OPPONENTS Anderlecht
COMPETITION Europa League  Group J
DATE Thursday 22ndth October 2015
VENUE Constant Vanden Stockstadion
PREVIEW No preview produced.
PREDICTION Anderlecht    1         Tottenham Hotspur    1

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Anderlecht  2 (1)                                                                       
Europa League  Group J
Thursday 22nd October 2015
Constant Vanden Stockstadion
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (1)

Kick off 18:00
Gillett  12m 13s
Okaka  74m 22s
Eriksen  3m 33s
Praet (foul on Trippier)  57
Tielemens (foul on Kane)  61 


N'Jie (foul on Dendonker)  54


Crowd :   , Weather :  Mild
Referee :  - (-) Assistant Referees :  - (-)
Fourth Official :  - -
- kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 5 minutes.
Anderlecht : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  SILVIO PROTO  (c)

30  Guillaume GILLETT 
  4  KARA Mbodj
  3  Olivier DESCHACHT

  8  Steven DEFOUR
10  Dennis PRAET       (17  Ibrahima CONTE  92)
31  Youri TIELMENS     

93  Imoh EZEKIEL  (18  Frank ACHEAMPONG 66)

99  Stefano OKAKA    (26  Idrissa SYLLA 88)

Unused subs: 
33  Davy ROEF
34  Michael HEYLEN
38  Andy KAWAYA

    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

16  Kieran TRIPPIER
33  Ben DAVIES

19  Mousa DEMBELE  (20  Dele ALLI  65)
15  Eric DIER

17  Andros TOWNSEND  (25  Josh ONOMAH  80)
23  Christian ERIKSEN 
11  Erik LAMELA

14  Clinton N'JIE       (10  Harry KANE  59)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
Danny ROSE
27  Kevin WIMMER
29  Harry WINKS

Manager :  Besnik Hasi Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Proximus Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

Tottenham failed to gain a grip on Europa League Group J despite taking a very early lead in the gamer at Anderlecht, only ending up failing to take anything from the trip to Belgium as they return home with a 1-2 defeat.

The attack on Spurs fans in Brussels the evening before the game set the tone for the evening, with the team constantly attacking Spurs once they got into the game.  The ring of steel around the ground ensured no incidents took place within its vicinity.

The game started at a break-neck speed and the score could have been 2-1 after two minutes. An early cross from Ezekiel almost caught Hugo Lloris out and his save almost palmed the ball into his own net, but it went wide for a corner. From that, the home side played the ball back and a cross came in for Dendonker to head on target from the edge of the penalty area, but it was straight at the centrally positioned Spurs goalkeeper.

When Lloris belted the ball up-field, Christian Eriksen nudged a defender off the bouncing ball and took his shot early, but didn't get much power behind it. Even then, goalie Proto was left limping as he fell with his weight on his ankle.

Spurs attacked again and a ball through to Eriksen was a little behind him, but his flick hit a defender and it ricocheted back into his path off the face of Dendonker and the Danish midfielder drove the ball past the right hand side of the keeper to find the net and give Tottenham the lead with just four minutes on the clock.

Tottenham looked comfortable, stroking the ball around and creating shots for Eriksen (blocked) and Lamela, through into the box from Eriksen's pass, but it was stuck under his feet and his shot was saved by the keeper.

Anderlecht were picking up corners, from which Spurs did not look confident in defending. With Vertonghen wrestling at the near post, the ball skipped through to the back of the penalty area, where Gillet chested the ball down and hit a low volley beyond Lloris' dive to equalise in the 13th minute.

With a foul on Okaka, Alderweireld conceded a free-kick on the Belgian side's left. Defour played it in and a poor header out dropped for Okaka, who struck the ball first time and fiercely, forcing Lloris to beat out the shot with a fine save.

Spurs thought they had gone one better, with Vertonghen picking off an Anderlecht pass inside their half and moving forward with the ball. As he got to the edge of the box, stretching, he slipped the ball to his right, where Lamela passed the ball inside the keeper's right hand post and into the goal. Unfortunately, he was a good coupleof yards offside and the goal was chalked off.

The final third of the first half was to and fro, but neither side carved out a meaningful chance.

After the break, the teams exchanged attacks, with N'Jie taking a pass from Eriksen inside the area, but losing out to a good tackle by Deschacht and then Gillet moving onto a ball from Tielemens, striking it first time and with power, but finding Lloris right behind it. N'Jie curled an effort from the left corner of the box wide of the far post and Ezekiel was put in on their right side, but his shot went wide.

Kane replaced N'Jie before he got sent off, having been booked and then called for a foul very soon afterwards. Pochettino probably wanted to wait to use Harry, but the introduction must have been trepidatious, carrying a knock already and knowing another blow could rule him out. 

A corner for Anderlecht picked out Kara and his header down was almost deflected into the net by Okaka inside the six yard box, but Lloris dived to his right to gather the ball just in front of the goal-line. Spurs broke away and the ball was worked to Eriksen on the left side, but his effort was blocked by Gillet. Poch decided to bring Dele Alli on for Dembele, with 25 minutes left.

Kane got in behind Kara onto a ball hooked down the left hand channel and was one on one with Proto, but his low shot could not beat the keeper, who stuck out a foot to divert the ball away from goal.

Too often, Tottenham were playing in tight areas and conceded possession, allowing Anderlecht to go forward. Sometimes the Mauves weren't much better, but Spurs need to exploit the opportunities they are provided with, especially against the better sides they face. The other failing Spurs showed tonight was the giving away of cheap free-kicks either in dangerous positions or to break up their own attacking play.

It was giving the ball away that led to Anderlecht's second goal. The ball was moved across from right to left and a ball inside Trippier found Acheampong, who slid a ball to the middle of the six yard box, where Okaka got ahead of Vertonghen and knocked the ball home from close range. It left 15 minutes for Spurs to try and recover the game, which they were winning very early on.

It was from a set-piece that it could have been 3-1. Kara won the ball in the air and headed back across goal from the far post to where Okaka and Dendonker were unmarked, with the last goal-scorer looking for a bicycle kick which might have put off the defender, who headed wide when well-placed to score.

Tottenham brought on Josh Onomah for Andros Townsend, but Anderlecht almost scored again when Acheampong pulling the ball back for Tielemens, but he had an air shot. Okaka went on a run across the pitch after getting onto a loose ball, with the Spurs defenders seemingly unable to dispossess him.

As Spurs pushed forward for an equaliser, the poor first touch, poor delivery into the box from wide positions or poor weight of pass let them down and made it a simple task for the Belgian team to run the clock down. They almost did it was 3-1 winners when Acheampong once more got onto a pass inside Trippier and pulled the ball back low. Davies got to it, but set it up for Praet, whose shot was deflected by Vertonghen right in front of Lloris, who managed to get behind the ball and keep it out with an instinctive block.

Spurs looked weak on the ball tonight and were easily robbed of the ball without a free-kick given against them. There was little conviction having gone 1-0 up to try and finish it off, with too much aimless passing, instead of making inroads into the Belgian's defence.

Pochettino had talked about being clinical, which is what Eriksen was with the chance that came his way in the fourth minute, but too many opportunities went begging without making Anderlecht work too hard to defend them. Obviously, half an eye was on the game this weekend with Bournemouth, but that should not have stopped the side going out to make the home team work hard to get anything out of the game.

Townsend was getting a fair bit of possession, but, as often is the case, his end product was missing. Sometimes, his pace seemed to be missing and his first touch was not at his best. When he went off, there was too often nobody in front of Trippier when he got the ball in a wide position.  Too often, Lloris' distribution either put players in trouble or he put the ball straight out of play. This will happen when you play the ball out from the back and it is even more likely when teams start to press higher up the pitch, which is what Anderlecht did in the second half.  The defence too often left Anderlecht players unmarked at set-pieces or left them with space to get shots on goal.  The modern style of defending with arms behind their backs did not help, as the players forgot to get in the way of the ball in the first place.

Another poor European away day return, when Eriksen's early strike should have given them the impetus to go on and dominate rather than allowing Anderlecht back into the match.  If Pochettino was hoping for a respite in the last match, he might have to re-think that now, as the next two games need to be victories to ensure the group is sewn up before the trip to Qarabag.

If that is to happen, there must be two better performances than this one.

Pete Stachio



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