OPPONENTS Fiorentina (Italy)
COMPETITION Europa League   Round of 32  Second Leg
DATE Thursday 25th February 2016
VENUE White Hart Lane
PREVIEW No match preview produced.
PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    1         Fiorentina    0

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Tottenham Hotspur  3 (1)                                                                       
Europa League  Round of 32  Second Leg
Thursday 25th February 2016
White Hart Lane
Fiorentina  0 (0)

Kick off 20:05
Mason  24m 45s
Lamela  62m 06s
Gonzalo (o.g.)  80m 26s
Wimmer (foul on Ililic)  17 
Trippier (foul on Alonso)  38 
Alli (simulation)  78 
Davies (foul on Vecino)  90 


Tomovic  (foul on Davies)  45+1
Alonso  (foul on Trippier)  62


Crowd :   , Weather :  Raining throughout
Referee :  Ovidiu Haţegan (Romania) Assistant Referees :  Octavian Șovre; Sebastian Gheorghe (Romania)
Fourth Official :  Radu Ghinguleac (Romania) Additional Assistant Referees :  Alexandru Tudor; Sebastian Colţescu  (Romania)
UEFA Delegate:  Adonis Procopiou (CYP) UEFA Referee Observer :  Terje Hauge (NOR)
Fiorentina kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Fiorentina : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

16  Kieran TRIPPIER     
27  Kevin WIMMER     
33  Ben DAVIES     

15  Eric DIER
  8  Ryan MASON    (29  Harry WINKS  87)

23  Christian ERIKSEN
20  Dele ALLI       (  6  Nabil BENTALEB  84)
11  Erik LAMELA    (25  Josh ONOMAH  76)

22  Nacer CHADLI

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

17  Andros TOWNSEND
  7  Heung-Min SON

  12  Ciprian TATARAUSANU

  4  Nenad TOMOVIC     
  GONZALO Rodriguez  (c) 
13  David ASTORI
28  Marcos ALONSO     

  8  Matias VECINO
  5  Milan BADELJ  (44  Matias FERNANDEZ  82)
20  Borja VALERO  (17  Jakub BLASZCZYKOWSKI  74)

  9  Nikola KALINIC
72  Josip ILILIC  (  7  Mauro ZARATE  )

Unused subs: 
34  Giacomo SATALINO
23  Manuel PASQUAL

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Paolo Sousa
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  -
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Le Coq Sportif
Match report

Tottenham looked assured in sending Fiorentina out of the Europa League at the Round of 32 stage, with a comprehensive 3-0 home win in the second leg.

Having been knocked out of the FA Cup the previous weekend, it was important to get back on the bike and regain winning ways.  It looked as though this may be more difficult than first imagined, as Mousa Dembele and then Harry Kane were ruled out of the match with injury.  The lack of depth in attacking positions was not something that was addressed in the January transfer window, but it was now to be put to the test. 

Fiorentina arrived at the Lane in third place in Serie A, behind Juventus and Napoli, but it appears that it must be a very different Fiorentina side that takes to the field in their national league programme.  Without too much of a cohesive team pattern, the side failed to string too many passses together, despite having the bulk of the possession and failed to threaten Hugo Lloris' goal throughout the 90 plus minutes.  Only a driven Valero cross that curled towards goal along the floor caused the French keeper to get his body behind it to grab the ball.  Ililic curled a first half shot wide of the far post when cutting in from the right, then both linked, with Ililic putting in a left wing free-kick that Valero headed on at the near post, but only hit the side netting.  Substitute Mauro Zarate was keen to get a goal, to the detriment of his team-mates, as he shot on every opportunity he had.  The closest he came was when he turned sharply a couple of times in the area to lose his markers, then shot low towards Lloris' left hand post, but Ben Davies was there to kick the ball away with a violet shirt lurking behind him.  There was a late scare, when former Blackburn Rovers striker Nikola Kalinic raced onto a through ball.  Hugo rushed out to get to the ball first inside his area, but as his momentum took him out of the box, he let go of the box and used his feet to clear it.

But by then Spurs had wrapped up the game.  Fiorentina were fouled 23 times for the second game against Spurs and appeared keen to win lots of free-kicks (they were the most fouled side in the group stages with 105 fouls in six games).   You could say Tottenham were consistent, but the way the Italian side's players went down was quite embarrassing a lot of the time.  For the first two goals, David Astori was on the floor holding various bits of his body after challenging Alli, but it just left him looking pathetic.  The same could go for their captain, Gonzalo Rodruguez, who had tried to get Kane sent off in the first leg and spent a lot of time winding up the Tottenham players or pleading with the referee to show another card.  Unfortunately, the referee was falling for it and ended up booking four Spurs players, including Trippier for Alonso throwing himself in a way that defied physics and Dele Alli for simulation, which was ridiculous, albeit not particularly a foul.

The regular whistling from the Romanian ref interrupted any flow there might have been in the game.  Especially when he then was pernickety about where and when free-kicks were taken.  Hunting down the ball from the start, Spurs forced Fiorentina into handing over the ball with aimless passes and being too easily dispossessed with fair tackles.  It left the Viola stuck in their own half and being there for the taking.  Early on, the signs were there, as a corner from the Tottenham right was won in the air by Eric Dier and while his effort was going wide, Alli almost drifted in behind the defence at the far post to score, but he was just too far away from reaching the ball.  Even before that, Kieran Trippier's cross from the right hit Astori and our right back looked certain it had struck a hand, such were his appeals for a penalty.

In the 25th minute, Tottenham went ahead.  Davies played the ball forward from left back, aiming for Chadli, but the ball ran past him and Alli got a foot to it before Astori and diverted it into the path for Ryan Mason, who broke into the box from the left corner.  Untracked, he had time to open up his body and roll the ball wide of the diving Tatarusanu and inside the far post to make it 1-0.  The keeper didn't seem to stretch himself to his full extent, as he's a tall boy, but it was well tucked away by Mason and being without Kane, it was a welcome goal from midfield.

Between Wimmer, Alderweireld and Dier, the centre of the Spurs defence was picking off any intended through passes and the full backs were as diligent in defending, as they were getting forward.  Ililic almost got Valero away with a through pass as he was falling, but Lloris was quickly out to snuff out any danger.  It was soon half time and Phil Beal entertained us with talk of the Spurs of old.

At the start of the second half, Fiorentina looked as though they were fired up to get back into the game.  Their passing was sharper and their closing down more determined, but neither actually produced much danger to the Spurs goal. In fact, Chadli had a goal chalked off for offside, which he was.  Bernardeschi was busy, having a couple of shots blocked and then one going off for a throw in on the other side of the pitch.  But Tottenham came back into the game, with Tomavic nearly deflecting Trippier's cross pas this keeper, but took the pace off it and made it easier for Tatarusanu to claim, then Alli had a shot from 25 yards out deflected wide. 

Fiorentina's change, bringing on Zarate on the hour, led to the second Spurs goal.  A slick passing move saw Eriksen feed Chadli in the area, from where he hit a powerful shot.  Tatarusanu beat it out and the loose ball was got to first by Alli, before Astori, knocking the ball down for Erik Lamela to turn on it and fire it left footed into the goal past the keeper and defender in front of him from eight yards out.  Once more Astori was on the floor in pain as the Spurs team set off to the corner to celebrate the goal that would surely put them through.

The visitors tried to hit back, with Zarate shooting whenever he felt he could, but not getting past the man in front of him, instead, it was Spurs again, who almost carved out goals, with Trippier's low ball almost picking out Lamela in the middle, Mason drilled an effort too high and then another Kieran cross saw Alli head the ball back at the far post to Christian Eriksen, who hit it on the volley, but was off target.  With ten minutes to go, the game was up for Fiorentina as they ensured Spurs would progress to the Round of 16.  Chadli played the ball into the path of Trippier on the right and his early low cross was aimed for Dele Alli coming in at the far post.  Dele didn't get to the ball, as the Fiorentina captain Gonzalo Rodriguez got there before him and fired the ball into the net off the underside of the bar from a yard out as he slid in.  It was a fantastic finish and he was left holding his head ... not this time trying to get someone booked, but in an equally embarrassing moment for him.

With Onomah and Winks getting a run out as the game petered out, they were lively and helped Spurs create another couple of chances.  Onomah fed Chadli on the left wing, where he checked inside and picked out Ryan Mason with a delicate square chip on the 18 yard line.  The Spurs midfielder hit a cracking volley that would have gone in under the bar had Tatarusanu not got a hand to it and pushed it over the bar.  Into added time, Ben Davies ran outside Onomah on the left and pulled a similar ball to Chadli's back to Eriksen, but he was further back than Mason and the ball was along the floor.  However, the Dane took it first time and his low shot made the keeper dive back the way he had come to palm it out for Alonso  to clear away.

There was just time for Zarate to have another shot, but he managed to get it well wide of the goal and the final whistle saw Spurs through with a comfortable winning margin that did not flatter them too much.  It was a much needed win and one that will hopefully set the side off on another little run of results that will help us go as far as we can in both the competitions we have left to challenge for.

All the players did well today, with a collective determination not to let Fiorentina get into the game and to ensure that they saw the victory out by taking the game to them ... and Fiorentina couldn't live with them.  The players who have come in have done a job and looked at ease in the side, so Pochettino's rotation of the squad is working a treat at the moment

Long may that continue.

Kevin Murchison




Fiorentina's violet shirts are derived from the original dye produced by the Medici family, who crushed the small purple flowers in the 1500's.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS) 1 Fenerbahce (TUR)  (won 3-1 on agg.) 1 Tuesday
Olympiakos (GRE) 1 Anderlecht (BEL)  (won 3-1 on agg.; a.e.t. 0-1 at 90 mins) 2 Thursday
Liverpool   (won 1-0 on agg.) 1 Ausburg (GER) 0 Thursday
FC Porto (POR) 0 Borussia Dortmund (GER)   (won 3-0 on agg.) 1 Thursday
Manchester United   (won 6-3 on agg.) 5 FC Mydtylland (DEN) 1 Thursday
Sporting Braga (POR)  (won 4-3 on agg.) 2 FC Sion (SWI) 2 Wednesday
SS Lazio (ITA)   (4-2 on agg.) 3 Galatasaray (TUR) 1 Thursday
Athletic Bilbao (SPA)   (won 2-1 on agg.) 1 Marseille (FRA) 1 Thursday
FC Basel (SWI)   (4-4 on agg.; won on away goals) 2 St. Etienne (FRA) 1 Thursday
Molde (NOR) 1 Sevilla (SPA)   (won 3-1 on agg.) 0 Thursday
Schalke 04 (GER) 0 Shakthar Donetsk (UKR)   (won 3-0 on agg.) 3 Thursday
FK Krasnador (RUS) 0 Sparta Prague (CZE)   (won 4-0 on agg.) 3 Thursday
Bayer Leverkusen (GER)   (won 6-3 on agg.) 3 Sporting Lisbon (POR) 1 Thursday
Rapid Vienna (AUS) 0 Valencia (SPA)   (won 10-0 on agg.) 4 Thursday
Napoli (ITA) 1 Villarreal (SPA)  (won 2-1 on agg.) 1 Thursday


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


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