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Spurs v Fiorentina, 25.02.16

UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE
ROUND OF 32 (2nd leg)
THURSDAY 25TH FEBRUARY, 2016
(8.05pm)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(1) ACF FIORENTINA 0(0)
(Spurs win 4-1 on aggregate)

Spurs scorers:-
Mason, 25
Lamela, 63
Rodriguez (o.g), 81

Attendance:- 34,880

Referee:- Ovidiu Hategan
Assistants:- Octavian Sovre & Sebastian Gheorghe
Additional assistants:- Alexandru Tudor & Sebastian Coltescu
Fourth official:- Radu Ghinguleac
(All officials from Romania)

Teams:-
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Davies; Dier, Mason (sub Winks, 87); Eriksen, Alli (sub Bentaleb, 84), Lamela (sub Onomah, 76); Chadli

Subs not used:- Vorm; Rose, Carter-Vickers; Son

Booked:- Wimmer (foul on Ilicic), Trippier (foul on Alonso), Alli (simulation), Davies (foul on Vecino)

Fiorentina (4-1-3-1-1):- Tatarusanu; Tomovic, Rodriguez (Capt.), Astori, Alonso; Badelj (sub Fernandez, 82); Bernadeschi, Vecino, Valero (sub Blaszczykowski, 74); Ilicic (sub Zarate, 61); Kalinic

Subs not used:- Lezzerini(GK), Satalino (GK); Pasqual; Babacar

Booked:- Tomovic (dissent), Alonso (foul on Trippier)

Tables turned, with interest.

Spurs comfortably turned the tables on Fiorentina who had knocked us out of last year's Europa League at this stage by reversing the scores, with a one goal interest. Last year we had played at home first, and drawn, before losing 2-0 in Florence. This year, after a 1-1 away draw, Spurs qualified with a convincing 3-0 scoreline.

Mauricio Pochettino had been forced to leave out the injured Kane and Dembele, who joined Vertonghen, N'Jie and Carroll on the injury list. However, the Spurs head coach arguably fielded his strongest possible side, with Hugo Lloris returning in goal, and Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies occupying the full back berths. Erik Lamela made a welcome return beside Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, behind Nacer Chadli playing the striker role.

Yohan Benalouane was missing for the visitors, who started with Kalinic up front supported by Josip Ilicic. Playmaker Borja Valero, who had been prominent for "La Viola" last year started tonight.

There was a near full house in attendance, and a decent Fiorentina support, occupying the lower tier of the south-west corner. The game was played at fast pace, assisted by the rapid return system where a ball might be out of play in one position, and returned from a slightly different spot!

Spurs pressed hard, but found themselves challenged wherever they ventured. Lloris didn't really have a serious save to make all night, although he did advance to the edge of his area in a timely fashion two or three times. On the other hand, Fiorentina goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu had quite a busy night, making several saves. Paulo Sousa's side must have travelled short-handed, because they had two goalkeepers on the bench. I remember Harry Redknapp doing that once or twice!

Kieran Trippier tried a cross after seven minutes, and failed with a handball appeal, before hitting a second cross which was cleared off Chadli's head. After a Spurs corner from the right, taken by Lamela, Eric Dier headed wide across the goal, having met the ball towards the near post.

Kevin Wimmer got the first of too many yellow cards shown by Romanian referee Ovidi Hategan, who we have seen at The Lane once before. I don't think he won many fans tonight! Ilicic took the free kick, having been the victim of Wimmer's foul, but the shot was comfortable for Lloris.

After 18 minutes, Ben Davies hit a pass down the line to Lamela, who passed inside to Ryan Mason. Mason in turn fed Eriksen, who hit a decent right footed shot, which Tatarusanu could initially only parry before picking up. Lamela and Dele Alli combined cleverly in the middle outside the box, before Alli's final effort was picked up by the keeper.

At the other end, Fiorentina had their first real threat when Ilicic got the better of Davies and found space just inside the box, hitting a shot wide across Lloris's goal.

Spurs took the lead and advantage in the tie, when Dele Alli latched onto a loose defensive ball outside the Fiorentina area, passing to Mason on the left, who planted the ball inside the far post. It was Ryan Mason's first goal since he got the winner (and injured himself) at Sunderland. Ryan understandably celebrated in front of the Park Lane fans with gusto.

Toby Alderweireld was so solid all night and made a great overhead defensive clearance from Kalinic. Kieran Trippier was next into the book for a foul on Marcus Alonso. Ilicic took the kick and Valero hit the side netting with his near post header. Trippier then had to cover the threat of Valero chasing a long ball, holding the player off, allowing Hugo Lloris to advance and sweep up.

One minute after the break, Nacer Chadli had the ball in the net from Lamela's pass, but the offside flag had been raised. Quality battling play by Dele Alli in the middle led to a ball to Alderweireld on the right. (He must have been up after a corner). Alderweireld passed inside to Eriksen who sent a quick cross for Chadli. However, the goalkeeper had the better of this challenge.

Spurs were maintaining their high energy approach, and Fiorentina were hardly getting a look-in. Their fans were quietened, and the Spurs chanting turned into an old fashioned Park Lane versus Paxton challenge.

Fiorentina had a throw in their own half, but still the ball reached Alli, who had a shot deflected for a Spurs corner. Nothing came of it though, and Lloris was required to get down to a Valero shot at the other end.

Spurs took the all-important two goal lead in the 63rd minute. Eriksen crossed from the right and Chadli had an attempt saved, before the ball ran out to Lamela, just inside the box. Erik created his own space and crashed the ball home convincingly past the keeper.

After 72 minutes, Fiorentina won a corner after Valero's cross found Zarate, whose shot was blocked by Ben Davies. Ryan Mason had a shot go over the bar at the other end after more good work by Eriksen and Alli.

It was time for Mauricio Pochettino to start giving some of his key players a rest, and Josh Onomah was the first Spurs sub, replacing Lamela, who got a good ovation, as he left. Dele Alli got a booking for diving outside the box, which means he will miss the first leg of our Round of 16 game.

The game was over as a contest in the 81st minute. Good work by Chadl led to a ball to Trippier, who crossed into the 6 yard danger zone. Dele Alli was lurking, but it was the Fiorentina skipper Gonzalo Rodriguez who put the ball into his own net. Spurs had another great effort after 86 minutes. Chadli crossed from the left and Ryan Mason hit a cracking 20 yard shot which had to be pushed over the bar for a corner by Tatarusanu.

In the closing three minutes of added time, Christian Eriksen had an attempt cleared for a corner, after a Davies cross.

This was an accomplished win over a decent third place Serie A side, who provided good opposition. Spurs go forward to tomorrow's Round of 16 draw in which there is no restriction on opponents, meaning we could draw Liverpool or Man Utd. Spurs though have good reason to be afraid of nobody!

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