UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE
Round of 32, Second leg
THURSDAY 27th FEBRUARY, 2014
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(0) DNIPRO DNIPROPETROVSK 1(0)
(Spurs win 3-2 on aggregate)
Referee:- Anthony Gautier
Assistants:- Michael Annonier & Philippe Jeanne
Additional Assistants:- Benoit Bastien & Benoit Millot
Fourth official:- Guillaume Debart
(All officials from France)
Spurs (4-4-2):- Lloris; Naughton, Dawson (Capt.), Vertonghen, Fryers; Townsend (sub Lennon, 85), Sandro (sub Bentaleb, 76), Dembele, Eriksen; Adebayor, Soldado (sub Kane, 88)
Subs not used:- Friedel; Veljkovic; Chadli, Paulinho
Booked:- Sandro (foul on Rotan), Vertonghen (foul on Matheus), Dawson (foul on Giuliano)
Dnipro (4-3-2-1):- Boyko; Fedetskiy (sub Kulakov, 84), Mazuch, Cherberyachko, Strinic; Kankava (sub Seleznyov, 70), Giuliano; Matheus, Konoplyanka; Zozulya
Subs not used:- Lastuvka; Bruno Gama, Douglas, Kalinic, Politylo
Booked:- Rotan (foul on Dembele), Kulakov (foul on Kane)
Sent off (62):- Zozulya (Violent conduct)
Adebayor leads the way to Benfica
As I predicted (with even the scoreline accurate), it was indeed an exciting night at White Hart Lane, as Emmanuel Adebayor led Spurs to the Round of 16 and a lip-smacking tie against Benfica. Spurs had gone one down on the night and 2-0 on aggregate, before Christian Eriksen levelled on the night with a super free kick.
Soon after Eriksen's goal, there was a melee in the Dnipro Area, after Andros Townsend had been stopped unfairly in full flight. Dnipro's goal-.scorer Zozulya head-butted Jan Vertonghen, with whom he had been having a duel all night long. Referee Antony Gautier pulled out a red card, and Spurs soon took the vital two goal advantage, thanks to sharp finishing by Adebayor, now Spurs' top scorer.
Tim Sherwood took an adventurous stance, with Soldado starting beside Adebayor. Sandro made his first start since the home defeat by Liverpool which took place under AVB'S tenure. Christian Eriksen was a welcome addition to the midfield armoury.
The Spurs defence was as anticipated, with Kyle Walker and Danny Rose not available. Hugo Lloris's presence was to prove vital in the closing stages, when he made two or three very good saves.
As for Juande Ramos's Dnipro, they looked sharp again, when breaking forward, but they often looked like a team playing a 4-6-0 formation, thwarting Spurs' efforts to break through in the first half.
There was a good crowd in attendance, with different faces, as is often the case for these games. As a result, the atmosphere was good.
From the outset, the visiting team was cynical in its quest to waste as much time as possible, feigning injuries and killing as much time in any given situation as they could. Matheus in particular seemed to suffer injury more than most.
After three minutes, Townsend tried to put in Soldado, but the situation was defended well. Adebayor fielded a cross from the right after 7 minutes, and Eriksen hit a good shot on target towards the goalkeeper's left side, but the ball was deflected wide for a Spurs corner.
Another Spurs attack down the right side ended with Soldado trying to tee up his strike partner, but the attempt was blocked at the near post. Eriksen did well to winkle his way into the right side of the box, but could not get as far as a shot on goal.
Spurs put more pressure down the right wing, and got the ball into good situations, without an end result. After a foul on Vertonghen, Eriksen took a shot with his right foot, which goalkeeper Boyko saved, diving to his right.
Strinic won a battle down the Dnipro left flank, and got a shot in, resulting in a corner. Michael Dawson might even have given Matheus a nudge in the back, but referee Antony Gautier had already identified Matheus as a bit of a fraud.
After a foul by Vertonghen on Zozulya, the Dinipro free kick was touched to Matheus, who fired well over. His shot did not get the approval of his team-mates.
Sandro had made his welcome return, and already won a few 'Beast'
cheers, before he had a pop at goal after 37 minutes. His effort was over the bar. Sandro got a yellow card before the break for a foul on the Dnipro captain Rotan.
There were tears of joy at half-time when Paul Coyte welcomed Jermain Defoe onto the pitch for an emotional farewell. JD received rousing cheers from the crowd, and also an on-pitch presentation from one of the many Spurs Foundation charities that he has assiduously supported as a Spurs player.
Spurs plans went awry after only two minutes of the second half.
Dnipro, playing towards the Park Lane, had won a throw, then a free kick down the left flank. Rotan crossed and Zozulya headed in at the near post, right into Lloris's top right corner. Spurs were 1-0 down on the night, and 2-0 down on aggregate. Any plans to book early for Benfica were on hold.
After an Eriksen corner and a touch by Adebayor, Dembele hit a shot into the ground which landed on top of the net. Soon after that, Soldado did have the ball in the net from an Eriksen pass, but the offside flag had been raised before the "goal".
Eriksen equalised for Spurs with a great right footed curling free kick, taken from the left side of the box. The goalkeeper got a touch, diving low to his right, but was beaten. Spurs were on terms.
Dnipro had a well-worked free kick from the right by Rotan, and danger man Konoplyanka beat Dawson with a good shot. I thought Lloris made a save, but apparently the post saved Tottenham too.
Then came some shenanigans in front of the Paxton Stand. Townsend had been halted in his tracks, and it was a free kick for Spurs. Before the kick could be taken, there seemed to be fisticuffs in the area. I noticed Fedetskiy getting involved, but I personally had missed a head-butt by Zozulya on Vertonghen. Some say Vertonghen over-reacted to make sure the referee did not miss the head-butt, but whatever the case, the referee waved a red card at the Dnipro striker, who didn't want to go, and had to be restrained and pointed in the right direction by Adebayor.
Adebayor then became the Spurs hero with two well-taken goals in four minutes. Firstly Eriksen beat the defence with a well-placed ball into the danger zone, which Adebayor prodded home, with Soldado also at hand, and leading the celebrations.
Spurs still had work to do though, because 2-1 would not have been good enough. Adebayor did even better with his second, bringing Zeki Fryer's long ball under control, with one touch, before firing home past Boyko.
Now Spurs did have a lead in the tie, and the game opened up, as Dnipro did a good impression of an 11-man team, chasing the one goal they knew would have been sufficient for their band of fans to go home happy.
Sandro didn't have 90 minutes in him, and was replaced by Bentaleb.
After excellent work by Townsend down the right flank, and a good cross, Soldado's effort went over the bar.
Lloris had already made one save, but made a better one, with a dive to his right to palm away a shot by Konoplyanka.
In the closing stages, Lennon came on for Townsend, and Harry Kane replaced Soldado. There were five minutes of added time for Spurs to hang on, and at times that's what they were doing, with Lloris making another excellent save from a Konoplyanka free kick.
In the end, Harry Kane ran down some time in the left corner, and even attracted a foul from Dnipro substitute Kulakov, who also got a yellow card.
So, it was a memorable European night for Spurs, who will now re-live memories of one of their most famous European ties, against Benfica, who beat PAOK 3-0 on the night. Spurs will be at home in the first leg on March 13th, before travelling to Lisbon, and the real Stadium of Light.
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