COMPETITION Europa League   Round of 32 Second leg
DATE Thursday 23rd February 2017
VENUE Wembley
Gent SQUAD 1.  Jacob LINNE
2.  Jeremy TARAVEL
4.  Samuel GIGOT
7.  Kalifa COULIBALY
8.  Thomas MATTON
10.  RENATO Neto
11.  Emir KUJOVIC
13.  Stefan MITROVIC
15.  Kenneth SAIEF
18.  Samuel KALU
19.  Brecht DEJAEGERE
20.  Yannick THOELEN
21.  Nana ASARE
24.  Jeremy PERBET
27.  Moses SIMON
29.  Thibault de SMET
31.  Elton KABANGU
32.  Thomas FOKET
34.  Dante WALEN
35.  Yassine ABDELALI
36.  Zeb van GERVEN
39.  Andreas BURSSENS
40.  Rabiu IBRAHIM
44.  Anderson ESITI
55.  Rami GERSHON
77.  Danijl MILICEVIC
91.  Lovre KALINIC
PREVIEW Was it a shock that Spurs lost to Gent in the first leg of this Round of 32 tie ?  Well, not really, when you look at our away record in Europe over the last few years.  It is pretty shocking and makes it a much harder task when we have done the hard work previously to have the second leg at home ... but, of course, it is not at home, but at Wembley.  Hopefully, the win over Fulham last time out will have restored the team's confidence to play at a good lick to put the other side under pressure and the last time out against CSKA Moscow at Wembley, gave them the winning feeling that they will need to instil before next season's sojourn to the national stadium.

The Belgian side deserved their win in the first leg and Spurs put out a strong side, but failed to get going at all.  While Fulham are very different opponents to Gent, the way we played at Craven Cottage was much more like our old selves.  Some of the key players were in the Gent starting line-up such as Perbet, Gigot, Esiti, Simon and Milicevic.  Some such as Coulibaly, Ibrahim and Kalu were stuck on the bench to start, but they might come with the intent of getting an away goal and then sticking a lot of players behind the ball to protect their advantage.

Spurs have to start quickly to put the visitors on the back foot and make the chances they create count. The Gent goalkeeper was hardly tested last week and Spurs need to build the pressure from the kickoff to test the defence and Kalinic between the sticks.  With the crowd behind them, the atmosphere should be something Spurs are more use dot than Gent and it might get to them.

Although we have Stoke coming to the Lane on Sunday, Pochettino will field a strong side to make sure we progress to the Round of 16.  A Champions League place is up for grabs and while it is still a long way off and there are a lot of good teams in the way, Spurs are capable on their day of beating any of them.  Unfortunately, as we have seen, they are also capable of losing to any of them, so they need to have the right focus on this game, not get drawn into Gent's niggling tactics and to be ruthless to go through.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2         Gent    0
Spurs are missing Erik Lamela (hip) and Danny Rose (knee) for the tie with Gent

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Tottenham Hotspur  2 (1)                                                                       
Europa League  Round of 32  Second leg
Thursday 23rd February 2017
White Hart Lane
Gent  2 (1)

Kick off 20:05
Eriksen  09m 11s
Wanyama  60m 09s
Kane (o.g.)  19m 30s
Perbet  81m 37s
Vertonghen  (dissent)  65
Walker (foul on Gershon)  74 
Dier (dissent)  85
Wanyama  (handbags)  88
Winks (dissent)  89

Alli  (foul on Dejaegere)  39

Dejaergere  (foul on Eriksen)  23
Saief  (foul on Kane)  26
Kalinic  (time-wasting)  45
Verstraete  (foul on Walker)  84
Coulibaly  (time-wasting)  89   


Crowd :   80,465 Weather :  Mild
Referee :  Manuel De Sousa (POR) Assistant Referees :  Alvaro Mesquita; RIcardo Santos (POR)
Fourth Official :  Nuno Pereira (POR) Additional Assistant Referees :  Carlos Xizstra; Fabio Verssimo (POR)
UEFA Delegate :  Jan Damgaard (DEN) UEFA referee observer :  Luciano Luci (ITA)
Spurs  kicked off and played towards the West Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 5 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Gent : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

15  Eric DIER       (  9  Vincent JANSSEN  89)
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN     

Mousa DEMBELE  (29  Harry WINKS  75     )
12  Victor WANYAMA      

  2  Kyle WALKER     
  Christian ERIKSEN 

20  Dele ALLI     
  Ben DAVIES  (
  7  SON Heung-Min  58)

10  Harry KANE 

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
27  Kevin WIMMER
17  Moussa SISSOKO


  91  Lovre KALINIC     

  4  Samuel GIGOT
13  Stefan MITROVIC
55  Rami GERSHON
19  Brecht DEJAEGERE       (33  Louis VERSTAETE      56)

32  Thomas FOKET
44  Anderson ESITI
77  Danijel MILICEVIC  (c)  (  8  Thomas MATTON 46)
15  Kenneth SAIEF     
27  Moses SIMON  (24  Jeremy PERBET    75)

  7  Kalifa COULIBALY     

Unused subs: 
  1  Jacob RINNE
Samuel KALU
29  Thibault de SMET
40  Rabiu IBRAHIM

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Hein Vanhaezebrouck
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Hudson
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Jartazi
Match report

Tottenham failed to overcome a 0-1 first leg deficit and the sending off of Dele Alli, as they drew 2-2 with KKK Gent, but went out 2-3 on aggregate at Wembley.  For all the talk of the Wembley curse, it was not superstition that cost Spurs this tie, but the insipid performance in Belgium and the reckless tackle of Alli, who left his team-mates 50 minutes to play with a man light.

The way Spurs started, they looked like they were up for turning over Gent.  Or so I am told, as a tree on the line delayed me getting to Wembley until I heard the goal from halfway down Wembley Way and didn't get in until 15 minutes had gone (thanks Wembley staff).  But the game didn't quite go to plan (much the same as my 3 hour journey).

Having watched the goals, I could see that a simple long ball down the right saw two Gent defenders get under it, leaving Eriksen to take the ball into the box and beat the woefully mis-positioned keeper at his near post.  It was the early goal that we needed to get back into the tie and put more pressure on the visitors after the early running had seen them stretched.  Walker was enjoying space on the right but his crosses failed to pick out a white shirt and we only had a half chance when Kane's chest control led to the ball dropping to Dele, who half-hit a shot that bobbled wide.  After the goal, he hit a similar effort from a bobbling walker cross and then Spurs asked for a penalty when Dele hit a cross-shot that hit Foket's arm.   The referee waved play on, which is what he did for most of the match.  If I didn't know better than suggest such a  thing, I would say that he  was biased towards Gent, as evidenced by him taking out Vertonghen when he made a forward run.

It was a Vertonghen run that led to Gent's equaliser (which I had got in for ... damn !).  He played a give and go with Dele, but his pull back found a yellow shirt and the break led by Milicevic brought a good tackle from Toby, that made the Gent player slice the ball off.  The ref, who got a huge amount wrong all night, gave a corner and from it Coulibaly headed across goal and Kane tried to knock it away from Simon, but only guided it into the far corner to make it 1-1.  20 minutes gone and we were back to square one, but not quite, as the away goal meant we had to win by two clear goals now.  Our shooting wasn't going to allow that to happen. 

After two crude tackles earned Gent players yellow cards, the second by Saief should have been two yellows, as he took Kane out and then Walker, we showed our finishing wasn't clinical enough.  Toby hit a 25 yard free-kick straight into the wall, Davies' low cross was ahead of Kane's run into the goalmouth, Eriksen's low corner to the near post was left by Dele and Wanyama couldn't reach it at the far post and when we did get one on target, Walker's stinging drive from a narrow angle, was beaten away by Kalinic.

Gent threatened from another corner and when it dropped, it looked like Dejaegere was going to score from close range, but Dembele just nudged the ball away as he looked to swing a boot at it.  Then, it all went a bit awry.  A ball was played up to Dele and Gigot went through the back of him, without the referee even seemingly thinking about a free-kick.  This wound Dele up.  But he will have to learn to live with that and not fly into a tackle that took Dejaegere just below the knee and could have been very damaging.  When the referee pulled out a red card, the night was turning into a nightmare (or more of one, as far as my personal experience was going). 

The loss of Alli seemed to galvanise Spurs and Walker's low cross to the near post aimed for Kane, but he was beaten to it by Gigot, but the ref gave a goal-kick.  With a linesman and one more behind the goal, they were still getting basic decisions wrong, as they looked to the man in the middle to tell them what the outcome was.  Our shooting again failed to work Kalinic, who got a booking for time-wasting in one of the better decisions the ref made tonight.  Jan burst forward but blazed over and Eriksen copied him when being closed down in the box.  Kane even tried a 40 yard lob over the keeper, but managed to lob it over the bar.

What Spurs needed was a clinical goal-taker and the appearance of the 1980s Belgian Spurs striker Nico Claesen brought back memories of a player who had an excellent goal return for the club.  But away from the interview (along with awful acoustics), we all wondered if we could manage to get back into the match with just ten men.  That start of the second half had Tottenham pinning Gent back, but finding hard to make headway through the defence, with the Belgian side having the extra man.  

With a belief in the way we play our football - even without one player - Spurs built up play well and Son pulled the ball back for Christian to shoot.  It hit kane and the ball was cleared, but it came back in from Walker, Dembele set it up and Wanyama finished with a curling shot into the far top corner from the right corner of the D.  It was what we had been wanting from more of our chances and it set up an interesting last half hour.

It gave Spurs the initiative and Kane played a great ball through to Eriksen, but he was baulked by a strong Gigot tackle as he looked to get his shot away.  A corner picked out a Spurs head for once and Toby's effort went across goal and was nodded back to his keeper by a visiting defender.  Simon should have put Gent level in the match, as a cross picked him out at the back post and unmarked, he planted his header into the side-netting, when he should have hit the target at the very least.  Toby won another header at a corner and it went harmlessly wide and then Son played a low cross across the face of goal, with nobody there to knock it in, before the final blow.

When Vertonghen was hauled down, the referee failed to see it as another yellow card, but waved one at Jan instead.  Interesting that he allowed Mitrovic to get in his face to call for Dele to be sent off and then manhandled him to get the physios on for his team-mate.  Similarly, in the late flurry of cards, Dembele got booked for trying to get the ball back off Coulibaly, when he was trying to stop Spurs taking a free-kick. 

Pushing for the third goal, Spurs left themselves open at the back and Dier got caught out, but managed to recover his position when Coulibaly led the break away of three on two and his cross was blocked by Dier's arm.  It would have been a penalty, but Perbet latched onto the ball as it bounced off the England defender and toe-poked is home form ten yards out to make it 2-2. 

Despite the goal, Tottenham still pressed forward and Kane released Son, but his finish was wildly high, Wanyama volleyed a cleared corner at goal, but it was deflected wide and then Kane turned away from two men on him and shot agonisingly close across the goal.  There was one final chance when Vertonghen's ball into the box, looking to find substitute Janssen, produced a rush of blood by Kalinic and he lost the flight of the ball and had to be bailed out by two team-mates, as the ball headed toward the goal.  It just shows how we should have put him under more pressure during the game.

It turned into a bit of a farce at the end, with people getting booked for very little, when the referee had allowed bad fouls to go unpunished earlier in the game.  It all helped Gent run the clock down and Spurs' legs had gone from the efforts put in to get back into the game.  The final whistle saw the Tottenham players slump to the turf, probably with tiredness, but a bit of embarrassment in losing to a side halfway up the Belgian League, which is not one of the toughest in Europe.  Wanyama played well, as did the two Belgians at the back, with Kane always trying and Eriksen probing for a through pass.

But in the end our wayward finishing - three shots out of 25 on target is shockingly bad - that cost us this game.  The goalkeeper had shown himself to be suspect, but we did not test him out to any great extent.  The three shots on target were probably the two goals and Walker's first half shot.  We have to learn to be clinical in Europe or even a side like Gent will punish you ... their one shot on goal brought two goals !  Also, we are still being too honest in these matches.  I am not advocating we cheat, but look how easily Gent players went down to win free-kicks when they were in areas where they could not do much with the ball.  Foreign refs buy this sort of behaviour and while we try and stay on our feet, they don't seem to be able to recognise a foul, unless you hit the grass.

Whether this loss helps us in the long run this season, we will have to see how we bounce back on Sunday, as three points against Stoke is now the priority.

Wembley and Europe can wait.

Marco van Hip




Gent were named after the company they purchased their first kit from, until they realised that it wasn't the only Gent's Outfitters in the city.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this round :
St. Etienne (FRA) 0 Manchester United  (won 4-0 on agg) 1 Wednesday
Schalke 04 (GER)  (won 4-1 on agg) 1 PAOK (GRE) 1 Wednesday
Fenerbahce (TUR) 1 Krasnador (RUS)  (won 2-1 on agg) 1 Wednesday
Osmanlispor (TUR) 0 Olympiakos (GRE) 3 Thursday
Ajax (HOL)  (won 1-0 on agg) 1 Legia Warsaw (POL) 0 Thursday
Sparta Prague (CZE) 1 Rostov (RUS)  (won 5-1 on agg) 1 Thursday
Besiktas (TUR)  (won 5-2 on agg) 2 Hapoel Beer-Shava (ISR) 1 Thursday
APOEL (Cyp)  (won 4-3 on agg) 2 Atletico Madrid (SPA) 1 Thursday
AS Roma (ITA)  (won 4-1 on agg) 0 Villarreal (SPA) 1 Thursday
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)  (won 11-2 on agg) 7 AZ Alkmaar (HOL) 1 Thursday
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 0 Celta Vigo (SPA)  (won 2-1 on agg) 2 Thursday
Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS) 3 Anderlecht (BEL)  (Agg 3-3 - won on away goals) 1 Thursday
Fiorentina (ITA) 2 Borussia Monchengladbach (GER)  (won 4-3 on agg) 4 Thursday
Copenhagen (DEN)  (won 2-1 on agg) 0 Ludogrets (BUL) 0 Thursday
Genk (BEL)  (won 3-2 on agg) 1 Astra (ROM) 0 Thursday



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


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