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Young Boys v Spurs, 17.08.10

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
4TH QUALIFYING ROUND
(PLAY-OFF) FIRST LEG
TUESDAY 17TH AUGUST, 2010

BSC YOUNG BOYS 3 (3) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1)

Young Boys scorers:-
Lulic, 4
Bienvenu, 13
Hochstrasser, 28

Spurs scorers:-
Bassong, 42
Pavlyuchenko, 83

Attendance:- 31, 275

Referee:- Mr. F. De. BleeCkere (Belgium)
+ 5 assistant referees

Teams:-
Young Boys (4-2-3-1):- WolfLi (Capt.); Sutter, Spycher, Affolter, Jemal,; Doubai, Hochstrasser; Degen (sub Raimondo, 90), Costanzo (sub C. Schneuwly, 65), Lulic; Bienvenu

Subs not used:- Burki; M. Schneuwly, De Pierro, Regazzoni, Mayuka

Booked:- Bienvenu (foul on Kranjcar)

Spurs (4-4-2):- Gomes; Corluka, Dawson (Capt.), Bassong, Ekotto (sub Huddlestone, 36); Giovani, Palacios, Modric (sub Kranjcar, 46), Bale; Defoe (sub Keane, 66), Pavlyuchenko

Subs not used:- Cudicini; Kaboul; Lennon; Crouch

Booked:- Ekotto, Bassong

Spurs avert disaster – just!

The travelling army of Spurs fans thought they were in Bern to witness a historic Spurs debut in the Champions League, but after half an hour must have thought they had taken a wrong turning to Disneyland. By that time Spurs were three down to a rampaging Young Boys team, who looked like scoring a hatful more goals against a defence that looked like Bambi on Ice, never mind the Astroturf. Clearly too many Spurs players were struggling on the surface, being turned and left stranded by the home players who were probably wearing footwear akin to carpet slippers rather than traditional football boots. Spurs could have been wearing skates. Spurs did dominate possession over the 90 minutes, and with a goal just before the end of each half, they bring a redeemable scoreline back to The Lane next week.

Roman Pavlyuchenko ended up the hero for Spurs, with a stonker of a goal, with his right foot too, 7 minutes before the final whistle. It’s not the first time he has scored a vital goal in a losing game, as he scored the important clinching goal at Turf Moor in last year’s Carling Cup semi-final. On the whole though, Pavlyuchenko has to hold up his hands with several of his team mates, who were culpable for the errors that allowed the home side to romp into that three nil lead. Young Boys had beaten Fenerbahce on the way to this tie, and their crowd displayed a Turkish style atmosphere, with hordes of their fans dancing away with their backs to the football arm in arm.

Harry Redknapp had to leave Ledley King behind for the usual reasons, and Michael Dawson was captain for Spurs first ever Champions League game. Hearing the famous theme must have given players and fans alike goose-bumps. Sebastien Bassong replaced King, and Giovani replaced Lennon on the right, being given his first start since September last year. Tom Huddlestone’s knee plays up a bit apparently on Astroturf, but he was to be needed before the first half was out. Wilson Palacios took his place, but to be honest looked a shadow of his former self. Modric seemed to be the one Spurs player able to keep his feet in the early stages, whilst Gareth Bale was being shut out a lot of the time by Spurs fan and Swiss right back Scott Sutter.

Spurs wore their newly sponsored Champions League and Cup shirt, but sponsors Investec must have feared the worst for their exposure in Europe as Spurs faced a genuine onslaught in the early stages. A throw-in after only one minute reached Lulic on the left of the area, and his right footed shot rebounded off Gomes’ right post, with the keeper nowhere. Significantly, so was the Spurs defence – notably Palacios on this occasion, struggling to find any rhythm in the early stages. Ekotto took an early booking for a foul on David Degen, the identical twin of the former Liverpool player. Things just got worse as the home side took a fourth minute lead after a free kick for Ekotto’s foul. Doubai’s shot from outside the box rebounded off the back of a team-mate and fell fortunately to the unmarked Lulic who scored his first goal for his new club.

Two minutes later Giovani did have a chance as he made a run towards the 6 yard area, but the goalkeeper beat him to the ball. Jermain Defoe then fired over with his left foot, after a head-down by Gareth Bale. After 13 minutes, Spurs went two down, and it started with a poor cross-field pass by Pavlyuchenko in the Young Boys half. The ball was sent down into Spurs territory and Dawson was too easily turned and beaten for pace by Bienvenu, who fired home for a welcome goal for the Swiss.

Defoe had a second chance but didn’t quite make contact with Pavlyuchenko’s cross from the left. Spurs were still having scary moments, and Ekotto made a further mistake on his flank. Modric gave Giovani a shot, but that was sent over the target. Modric probed another attack down the left and made room for a shot but that was miles too high. Spurs were in disaster mode before the half-hour mark had been reached when Costanzo passed inside Bassong (Palacios was culpable for allowing the pass) to the grateful Hochstrasser, whose goal had those home fans bouncing.

Bassong conceded a dangerous free kick on the very edge of the area, which Jemal fired over. Now Huddlestone replaced Ekotto, who after all was on that booking. Bale fell back and Modric moved towards the left side, whilst Tom started to exert some influence in the middle. Bale took a free kick for Spurs, but Bassong had been called offside before the ball reached him. Defoe was onside to receive a good ball from Corluka, but his low cross/shot was too close to the keeper.

Then, in the 42nd minute, Spurs regained a little respite with a powerful headed goal by Bassong from a Bale corner. Spurs won a couple more corners too, culminating in a cross by Bale and a wide shot by Defoe before the break.

Kranjcar replaced Modric at the break, and was involved in a good early move with Bale, when Pavlyuchenko pulled the ball down well, feeding Corluka for a cross which the goalie collected. Huddlestone did well with the ball just inside the box on the left side, then drove a cross low past the goal. After this Corluka fed Palacios with a good ball, but the keeper was to the ball before Wilson. Kranjcar made a powerful run down the left channel, and fed the ball to Pavlyuchenko, who went down inside the box too easily for the liking of the Belgian referee. Pavlyuchenko was to be denied two more decisions by the referee, the third of which probably was a foul in dangerous territory. Both he and Jermain Defoe just failed to reach Bale's cross at full stretch.

Young Boys had survived this Spurs pressure and gradually started to threaten the Spurs goal again. Spurs did have two or three escapes in the rest of the half. Furthermore they lost Defoe to injury, replaced by Robbie Keane with 25 minutes remaining, and all three subs used. Bienvenu headed over from close range after Degen’s free kick from the right, and Dawson was again beaten for pace as Young Boys broke down their left flank. Pavlyuchenko had a shot pushed over the bar by the keeper from a Corluka cross, and Bassong headed over from the corner.

Spurs were very lucky to escape punishment after a poor ball in from the flank by Palacios, and at the end of some panicky defending substitute Christian Schneuwly headed over the bar, when the goal beckoned.

Then came a moment of magic, as Robbie Keane sharply fed a ball from the right at an angle for Pavlyuchenko who fired a rocket of a shot into the roof of the net with his weaker right foot. Reducing the margin to just one goal with two away goals in the bag ought to be enough to see Spurs through to the Champions League proper, but great improvement will be required if that goal is achieved.

· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
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