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Kaiserslautern v Spurs , 04.11.99

(aggregate score 2-1)

Kaiserslautern scorers:-
Buck, 90
Carr (o.g), 92

Referee:- J.Roca (Spain)

Attendance ( to be confirmed - est. 30,000)


Kaiserslautern:- Reinke; Ramzy, ( sub, Reich, 85 )Koch, Schonberg ( sub, Tare, 82 ); Ratinho, Buck, Sforza, Strasser, Djorkaeff; Hristov, Marschall ( sub Petterson, 73)

Subs not used:- Gosporadek (GK); Roos; Wagner, Sobotzik

Booked:- Strasser

Spurs ( 4-5-1):- Walker; Carr, Perry, Campbell, Edinburgh ( sub Young, 75 ); Leonhardsen, Freund, Sherwood, Clemence, Iversen; Armstrong ( sub Ginola , 80)

Subs not used:- Baardsen; Vega; Gower, Fox; Dominguez

Booked:- Carr, Campbell

Disaster struck in the last few minutes in Germany, and the architect of Spurs' last gasp exit from this season's European campaign was the man who was missing from the first leg, French International Youri Djorkaeff. There will be all sorts of theories for defeat put forward in the post mortem of this game, which will no doubt revolve around George Graham's defensive strategy, and omission of Ginola for all but the last 10 minutes, but the fact is that Spurs so nearly held on to their slender lead, having soaked up so much pressure, particularly during the second half. The fact is that they failed to relieve the pressure, by too often losing control in the middle, as aimless clearances soon came tellingly back into Walker's goalmouth. Walker had an excellent game, making three or four crucial saves, but Spurs failed to score the one goal that would have made the home side's task impossible, although Iversen did have two very good chances to score - one in each half.

There was a little controversy before the game, as Kaiserslautern, surprised by the omission of Ginola, changed their side after submitting their team sheet, re-instating Ratinho for Wagner. Spurs will probably be checking the rule book on the flight home, but I doubt if there will be any way back for them. Armstrong played up front, and Iversen played on the left. The tactics were to put these two, plus Leonhardsen forward when attacking, but to leave Armstrong alone when defending. Iversen was unable to offer sufficient support for Edinburgh ( himself installed for the injured Taricco ), who was given a ragged time by Andreas Buck, who nine times out of ten was able to round Edinburgh on the outside, whilst clever balls were sent down the inside of Edinburgh.

The home side could easily have taken the lead after just 2 minutes, when a Ramzy free kick from the left was parried by Walker into Strasser's path. The German hit the ball in a reactive strike, but it went just wide. Armstrong then had a half chance as he ran onto a long ball into the area, but his weak shot was safely collected by Reinke. A Freund "medium long" throw was headed on by Iversen, and Sherwood hooked the ball into the goalie's arms.

Whilst the Germans were going down a little too easily, Spurs were giving away too many free kicks in dangerous areas, and Hristov put a good chance just wide after 10 minutes. A Ratinho shot, which was on target, was well blocked by Iversen. The Spurs contingent was in good voice, often drowning out the home support in the first half, and the signs looked good, as Spurs seemed to ride the early storm.

Walker made the first of his top class saves from a sharp Ratinho shot following a corner, resulting from Justin's struggle against Buck. Leonhardsen seemed to be unfairly held off the ball by Strasser, as he ventured into the opponents area, but the Spanish referee wanted none of it. In fairness, had this been a Premiership game, Justin could have been booked three times in the first half (!), but the ref showed a lot of restraint.

With 32 minutes gone, Iversen won a free kick on the right; Clemence took; and Iversen headed over, when he should at least have hit the target. Walker made another good save - this time from a Sforza shot, as the ball was passed back to him by Djorkaeff, with three defenders around him. Just before half time, Walker had to save at the feet of Buck.

For the first ten minutes of the second half, the pressure on Spurs was intense. Hristov headed wide when under pressure from Carr, and then Ian Walker had to make a good diving save from a Carr back-header, which so nearly embarrassed the Irish full back. This event proved to be an ominous foreboding of what was to come.

Spurs did manage to ease the pressure, and their first attack of the half was led by Leonhardsen, who passed to Carr, whose cross to Iversen was resisted by a strong tackle. Armstrong won a free kick near the right touch line, and from a subsequent corner the ball fell to Iversen with time to measure a shot. He snatched at the chance, which went woefully wide of the mark.

The game was opening out now, as Kaiserslautern came forward in droves, determined to get something out of the game. Marschall headed a free kick over the bar, and at the other end, Leo found Armstrong whose first touch let him down badly, when he might have scored. Even Sol Campbell was starting to suffer, as one weakish header fell to Strasser, who shot well wide. Walker was then in action again, at the feet of the advancing Marschall. A poor back header by Sol gave Djorkaeff a scoring chance, but luckily for Spurs the ball crashed against the woodwork. With fifteen minutes left, it looked as if Spurs were going to hold out.

There was scramble in the goalmouth, as Perry crouched to clear from Djorkaeff, and then substitute Pettersen got a weak header on target. Ginola came on for the last ten minutes, but there will be debate over whether Spurs showed too much adventure in these latter stages, as too many midfielders were caught in forward positions at those oh so crucial times to come. Ginola got a shot on target with just a minute left, but Kaiserslautern broke quickly. In no time Djorkaeff was bursting into the box, and his pass found Buck, just onside, on the right, whose low cross shot beat Walker.

It looked as if the game would have to go into extra time, and one still fancied Spurs chances, with one sub up their sleeves, and a fresh Ginola on the field, but almost immediately, Spurs were to suffer as Bayern Munich did at the hands of Manchester United in Barcelona, when Sherwood lost out to Djorkaeff, who passed to Buck in almost the same position. His cross/shot may have gone wide, but Pettersen was looming, and Carr was obliged to try and clear, but tragically he put the ball into the empty net.

Spurs' morale has been deeply sapped by the events of this evening, and with Nielsen also failing a fitness test in training, the injury situation is not going to help their chances against Arsenal on Sunday.

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