Aalborg BK (Denmark) (Home)
UEFA Cup - Group G

Thursday 29th November 2007

Not having a great awareness of the Danish league, Aalborg are a new team to me and I imagine many Spurs fans.

Aalborg qualified through the InterToto Cup and they have some experience of European football (twice being Danish champions they have been in the early stages of the Champions League and playing in the old European Cup Winners Cup), but their recent participation is less regular, which might explain why they were in the fourth pot below Hapoel Tel Aviv in the seedings.  However, having seen the Israeli team, I would have thought that Aalborg might put up a bit more of a fight than them, especially as they knocked Sampdoria out at the First Round stage.

For their lack of European experience, they should not be taken lightly.  They drew 1-1 with Anderlecht in their only group game so far, with matches against Getafe and Hapoel to come.  Their side features two South Africans and three Brazilians (two of whom are injured), so there is experience from other continents there and some good young home-frown players, supplemented with some fellow Scandinavians.

Tottenham have injury problems of their won, especially in defence and there will need to be an urgency to their play, which has been missing for a while now.  Playing at home should give Tottenham an advantage, but there is the need to make sure that we dictate the pace of the game and that there is a winning outcome.

Spurs showed on Sunday that they could battle it out, but need to create more chances and with an early goal, I believe Tottenham can go on to get a win to take them into the last game in Belgium with confidence ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur   3    Aalborg  0


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (knee); Ricardo Rocha (knee); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); Anthony Gardner (ankle); Younes Kaboul (groin); Jermain Defoe (cold); 

AALBORG :  -  Patrick Kristensen, Chrys and Caca (all injured); - (-); - (-); 


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Tottenham Hotspur   3    Aalborg BK   2      (Half-time score : 0-2)

UEFA Cup - Group G
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Thursday 29th November 2007
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   29,758
Referee :  Pedro Proenca (Portugal)
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Chilly, dry
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :


YP Lee (Bent 45)

Jenas (Huddlestone 45)

Keane (c)
Berbatov (Boateng 74 

Unused subs: 

Aalborg BK :



Nomvethe (Lindstrom 61)

Enevoldsen (Curth 74)

Unused subs: 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham Hotspur

  Aalborg BK
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Berbatov 46
Malbranque 51
Bent 66

Aalborg BK

Enevoldsen 2
Risgaard 37

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Boateng (foul) 82


Aalborg BK

Augustinussen (foul) 80


Match Report : -  
Rarely can White Hart Lane have seen a game of two such diverse halves of football, as an abject Spurs side slipped to a 0-2 half-time deficit before some tactical changes and what must have been a rousing half-time team talk from Juande Ramos and Gus Poyet inspired a dramatic turnaround to earn a 3-2 victory.

Just when it looked like our once proud home European record would take another dent, Spurs came out looking like a side interested, as opposed to the nonchalant eleven who took the field in the first half.  A lax defensive approach left Tottenham chasing a two goal deficit, with one goal coming just 113 seconds into the tie.  Enevoldsen took the ball from a throw-in and stepped infield to curl a shot beyond the reach of Robinson, with no Spurs player getting close to the Aalborg midfielder.  Although unbeaten since Ramos took control of the team, it was the worst start we could have.

Unfortunately, the crowd contained a large number of irregular watchers and many who had been given free tickets and their response was in keen contrast to the constant cheering, singing, jumping up and down and general good-natured support of their team by the red and white clad Danes in the Park Lane end.

it is not too far from the truth to say that Aalborg gave Spurs a bit of a footballing lesson in the first half and they could easily have gone in at half time four goals to the good.  They passed the ball well and showed good control and a willingness to find some space to allow the man on the ball to pass it on. 

Jermaine Jenas was having trouble getting in the game, as were the rest of our midfielders, as the ball was passed at speed around them and when JJ did get forward, he was crowded out, just as he was about to cross the ball and then he couldn't get his foot over the ball when it dropped to him and it went high into the Park Lane end.  Tottenham had a little period of pressure and forced some corners, but they were all defended by the Aalborg team.   The Danes then broke at pace to leave Spurs trailing and Johansson played the ball through to Prica, who crumpled under Lee's challenge, but the referee, who had a good view, pointed for a corner rather than a penalty.

At last, Tottenham got Lennon into the game and one ball from Jenas gave Aaron the opportunity to run onto it and his cross was missed by everyone except Keane at the far post, but he could not get around it and he hit the side-netting.  Another ball in from Bale caused panic, but it saw Lennon fly in for a header (no, really) and miss, but Berba was at the far post and his volley flew well wide.

As we approached the half hour, Olesen played a pacy ball in that Prica headed wide when well placed and .a few minutes later, Spurs were caught out as Aalborg broke again and the lone striker Prica drifted out left and played a low ball into the goalmouth, but Dawson fell over and Risgaard was alone in the sic yard box to bundle the ball across the line to make it 2-0 and cue groans from all around the ground.  It could have been worse in the next attack, as Prica drifted in between Dawson and Lee to meet the ball with his head, although his weak header floated wide.

Spurs tried to get back into the match before the break, with Lennon putting Jenas through, but he only managed to clash with keeper Zaza and both needed treatment before being able to continue.  Chimbonda jumped highest to nod a header goal-wards, but landed his attempt on top of the net, much to his frustration, as he kicked the goalpost to show his annoyance.

So, half-time when the changes Ramos made changed the course of the match and did so within a minute of the whistle that started the second half.  Off went Lee and Jenas with Bent and Huddlestone coming on.  New, slim-line substitute Tom Huddlestone looked up and saw Bent and Berbatov bursting into the area and as Bent went down under a defender's push, Hud picked out the Bulgarian's run with a pass along the turf and he stretched out a leg to direct the ball slowly past the on-rushing keeper.

Back in the game, Huddlestone was the axis that the Spurs team were playing around and the tempo that Tottenham were playing at was upped considerably from the slow moving first half display.  Within five minutes, Darren Bent's shot bounced out to Robbie Keane, who played it to Steed Malbranque to smash the ball into the net off the underside of the bar to equalise.  It was a dramatic way to get back into the game and perhaps showed what might have been had the side started in this fashion.

Aalborg were struggling to put together the passes they strung together in the first half.  This lead to the ball regularly heading back towards their goal, as the lone striker system fell down under the pressure Spurs were building.  A tactical switch by moving Zokora to the middle of the back four and Chimbonda wide right, allowing the pacy Ivorian to cover the long ball through.  The only chance Aalborg really created in the second half came when the scorer, Enevoldsen, fired a low shot on goal, with Robbo scrambling across his goal and relieved to see the ball fly about two feet wide of the mark,

When Lennon skipped past Augustinussen and was hacked down, just level with the right side of the penalty area and about 25 yards out, Gareth Bale's eyes lit up.  He must have been even more amazed to see the Aalborg goalkeeper line up his wall, which consisted of just one man.  Taking the invitation as it was intended, the Welsh defender smacked a shot on target and although straight at Zaza, the ball could not be held by the Danish side's stopper.  As the ball squirmed from his grasp, it found it's way to Aaron Lennon, who blasted a shot-come-cross that flew across the six yard box and Darren Bent was on hand to gleefully fire home at the far post.

With 24 minutes still remaining, there was still the prospect of the game being pulled back by the Danish team, but with Prica heading wide when having a free header, their last chance went begging.  Meanwhile, Spurs continued to press on and Huddlestone hit a wild volley wide, before Chimbonda headed a free-kick back into the danger area and a defender hit a panicky clearance just wide of his won goal, as everything seemed to move in slow-motion.  From that corner, the ball was pinging around the area until it dropped for Dawson and his effort on goal was blocked on the line by Califf.

Tottenham were going for the fourth to try and pout the game beyond doubt, with Bent playing the ball square to Kevin-Prince Boateng and the German fired a 25 yard shot straight at Zaza, who could only knock the ball down and have it cleared for him.  Boateng also got on the end of another shot, when bent played Lennon through and his shot was saved, but Kevin's effort this time almost made a throw-in.  Steed almost wrapped it up in the last minute of added time, but poked the ball wide after he appeared to have done the hard part of rounding the goalie.

The Danish fans were still singing away, as their players grabbed the trophy of a Spurs shirt from their favourite player, but the earlier chants of "You're s**t and know you are" looked a bit pale on our second half showing, although they were accurate on our first half display.  When they sang "Sing When You're Winning" when they were 2-0 up, Spurs hadn't actually been winning in the match and Spurs fans might have responded with "You don't know what you're singing !!"

Three precious points in the group situation for Tottenham and with two wins, it edges us closer to a qualifying position, but it will all come down to how we approach the game next week in Belgium.  A better side than Aalborg, Anderlecht might not be naive enough to let us back into a match if they get a lead.  Still, 23 years ago, a trip to Brussels saw Spurs bring home a draw that lead to us winning the UEFA Cup.  If that happened again, the first half of this game would be long forgotten.



Reaction : -



What was with the Aalborg chanting the bass line to the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" ??  I suppose they have to do something to keep themselves amused in the cold over there.  That was what al that jumping up and down was about I suppose.

Their fans were a bit odd.  They were shouting "Martin Jol" outside.  Not sure if that was to try and wind up Spurs fans or if they wanted him as their new manager ??  They also seemed to have a weird hobby, as two of them stood between two Police horses while they had their photo taken.  Nice !!

Their side seemed to have a bit more of an idea what they were supposed to be doing and Spurs were left trailing in their wake for quite a while.  It took a brave move form our new Head Coach to make a difference and he doesn't seem to mind making changes to unsettle the opposition.  While it sometimes seems our own players are a little bamboozled by them, they get the gist very quickly and adapt well.

With a six game unbeaten run, Ramos might not be the saviour of Tottenham Hotspur, but he certainly has a grip on what the team needs to do to get back to where we were for the last two seasons.












Other scores this weekend :
Group A
AZ Alkmaar (HOL) 1 Larissa (GRE) 0 Thursday
Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS) 2 Nuremberg (GER) 2 Thursday
Group B
Atletico Madrid (SPA) 2 Aberdeen (SCO)Panathinaikos (GRE) 0 Thursday
Locomotive Moscow (RUS) 0 FC Copenhagen (DEN) 1 Thursday
Group C
Elfsborg (SWE) 1 Mlada Boleslav (GRE) 3 Thursday
AEK Athens (GRE) 1 Fiorentina (ITA) 1 Thursday
Group D
Hamburg (GER) 3 Rennes (FRA) 0 Thursday
Brann (NOR) 2 Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 1 Thursday
Group E
FC Zurich (SWI) 2 Toulouse (FRA) 0 Thursday
Sparta Prague (CZE) 0 Spartak Moscow (RUS) 0 Thursday
Group F
Bolton Wanderers 1 Aris Salonika (GRE) 1 Thursday
Sporting Braga (POR) 1 Bayern Munich (GER) 1 Thursday
Group G
Getafe (SPA) 1 Hapoel Tel Aviv (ISR) 2 Thursday
Group H
Panionios (GRE) 0 Galatasary (TUR) 3 Thursday
Helsingborg (SWE) 3 Austria Vienna (AUS) 0 Thursday

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