Lyon, who now have plenty of time to ruminate on their exit.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this round :|
|Benfica (POR) (Won 3-1 on agg.)||2||Bayer Leverkusen (GER) (Won 5-0 on agg.)||1||Thursday|
|Bordeaux (FRA) (Won 2-1 on agg.)||1||Dynamo Kyev (RUS)||0||Thursday|
|Chelsea (Won 2-1 on agg.)||1||Sparta Prague (CZE)||1||Thursday|
|Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR)||1||FC Basel (SWI) (Won 3-1 on agg.)||1||Thursday|
|Fenerbahce (TUR) (Won 1-0 on agg.)||1||Bate Borisov (BEL)||0||Thursday|
|Genk (BEL)||0||VfB Stuttgart (GER) (Won 3-1 on agg.)||2||Thursday|
|Hannover 96 (GER)||1||Anji Makhachkala (RUS) (Won 4-2 on agg.)||1||Thursday|
|CFG Kluj (ROM)||0||Internazionale (ITA) (Won 5-0 on agg.)||3||Thursday|
|SS Lazio (ITA) (Won 5-3 on agg.)||2||Borussia Moenchengladbach (GER)||0||Thursday|
|Liverpool||3||Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS) (3-3 on agg. Won on away goals)||1||Thursday|
|Metalist Kharkov (UKR)||0||Newcastle United (Won 1-0 on agg.)||1||Thursday|
|Olympiakos (GRE)||0||Levante (SPA) (Won 4-0 on agg.)||1||Thursday|
|Plzen (CZE) (Won 5-0 on agg.)||2||Napoli (ITA)||0||Thursday|
|Rubin Kazan (RUS) (Won 2-1 on agg.)||0||Atletico Madrid (SPA)||1||Thursday|
|Steaua Bucharesti (ROM) (Won 4-2 on pens a.e.t. 2-2 on agg.)||2||Ajax (HOL)||0||Thursday|
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