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Spurs v Olympique Lyonnaise, 14.02.13

EUROPA LEAGUE
ROUND OF 32 (First leg)
THURSDAY 14TH FEBRUARY, 2013
(8.05pm)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1) OLYMPIQUE LYONNAISE 1 (0)

Spurs scorer:-
Bale, 45, 90

Lyon scorer:-
Umtiti, 55

Attendance:- 31,762

Referee:- Mr. Pedro Proenca
Assistants:- Mr. B. Miranda & Mr. V. Tome
Fourth official:- Mr. A. Godinho
Additional assistants:- Mr. D. Gomes & Mr. J. Capela
(All officials from Portugal)

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-1-1):- Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (sub Sigurdsson, 79), Dembele, Parker (Capt.) (sub Livermore, 90), Dempsey (sub Holtby, 67); Bale; Adebayor
NB:- Holtby wore number 14, as opposed to the number 23 that he has worn for league games
(Armband worn by Livermore)

Subs not used:- Lloris; Naughton, Dawson, Caulker

Booked:- Walker(foul on Umtiti)

Lyon (4-1-4-1):- Vercoutre; Reveillere, Bisevac, Lovren, Umtiti; Gonalons Capt.); Lacazette, Malbranque (sub Grenier, 82),Fofana, Lisandro Lopez (sub Ghezzal, 88); Gomis

Subs not used:- Lopes; Kone, Dabo, Ferri, Benzia

Booked:- Umtiti (foul on Lennon), Fofana (foul on Holtby)

Bale gives Spurs a foothold to the next round.

Gareth Bale was the hero of the hour yet again, as he scored both Spurs goals with superb free kicks that came in added time at the end of both halves.Lyon's left back Samuel Umtiti also scored a stupendous goal that would have beaten any keeper anywhere, which gives Lyon a precious away goal to take back to France.

However, I do feel that Spurs are perfectly capable of cancelling out that away goal and/or holding onto the one goal lead. The game is however finely balanced for next week's second leg.

As hoped, both Jan Vertonghen and Benoit Assou-Ekotto started, with William Gallas making his first start for the year next to Vertonghen. Brad Friedel was given the goalkeeper's jersey, meaning that Hugo Lloris had to watch his old team from the bench. Gareth Bale played in a central position at the start, with Dempsey on the left, supporting Assou-Ekotto. Scott Parker wore the captain's armband.

Lyon were set up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with skipper Gonalons in front of the back four, and Lacazette, Malbranque, Fofana and Lisandro Lopez behind Bafetimbi Gomis, who was the front man. Lacazette and Lopez had the task of supporting Gomis when Lyon were on the attack, but the visitors' midfield was well drilled and athletic enough to fall back and close down the Spurs players, who found space at a premium, and opportunities to create good chances difficult.

Steed Malbranque was given a great reception, and warmly applauded every time he stepped forward to take Lyon's corners.

The Spurs fans started in good voice, but seemed to quieten down after a while. A good number of Lyon fans were housed in the lower tier in the south-west corner, and made plenty of noise, most of which was aimed at the bemused West stand, who of course do not get involved in such banter!

After 4 minutes, Clint Dempsey fed the ball to Bale, who was in a central position. He passed to his left to Assou-Ekotto, whose powerful cross was deflected out of play for a corner.

After 8 minutes, Assou-Ekotto sent a great long ball across the field to Aaron Lennon, in an advanced position. Lennon took the ball towards the bye-line, but lost control. The ball fell back to Kyle Walker, who sent over a deep cross, where Bale fired high and wide.

Walker was in good from tonight, and that included some good defending. He was not the only player to be unlucky during the game with attempted clever passes just failing, either through slight mis-direction, or mis-understanding by the intended recipient.

Fofana had a decent effort on goal after 12 minutes, when he cut in from the left flank, before firing a shot over Friedel's left corner.

Gomis went down in the box and wanted a penalty from the Portuguese referee, but his appeal was dismissed, but there was no card for any simulation on his part. Lovren had a header on target from a Malbranque corner, but Friedel held the attempt comfortably.

Umtiti got the first yellow card for an ungainly foul on Aaron Lennon.

Bale received a peach of a ball from Dembele, and was on the right side of the box, but fired just wide. Bale had another shot, this time on target, after Dempsey had fed the ball back into his path. The goalkeeper held the shot.

Assou-Ekotto showed great skill at the back, clearing by playing the ball through a player's legs, before clearing down the line. It had however been a mis-placed pass by Benoit that had led to the Lyon break.

Bale had the best chance yet after 36 minutes, receiving Walker's cross at the back post, but somehow managing to fire wide back across the goal, when it looked easier to score. Bale's attempt came with his left foot, when a right footed shot would surely have found the net.

Lyon were attacking to good effect down the middle, and after winning a corner, Gomis had a chance, but pushed it wide.

As we entered added time, Dembele was fouled about 35 yards out. Both Walker and Bale showed interest in the free kick, but it was Gareth who stepped up to the plate and hit a fantastic up and down shot that beat Vercoutre all ends up inside his right-hand post. It gave the home fans a great boost going into the half-time break, when we were entertained with the presence of none other than Nayim, happy to talk about THAT goal, not even scored in a Spurs game. Resident half-time presenter Paul Coyte did remember to speak about his Spurs record as well!

After the break, Lyon looked a little more determined, and Walker was harshly penalised for a foul on Umtiti, who at one point did something like a 10 yard roll after gong down, only to return immediately he had limped off the pitch.

Friedel saved a Gomis effort with no trouble, but his was unable to prevent Umtiti's rocket of a shot nearly bursting the net after a simply fantastic effort from out on the left, after the ball had been crossed from the right.

Lacazette had a run from right to centre and finished with another good rising shot. Friedel was able to get a touch to tip the ball over the bar.

Gareth Bale got a second chance to shoot on goal, after his first attempt from a Walker cross had been beaten down. The goalkeeper managed to parry he second shot, but didn't look too confident.

Dempsey was replaced by Lewis Holtby, who almost immediately played a clever pass inside the full back, for Walker to cross. The ensuing attack resulted in a corner.

Aaron Lennon was replaced by Sigurdsson, who also tried some clever football, with varying degrees of success. Fofana got booked for clattering Holtby.

As added time drew near (it was to be three minutes), Bale made a great run from his own half, but his cross from the left just beat Holtby. Bale had another solo effort that the goalkeeper parried, before, at the death, Dembele was fouled just outside the box. Up stepped Bale again, and from a good 22 yards, he hit another fantastic up and down free kick that left the goalkeeper standing and hit the back of the net at the Paxton End. Holtby's celebration of the goal was so enthusiastic and violent that he nearly threw Bale into the lower East Stand!

There was hardly time for the referee to do anything other than blow the final whistle, and the cheers rang out for the win, and in particular Gareth Bale, who has now scored his team's last six goals in the last four games.

Inter beat Cluj 2-0 in the San Siro and look favourites to go through from that game, so they will probably be the next opponents for the winner of our tie. I think that Spurs have every chance of succeeding next week.

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