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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Royal Antwerp v Spurs, 29.10.20

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Spurs' record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
U.E.F.A Champions League
 P  W   D   L   F - A
45 19   9  17  82 - 68

(Finalists 2019)
European Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13
(Semi-Finalists 1962)
European Cup Winners Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34
(Winners 1963)
UEFA Cup/Europa League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
144  82  36  26  291-125 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
The club logo of Royal Antwerp
 P   W   D   L   F - A
230 125 51  54  459-240

Europa League Group J

               P  W  D  L   F-A   GD   Pts

 1. Spurs      1  1  0  0   3-0    3    3
 2. Antwerp    1  1  0  0   2-1    1    3 
 3. Ludogorets 1  0  0  1   1-2   -1    0 
 4. LASK       1  0  0  1   0-3   -3    0  

Another "first" for Spurs tomorrow?

Spurs travel to Belgium looking for their first win there in European competition! Don't miss this game which kicks off at 5.55pm UK time tomorrow (Thursday), and is televised by BT SPORT.

(Thanks to Declan Mulcahy for some of the information mentioned in this preview)

Royal Antwerp Football Club is often referred to as R. Antwerp, or Antwerp and was actually founded as a cricket club by English students in 1880. The club is regarded as the oldest football club in Belgium.

We've never played competitively against Antwerp, but did have a couple of friendlies in the 70s. The first occasion was at home on 16th August, 1976. The match was drawn 1-1 and our goal was scored by Gerry Armstrong. The team was Daines; Naylor, McAllister, Pratt (sub Conn), Young, Osgood, Coates, Perryman, Armstrog, Jones, Neighbour.

Spurs beat Royal Antwerp 3-1 away in another friendly on 8 August 1978. Glenn Hoddle converted a penalty and Ian Moores scored two goals. It was a game of significance in Spurs history as it featured the first appearances of Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa in a Spurs shirt. Ardiles was replaced by McNab at some point in the game. The team in full was :- Daines; McAllister, Gorman, Hoddle, Lacy, Perryman (sub Holmes), Villa, Ardiles (sub McNab), Armstrong, Moores, Taylor (sub Duncan)

Royal Antwerp qualified directly into the group stage after finishing fourth in Belgian First Division A last season. They also beat Belgian League Champions Club Brugge in their Cup Final which was deferred and played in August. The Belgian League was curtailed in March with 29 of 40 scheduled games played. The Cup win was Antwerp's first major trophy in nearly 30 years. The last time the club were Belgian Champions was in 1956-7.

In 1992 Royal Antwerp won the Belgian Super Cup and entered the 92-93 UEFA Cup-Winners Cup competition, finishing runners-up to Parma. That match was played at Wembley.

Antwerp come into this game in good form. They beat Ludogorets away last week 2-1, so this game is an early battle for Group J leadership. The Belgian side have also won their last four league games and sit top of the table after 10 games with 20 points. Their top league scorer is 34-year-old Mbokani Bezua, who has four league goals. Another 34-year-old - Israeli International Lior Refaelov - has three league goals, and scored one of Antwerp's goals in Bulgaria last Thursday. Wing-man Simen Juklerod, from Norway, is a regular starter and has scored 3 goals for the club this season.

Antwerp's squad includes right back Ritchie De Laet, who played in English football between 2008 and 2018. This included 4 seasons at Leicester including their title-winning season, but he was out on loan for the second half of that season. Born in Antwerp, De Laet began his career here and this is now his second season back at his hometown club.

This will be Spurs' fifth visit to Belgium for a European competitive game, and we have yet to win such a match. The sequence started with the magical UEFA Cup Final in 1984, which was played over two legs against Anderlecht. Both games were of course drawn. "Captain Courageous" Graham Roberts scored our late (83rd minute) equaliser at home and of course goalkeeper Tony Parks became a legendary hero with his penalty save in one of the greatest ever nights at White Hart Lane. We've played Anderlecht twice since, drawing in December 2007, and losing in October 2015.

We also played Club Brugge away in October 1984, but lost that game 2-1. We did win the home leg 3-0, so went through on aggregate. We met Club Brugge in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup, but only played them at home and won 3-1 with goals from Dimitar Berbatov (2) and Robbie Keane. Our last game in Belgium was an ill-fated 1-0 defeat to KAA Gent in the Europa league Round of 32 in February 2017.

Whenever Hugo Lloris next plays a European game it will be his 100th such appearance. The chances are though that Jose Mourinho will give Joe Hart his fourth start of the season. I also suspect that the Spurs team will be very different from that which faced Burnley on Sunday. Players who did not get on the Turf Moor pitch such as Aurier, Sanchez, Reguilon, Winks, Dele, Bergwijn, Bale and Vinicius will surely be involved. Giovani Lo Celso must be due a start too.

Toby Alderweireld was born in Antwerp, but never played professionally for any Belgian club, let alone that of his home town. I am sure he would love to play here, but he did have a hard game on Monday night and suffered a head wound, so a rest would be beneficial.

I'll be bold and predict two-goal win for Spurs - perhaps 2-0.

Match referee Maurizio Mariani and his on-field officials are all from Italy. Once again in this season's competition we are encountering a new referee. Over the last year Signor Mariani has officiated U-19 Euro games, a nations League game between Hungary and Russia and Europa League qualifiers including Rangers' 4-0 win over Willem II.

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