Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]
UEFA Champions Youth League 2018-19, Play-Off
Toumba Stadium, Thessalonika, Greece
Tuesday 19th February 2019, 5pm(UK time)
PAOK FC v SPURS
(Black/White) (All Blue)
PAOK – Popadopoulos; Lyratzis, Diamantis, Michailidis, Tsaousis, Salamouras(Maniotis 81),
Tsiggaras, Chatzistavros(C)(Meletidis 84), Doumtsis(Tzovaras 46), Gkargkalatzidis(Pournaras 76),
Unused Subs:– Talichmanidis, Tachados
Booked:– Michailidis 26(Foul), Diamantis 44(Foul)
Sent Off:– Tsiggaras 33(Foul on Bennett)
Coach:– Theocharis Komsis
SPURS – Austin(C); Eyoma, Walcott(Maghoma 66), Lyons-Foster; White; Hinds, Oakley-Boothe(Okedina 90+1), Shashoua, Cirkin; Roles; Bennett(Clarke 87)
Unused Subs:– De Bie; Binks, Pochettino, Whittaker
Scorer:– Lyons-Foster 12
Booked:– Lyons-Foster 20(Foul), Roles 25(Late), Bennett 66(Push), Austin 83(Time), Cirkin 88(Pull)
Coach:– Matt Wells
Attendance:– Approx. 8,000
Referee – Jerome Brisard(FRA)
Assistants:– Benjamin Pages(FRA) & Francois Boudikian(FRA)
Spurs travelled to Greece for this one-off game against the top academy side who were unbeaten this season. PAOK have won 23 of their 24 games and reached the play-offs via the Champions path as academy champions of their country. They look likely to do the same for next season's competition. Spurs got here by finishing second in their group behind Barcelona in the Champions League. The game was held at PAOK's Toumba stadium with a big crowd cheering the home side on. Due to unforseen circumstances I was not able to be at the game and had to watch it on BT Sport.
Spurs lined up with Austin behind Eyoma, Walcott and Lyons-Foster with White in front of them at the base of a midfield diamond. Ahead of him Oakley-Boothe and Shashoua supported Roles at the point of the diamond. Hinds on the right and Cirkin on the left provided the width with Bennett up front.
Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the North end and moved the ball well through the midfield against the home side who were quick to challenge but went to ground too easily under pressure.
Gkargkalatzidis had an early effort wide before Bennett's blocked attempt went over for a corner. White took the corner and put the ball onto the head of Lyons-Foster to guide it into the far corner to give Spurs the lead. A couple of minutes later the same two players combined from a free kick to net again. Unfortunately the ref pulled the play back for an infringement and the Greek defence cleared.
Lyons-Foster was the first name in the ref's book for a foul on Gaitanidis. Bennett got through on the right but Popadopoulos pushed his effort wide of the far post. Tsaousis drove wide for a corner before Roles was late reaching a ball in from the left and was booked before he had his legs taken away from him as he was running clear which saw Michailidis booked.
The turning point in the game came when Bennett was played through and Tsiggaras took him out with a high tackle from behind. The referee deemed it bad enough for a straight red. Tsaousis had another effort over the bar before Diamantis was booked for a foul on Bennett. PAOK made a late push at the end of the half with Tsiggaras firing over and Chatzistavros charged down Austin's kick.
PAOK made a change for the start of the second half sending on a second striker to put pressure on the Spurs backline. Salamouras headed a corner wide for another corner before Tzovaras saw his header saved. Gkargkalatzidis played in Lyratzis to drive wide. Tzovaras headed over from another corner before Spurs got down the other end with Cirkin playing in Roles to hit the right post. The ball came out to White who drove wide of the same post.
Austin saved a looping header by Michailidis at a corner. Spurs gradually regained control of the game but Bennett was booked for pushing Michailidis out of the way in the area. Spurs made their first change with Maghoma replacing Walcott. Spurs went to four at the back and Bennett moved to the left flank with Roles moving up front.
Roles beat the offside trap to run onto a through ball by Oakley-Boothe but took the shot early and hit the outside of the left post. Shashoua gave away a foul on the edge of the Spurs area but Lyratzis hit his free kick well wide. PAOK made more changes to freshen up their side and Austin was booked for time wasting I think before Spurs made their second change with Clarke replacing Roles and going to the left side pushing Bennett back up front. Cirkin was booked for a push on Pournaras before Spurs made their third change in added time. Okedina replaced Oakley-Boothe as Spurs saw out the game.
This was a good performance against the top side in Greece who, until now, had not lost a game. PAOK raised their game after going down to ten men and did cause Spurs some problems which they dealt with to see out the game and qualify for the last 16. BT Sport said that the referee had a reputation for flashing the yellow card (16 in his last two matches) which he lived up to. The draw for the next round is on Friday. It is an open draw and all games now are one-offs with Chelsea, Liverpool and United in the mix. The only team Spurs will not meet in the next round would be the holders Barcelona.
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