OPPONENTS Internazionale at Wembley 
COMPETITION Champions League  - Group B
DATE Tuesday 28th November 2018

Inter have said they will not be coming to Wembley to play for a point that would see them qualify from the group at Tottenham's expense.  Certainly on the evidence of the first group game against them, they were better throwing the kitchen sink at Spurs in the last ten minutes, than the previous 85, when they failed to penetrate and Spurs should really have finished the game off.

In the game in Milan, Perisic was poor and Icardi quiet for the majority of the match, but he popped up to score an outstanding goal and when you have that quality in your side, there is always a chance that the match winner could be one moment of genius.  That equally applies to Spurs, who showed on Saturday that they are capable of blowing away the most dangerous of opponents.  Even then though, we still spurned a lot of chances, which a tighter defensive side might not allow you in the first place.  It means that every opportunity must be classed as the only one you might get, so needs to be put away.

There are players in the Internationale side who have played at the highest level, with Marcelo Brozovic and Radja Nainggolan in midfield and Milan Skriniar in the back line, they starred at World Cup finals, as and Stefan de Vrij has too.  The side are doing well, sitting third in Serie A with 28 points from 13 games.  We are third with 30 points from 13 games.  So, it could be a tight game.

Tottenham bossed the match at the San Siro until the closing stages, so they must just do the same thing again to deny Inter the chances on goal that could damage any hope we have of progressing.  They are slim at best, even if we beat Inter, we will have to rely on PSV beating Inter and Barca fielding a weakened side to give us the opportunity of winning.  That is not to say we couldn't beat them with their full strength side, but it would take the performance of the season on the way the first game against Barcelona went.

Kane will be closely marshalled, but if Son, Dele and Eriksen play, it may be too much for the Italian side to cope with.  Playing with the intensity they showed against Chelsea could force Inter back and not play their attacking game, which is how they might be set up. 

It will be an intriguing evening and one more that could see the Italian dark arts displayed in their desire to succeed.  If SPurs play to their potential, then I think there will be a narrow win that keeps the group alive untl the last round of matches in two weeks time.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2        Internazionale   1
While Kieran Trippier and Victor Wanyama are all heading back to full fitness, they will not be available for this match against Inter and neither will Mousa Dembele, who has been to Qatar for treatment.  Juan Foyth and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou are not in the Champions League squad and therefore not up for consideration.  Spurs could have Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose back to join Hugo Lloris, who has served his suspension for getting sent off at PSV Eindhoven.
Šime Vrsaljko misses the game thorugh injury and .

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Champions League - Group B Kick off 20:00
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0) Internazionale  0 (0)


Eriksen  79m 14s



Alderweireld (foul on Icardi)  28 
Lamela  (foul on D'Ambrosio)  45
Son  (foul on Brozovic)  73


de Vrij  (foul on Lamela)  70
Valero  (dissent)  81


Crowd :   57,132 Weather :  Mild, rained before game
Referee :  Cuneyt Cakir (TUR) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Bahattin Duran; Mr. Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Fourth Official :  Mustafa Eyisoy (TUR) Additional Assistant Referees :  Mr. Hüseyin Göçek; Mr. Barış Şimşek (TUR)
UEFA Delegate :  Jim Stjerne Hansen (Den) UEFA Referee Observer :  Gylfi Thor Orrason (ICE)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the East stand in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 5 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Internazionale : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS (c)

24  Serge AURIER
  4  Toby ALDERWEIRELD     
33  Ben DAVIES

  8  Harry WINKS  (15  Eric DIER  87)
17  Moussa SISSOKO

27  Lucas MOURA  (  7  Heung-Min SON  62     )
20  DELE Alli
11  Erik LAMELA       (23  Christian ERIKSEN  70  )

10  Harry KANE

Unused subs: 
Danny ROSE
18  Fernando LLORENTE

    1  Samir HANDANOVIC

33  Danilo D'AMBROSIO
6  Stefan de VRIJ       (23  MIRANDA  82)
37  Milan SKRINIAR
18  Kwadwo ASAMOAH

16  Matteo POLITANO  (11  Keita BALDE  83)
  6  Matias VECINO
14  Radja NAINGGOLAN  (20  Borja VALERO       44)
77  Marcelo BROZOVIC
44  Ivan PERISIC

  9  Mauro ICARDI

Unused subs: 
27  Daniele PADELLI
13  Andrea RANOCCHIA
10  Lautaro MARTINEZ
87  Antonio CANDREVA


Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Luciano Spalletti
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Pirelli
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

A game that was tight and cautious in the first half, opened up in the second, with chances at both ends, but Christian Eriksen's 80th minute strike separated the two teams and put Spurs ahead of their opponents in the Group B table with one match to go.  It was by no means a classic in keeping with recent games with Inter, but the victory proved invaluable in keeping Tottenham's slim hopes of progressing alive to take to Barcelona in the final round of group games.

Spurs had done well in the first half, pushing forward and restricting the opportunities afforded to their Italian counterparts, starting quickly as they did on Saturday against Chelsea.  A couple of early decisions went Tottenham's way and from a corner, Lamela's long cross was knocked back in by Winks and Alderweireld got his head to it, with with not enough power to trouble Handanovic.  While Spurs were probing around the Milan area, the visitors were relying on long balls out of defence to their lone striker - Icardi - but he was either too far away or unsupported, so the ball was gathered by white shirts and another attack started.

In the 13th minute, Dele had Tottenham's first decent go at goal, with a 20 yard drive that rose on it's way over the bar.  The strong running with the ball was worrying Inter and Brozovic, who, from a distance, looked bald with his blonde flat-top haircut, took Kane out without even a word from the referee.  Most times, such a blatantly cynical challenge would earn a yellow card.  Sissoko was retinae din a defensive midfield position and he once mroe put in s shift, breaking up play and having the confidence to bring the ball forward.  He set up Lamela, who fired a shot a yard wide from the left of centre.  Around the 20 minute mark, Inter started to persuade the referee they should have a few free-kicks, mainly by taking a challenge and making it look bad.  They made nothing of them, but Spurs almost made it easy for Milan, with Winks' short back-pass made Hugo hurry and his pass sideways to Toby fell short, allowing Perisic to gain possession and win a corner.  Once more, Spurs cleared with ease.

What wasn't so easy was a through ball that cut the Spurs defence out and Mauro Icardi was away.  Thinking it best to take a booking, Toby hauled him back, escaping with a yellow, as there were covering players and it was 30 yards out.  Politano is the Inter free-kick maestro, but he could only drill it into the wall and his follow-up was little better.  When the move broke down, Moussa picked up the ball on the right hand corner of our box and went on a long dribble that took him up the right wing.  He squared the ball to his left and Dele ran over it, leaving Lucas Moura to run onto it and hit a shot, but it was low and too close to Handanovic to make him stretch, so he could just fall on the ball to save it.  That was 30 minutes in and two later, Dele's lay off to Davies saw his cross knocked out as far as Sissoko just outside the box and his fierce shot was blocked, otherwise it would have been in its way into the net.

The closest Tottenham came in the first half was when Lucas and Erik linked on the left to nudge a ball into the path of Harry Winks, outside the area and his dipping shot beat Handanovic, but struck the face of the bar and bounced back into play.   Spurs had a couple of corners, but only Lucas' weak header at the far post to one of them resulted in any threat to the Milan goal.  More had come when Moura had put Kane in on the right and from a tight angle, his shot was deflected into the side netting for one of the corners.

Just before the break, Lamela was lucky to only get a yellow card when he went in two footed on D'Ambrosio and Inter had a late chance, as Valero was denied by a foot in by Aurier in the box, after Toby had got a touch on Vecino's cross to take it away from Icardi.  So, the teams left the field to a goal-less score-line, but Spurs had to win it in the second half, if they wanted to take qualification to the final game.  The much rumoured appearance of Nicola Berti at half-time failed to materialise, so we had to make do with the sight of Jermaine Jenas being interviewed for the BT Sport cameras.  While the Inter fans had made a lot of noise, I fail to see how they had managed to get a drum into the stadium when most people were being stopped from taking a bag over A4 size in, as the new restrictions kicked in.

Into the second half, Inter looked a little more ambitious and Vecino struck an early shot well wide from the edge of the area after being played in by Icardi.  Kane tried the same at the other end and at least got it on target, forcing the keeper to flop to save the ball and then Lucas dribbled his way down the right wing on the break, but couldn't find a team-mate, as his cross was put out for a corner.  It was headed out for another and then finally headed away.  Winks fired a volley after a free-kick was cleared, but it was sliced heavily and went off for a throw-in to Inter.  Vecino went down easy under a tackle from Dele and the free-kick won a corner with a deflection.  However, it failed to beat the first man and Tottenham cleared it away.  Tottenham's pressure on the ball had caused Inter a few problems and they tried to return the tactic, but were not quite as good at it. 

Erik Lamela put in a firm corner to the near post and Jan Vertonghen got a header to it, but it looped wide of the far post, then from a similar situation at the other end, Skriniar almost got onto the ball at the far post to convert, but it went wide.  Sonny came on for Moura and immediately started to run at the Inter defence, getting into the box whenever he could, as they were scared to go near him then. 

After Dele had volleyed wide of the goal form inside the box, de Vrij fouled Lamela 30 yards out and got booked for it, just as Christian Eriksen was readying himself to come on.  His first touch took the free-kick and it flew fast to the far post, where Jan had crept behind the defenders, but it by-passed four of them before de Vrij got a  touch that made the ball divert and hit the Belgian's body rather than his head.  A firm header form a coupe of yards out might have opened the scoring.

Son took a yellow for hauling Brozovic back by his shirt, which was a bit rich from the referee after what the Croatian had been getting away with, including some full on dissent into the ref' face.  Respect huh ?  Inter did have a chance when the disappointing Perisic popped up on the left and drove at goal, but Lloris stood strong at his near post and put it out for a corner. 

With the 80th minute approaching, the ball was played out down the right wing between Aurier and Sissoko, who took the ball to the Inter defence and when he got to the 18 yard line, passed into the box, where Dele was waiting around the penalty spot, with his back to goal.  His awareness of what was going on around him allowed him ot roll the ball on for Eriksen to run onto and strike first time past Handanovic and three Inter defenders, who were all sliding in to try and block it.  There was not a chance of that as the Dane lifted the ball above them and into the roof of the net.  Christian had been involved in the move back in his own half, as the build up had gone left to right and you could sense his knowledge of where the ball might come and he picked up his pace as he got near the box to leave him in the clear to score.  The relief was palpable and while the Inter players had dallied over set-pieces form the start, they now had a sudden urgency that should have signalled to the referee that he should have taken some action earlier for their time-wasting. 

Inter brought on Keita Balde to add pace and height up front, but Spurs countered by introducing Dier for Winks.  Pochettino wasn't going to make the same mistake as in Milan, when he brought on Rose for Kane and we got done at a free-kick in added time.  The Tottenham players had also learned from that experience and Juventus last season, so they kept the ball in the corner for as long as they could.  There was till time for a little wobble as they won a corner with Davies getting a touch on a cross and they brought up the towering keeper for the dead ball kick.  Handanovic got nowhere near it, but it was cleared to Asamoah, who hit a searing drive from 22 yards out that would have gone inside the post, but for Toby getting in the way to block the ball away.  Look and learn David Luiz !  The loose ball went wide off an Inter player's head and Handanovic raced back to his goal.  He didn't get there before the final whistle went and Spurs kept the group alive with a stunning goal that condemned Inter to third place in the table, meaning Tottenham have to get the same result as the Italians against PSV or better it when we visit Barcelona.

Once more, Pochettino got his selection right and his tactics spot on, as Inter had few chances.  His timing of the substitution proved successful and Eriksen was fresh enough to get into the position to score.  Another very good team performance, with all playing well despite the initial changes to the starting eleven and it is all set up nicely for the final game.  Winning at the Nou Camp ?  Well ,why not !

Alan Moorfield

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Other Champions League group scores this round of games :
Group A
Borussia Dortmund (GER) 0 Club Brugge (BEL) 0 Wednesday
Atletico Madrid (SPA) 2 Monaco (FRA) 0 Wednesday
Group B
PSV Eindhoven (HOL) 1 Barcelona (SPA) 2 Wednesday
Group C
Napoli (ITA) 3 Red Star Belgrade (SER) 1 Wednesday
Paris Saint Germain (FRA) 2 Liverpool 1 Wednesday
Group D
FC Porto (POR) 3 Schalke 04 (GER) 1 Wednesday
Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS) 2 Galatasary (TUR) 0 Wednesday
Group E
Bayern Munich (GER) 5 Benfica (POR) 1 Tuesday
AEK Athens (GRE) 0 Ajax (HOL) 2 Tuesday
Group F
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) 2 Manchester City 2 Tuesday
1899 Hoffenheim (GER) 2 Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 3 Tuesday
Group G
CSKA Moscow (RUS) 1 Viktoria Plzen (CZE) 2 Tuesday
AS Roma (ITA) 0 Real Madrid (SPA) 2 Tuesday
Group H
Juventus (ITA) 1 Valencia (SPA) 0 Tuesday
Manchester United 1 Young Boys Bern (SWI) 0 Tuesday


Champions League Group B Table  2018-19
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Barcelona 5 4 1 0 13 4 13 +9
2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 5 2 1 2 8 9 7 -1
3 Internazionale 5 2 1 2 5 6 7 -1
4 PSV Eindhoven 5 0 2 3 5 12 1 -7


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