EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP K
THURSDAY 7TH NOVEMBER, 2013
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (0) FC SHERIFF 1 (0)
Defoe (pen ), 67
Referee:- Mr. Kenn Hansen
Assistants:- Mr. Lars Rix & Mr. David Vang Andersen
Additional assistants:- Mr. Jakob Kehlet & Mr. Jens Maae
Fourth official:- Mr. Daniel R. Norgaard ( All officials from Denmark)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Friedel; Walker, Kaboul (Capt.), Vertonghen, Naughton; Capoue (sub Paulinho, 58), Dembele; Lamela, Eriksen (sub Holtby, 81), Sigurdsson (sub Kane, 69); Defoe
Subs not used:- Archer (number 56); Chiriches; Lennon; Soldado
Booked:- Eriksen (foul on Luvannor)
FC Sheriff (4-2-3-1):- Tomic; Balima, Samardzic (Capt.), Metoua, Paye; Stanojevic, Moyal (sub Furdui, 60); Ricardinho, Cadu (sub Pascenco, 73), Luvannor (sub Jhulliam, 88); Isa
Subs not used:- Stajila; Paireli, Fernando, Celestino
Defoe penalty seals record; victory, and qualification
On an otherwise unremarkable night, and in an unremarkable game, Jermain Defoe’s 67th minute penalty was enough to make him Spurs’ highest ever goalscorer in European football, with 23 goals, thus beating Martin Chivers’ 39 year old record. Chivers was interviewed at half-time, and was therefore present to witness his record being beaten. That penalty had been won by Spurs man of the match Erik Lamela, who had clearly been impeded as he entered the box on a mazy run. Defoe’s strike also ensured victory, and qualification for the knock-out phase of the Europa League. Lamela had put Spurs in the lead on the hour with his first club goal.
Thus Lamela put his mark on the game, along with Defoe. Erik gave his best performance yet in a Spurs shirt, switching flanks at times with Sigurdsson, but also enjoying some of that freedom afforded to previous incumbents of the Spurs right wing slot. He was often to be seen in central areas, linking well with team-mates.
There was a good crowd in attendance, on a night when many regulars opt not to attend. I understand that there were officially no Moldovan supporters in the crowd! Younes Kaboul captained the side tonight, and Jan Vertonghen played beside him, seemingly getting the heaviest workload of the Spurs squad. Still, I suppose centre-back is less physically demanding than left back! There was no sign of Hugo Lloris, after all the fuss and bother this week after his head injury, and Jordan Archer was on the bench for Spurs.
Spurs’ first chance came after 6 minutes, when Defoe fed the ball to Dembele who hit a good low left footed shot, saved by goalkeeper Tomic to his right for a corner. Etienne Capoue was making a welcome return to the starting line-up, next to Dembele, and after Lamela’s pass, Capoue had a decent effort go wide.
There was little significant action for some time, and after 24 minutes, the visitors broke free through Ricardinho and Isa. It was Isa who had the shot, and Friedel saved well, pushing the ball onto the outside of the post and conceding a corner. Minutes later, Eriksen slipped up and Ricardinho was away again, but fired wide. Eriksen’s fine form of his first two appearances seems to have deserted him for much of the time recently.
Lamela received a cross from Walker and had a couple of efforts. His first was blocked, then the follow up was deflected for a corner. Spurs were trying to find the feet of Defoe, but the Moldovan defence including their goalkeeper was having the better of the exchanges until half-time.
After the break, Eriksen got the only yellow card of the night for a foul on Luvannor. Friedel comfortably held a shot by Luvannor, before Eriksen hit a great right footed shot that was tipped over the bar by Sheriff goalkeeper Tomic.
Capoue was replaced by Paulinho, before Spurs took the lead with Lamela’s goal. He passed inside from the right to Eriksen, whose attempted pass was helpfully diverted into the path of Lamela, who fired past the keeper from 12 yards. Five minutes later, Lamela was clearly fouled by Paye for one of the easiest penalty decisions referee Kenn Hansen will have to make. There was going to be no stopping Defoe stepping up to the penalty spot, although plenty of Spurs fans would have been worried about his past penalty success rate. There was no need to worry, as Jermain fired the ball convincingly high into the net to the right of Tomic. Both goals were scored at The Paxton End.
Sigurdsson was replaced by Harry Kane, and to be honest, I saw little of him in action for quite a while. Walker crossed inside to Dembele, whose effort went for a Spurs corner, but within a minute, Sheriff had got back on terms. Cadu had a shot saved by Friedel, but he could only push the ball into the path of Isa, who fired home what should have been the away end, but which had no away fans!
Spurs were not really bothered by the visitors after their goal, and Harry Kane did have a good long range shot saved towards the end of the game. Substitute Lewis Holtby tried to follow up, but his shot was weak. The three minutes of added time was really quite routine.
Anzhi once again beat Tromso, so are five points behind Spurs, who have won all four of their games, and tonight conceded their first goal in this year’s competition. Anzhi could still overtake us, but that would require Spurs to lose in Norway, which is hardly likely. There will be more serious business for Spurs on Sunday lunch-time, when Newcastle come to White Hart Lane.
Europa League Group K
(After Matchday 4)
Pos Team P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Spurs 4 4 0 0 9-1 8 12
2. Anzhi 4 2 1 1 2-2 0 7
3. Sheriff 4 0 2 2 2-5 -3 2
4. Tromso 4 0 1 3 1-6 -5 1