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Sevilla v Spurs, 05.04.07


Sevilla scorers:-
Kanoute (pen), 19
Kerzhakov, 36

Spurs scorer:-
Keane, 2

Attendance: - 32,000

Referee: - Mr. A. Hamer (Luxembourg)

Sevilla (4-4-2):- Palop; Daniel Alves, Navarro (Capt.), Escude, David (sub Dragutinovic, 68); Navas, Poulsen, Renato (sub Marti, 60), Adriano; Kerzhakov, Kanoute

Subs not used: - Cobeno; Hinkel, Duda, Maresca; Chevanton

Booked: - David

Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Stalteri, Dawson, Chimbonda, Lee; Lennon (sub Malbranque, 80) Jenas, Zokora, Tainio (sub Ghaly, 84); Berbatov, Keane (Capt.)

Subs not used: - Cerny; Ifil; Taarabt; Mido, Defoe

Booked: - Robinson, Tainio, Lee, Zokora

The headlines following last night’s game are inevitably about so-called crowd violence between Spurs and Sevilla fans, and the inquest has already begun as to the cause of the trouble in the lower tier where the Spurs and Sevilla fans were not effectively segregated. I was in the upper tier and had a good view of a lot of the trouble. Whilst I cannot say what started the incident, I do know that the Spanish Police were indiscriminate and over-exuberant in the way they persistently lammed into the Spurs section with their long sticks repeatedly hitting anyone in the way, including a lone Spurs steward who was trying to calm things down. I have heard that those struck by police included a woman and a disabled supporter. I was sickened by what I saw, which was wanton violence by the riot police. I encountered a phalanx of these people on the way out of the rickety stadium, and they seemed eager to take up the cudgels with anyone that even looked at them the wrong way.

The Sevilla stadium featured highly banked stands, with no refreshment facilities whatsoever inside the concourse, pathetic signage, and little effective stewarding. In fact, our tickets gave us access to the home corner and we had to make our own way along the front of the upper tier to find our seating, when we were told by Spurs stewards to sit anywhere, as the ticket numbers did not matter. Some of the safety rails were insecure, and this stadium would not be granted safety certificates in England, I am sure.

The crowd scenes are such a disappointment, after the dignitaries of Sevilla in conjunction with Tottenham Hotspur had made such an effort of entertaining the fans in the specific Fanzone adjacent to the City Centre. The Mayor, no less, had cut the first slice of the free paella on offer, and as a Spurs Trust member, I was fortunate enough to be offered pre-match hospitality by our corresponding group of Sevilla supporters during the afternoon. We were featured on Sky Sports News, and the official Spurs web site, so the scenes and stories of violence in the evening are all the more upsetting.

Also disappointing (to say the least), was the pathetic standard of refereeing we had to suffer last night. Mr Hamer from Luxembourg was a “homer” of the greatest degree, and his awful award of a penalty against Paul Robinson could ultimately cost Spurs dearly. Such was the level of his perceived hostility towards Spurs that in the second half, there were massive ironic cheers from the 4,000 Spurs section for the eventual award of a free kick or two to Spurs. Amongst the injustices were a free kick against Berbatov when he was being sandwiched by three players, a booking of Lee for a fair tackle, and the award of a throw when the ball had clearly rebounded off the corner flag for a corner.

Spurs must take heart though from a crucial away goal, and a result that is by no means irredeemable, despite the quality of an opposition which pulled out all the stops fielding their strongest team, including Poulsen, pulling the strings at the back of midfield, and his Brazilian colleagues Adriano, Daniel Alves and Renato. This is not to mention former Spur Fredi Kanoute and fellow striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov.

Spurs had a dream start with Keane’s second minute goal. Robbie had already been teed up by Berbatov, when after only 68 seconds, he was set up again by a terrific ball. Keane’s first attempt was saved, but he fired past Palop with the rebound from an angle on the left. Spurs were holding their own, but Sevilla were gifted the equaliser, when Paul Robinson came out to steal the ball from Adriano. The ball was at least a yard from the feet of the Brazilian, and Robbo clearly managed to push the ball away from danger. As he ran to retrieve the ball, the referee had already awarded a penalty for what he adjudged at trip on the Sevilla player, who tripped over Robinson’s extended body. Robinson got a yellow card for his dissent, and then had to pick the ball out of the net as Kanoute sent him the wrong way from the spot.

Robbie Keane nearly restored the Spurs lead, when Lee passed inside, and Robbie’s shot was saved by Palop. Robinson was called into action at the other end after 27 minutes, diving to touch Navas’s shot out of play. Chimbonda had had a headed chance at the Sevilla end, before Robinson nearly failed to stop Kanoute’s shot, and was assisted by Stalteri. Then Spurs fell behind to a poor bit of defending. The ball was crossed from the right, and Dawson for once failed to head clear, only helping the ball on to the back of the area, where the ball was returned for Kerzhakov to head home. Kerzhakov had another chance before the break, when he lost Stalteri, but hit his right foot shot over the Spurs bar. By this time the crowd scenes were dominant and must have affected the players’ concentration

Spurs gave a good account of themselves in the second half, and might have equalised through Keane after 57 minutes, when Berbatov’s pass reached him on the left. Robbie fired across the keeper, but wide of the mark. Kanoute had a good chance with a near post header that he sent wide, and then after 73 minutes, headed wide from Adriano’s cross. Spurs reacted with Jenas’s pass to Zokora, whose shot went wide, and might have had a deserved equaliser five minutes from the end following close work by Berbatov and Keane and a poor shot from substitute Malbranque.

Spurs (players and fans alike) have little time to lick their wounds, before tomorrow’s tough clash at Stamford Bridge. Next Thursday’s match at White Hart Lane promises to be one of the great European nights!

· Sevilla Fanzine Site "Until I Die"

· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· Read the preview for this game.

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