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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Zimbru Chisinau, 16.09.1999

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This preview was written by Brian Judson

Our record in Europe :-

European Cup Pl W D L For-Ag
        Home 4  3 1 0  15-4 
        Away 4  1 0 3   3-13 
Total(European Cup)
             8  4 1 3  18-17
European Cup-Winners Cup
       Home 16 13 3 0  42-12 
       Away 16  6 2 8  18-21
Final     N  1  1 0 0   5-1
Total (European C-W C)
            33 20 5 8  65-34
       Home 27 21 5 1  81-13
       Away 27 11 8 8  50-27
Total (UEFA Cup)
            54 32 13 9 131-40
Total (European Cup)
             8  4  1 3 18-17
Total (European C-W C)
            33 20  5 8 65-34
Total (UEFA Cup)
            54 32 13 9 131-40
Grand Total
            95 56 19 20 214-91

Zimbru Chisinau are a Moldovian club. They achieved the League and Cup Double in 1998-99 and retained the League last season. In all, they have won 7 of the 8 championships competed since 1992. Moldova is a very small country and can only boast of 143 clubs as members of their national Football Association. A total of 75,000 players are registered with their Football Association.

Last season they competed in the European Cup. In the First Qualifying Round First Leg, they were home to Ujpest and won 1-0, thanks to a 10th minute penalty by Kulik. Ujpest won the Second Leg 3-1, thanks to goals by Niriuta (17), Kovacs (73, 90) with Kulyk grabbing a 28th minute equaliser. Both games were watched by 8,000 spectators at each match.

This season sees Tottenham's 13th venture into Europe. They have made 1 appearance in the European Cup, 6 in the now defunct European Cup Winners' Cup and 5 in the UEFA Cup. Tottenham were winners of the UEFA Cup in 1972 and 1984 and finalists in 1974. No one who saw the Final in 1984 will ever forget the dramatic circumstances surrounding that particular victory.

I thought I would devote this particular preview to sharing some memories of previous European matches in no particular order. I'm sure that some people will be disappointed that I do not highlight their particular favourite European tie.

When I wrote an article about Steve Perryman some time ago, I was asked why I omitted Perryman's two volleyed goals against A C Milan in April 1972. My explanation is that I think these were rather lucky goals. Perryman was not noted for accurate shooting unless he was in a situation where he could not miss (although Chris Armstrong probably would have done so!). Perryman's two goals against AC Milan were more likely hopeful potshots that luckily 'came off'. I am not denying they were dramatic goals which came at a fortunate moment for Tottenham, however.

Probably the most dramatic moment of all the European ties in _open_ play was the moment towards the end of our Semi-Final tie with Benfica in the European Cup in April 1962. We had lost the first leg, 1-3, in Lisbon, in circumstances that even today people who were there still cannot believe the evidence of their eyes. Spurs had goals disallowed for offside that simply do not stand up. The second leg was played out in front of a packed house. Spurs somehow managed to get the aggregate score back to 3-4 and needed to score again to force extra time. I remember at the height of the umpteenth raid on Benfica's goal, Mackay powered a header from quite a way out that eluded everyone .... and smacked against the crossbar! Half an inch lower and we would have forced extra time and who knows what would have happened then?

Another tie I remember is the second leg of our ECWC tie against Slovan Bratislava on our way to winning the ECWC in May 1963. We had lost the first leg of our Third Round tie 2-0. There had been some grumbles about the officials in that match from the press. But in the second leg there was never any doubt of the outcome. The crowd made so much noise before the teams even came out (no pre-match warm-ups in those days!) that I think they must have been beaten before they had even started. Certainly their goalkeeper was very nervous of Bobby Smith. We won 6-0 on a hideously muddy pitch that had been converted into a quagmire by days of rain before the tie was played.

No one who saw our home leg against Rapid Bucharest in December 1971 on our way to winning the UEFA Cup that season will ever forget it. Spurs were ahead after 90 seconds and never looked back as they ran out winners, 3-0. The goalkeeper claimed to have been fouled by Chivers as Chivers had scored. The referee waved his claims aside. Thereafter, the goalkeeper took little or no interest in the match at all, refusing to take goal kicks, play back passes or take any other interest in the match at all. Spurs should have run up a cricket score that night!

I have not, until now, missed many of the home games in European competition at Tottenham. One I deliberately missed was the home leg of the tie with Rangers. I am glad I missed that! A cousin of mine went to the match and was intimidated by the drunken Scots supporting Rangers. There were empty beer and scotch bottles everywhere.

One of the saddest nights in European competition was in 1984-85 when we were home to Real Madrid. Up to that night in March 1985 we had never lost at home but Steve Perryman unfortunately conceded an own goal and over the 180 minutes of the tie that was the goal that separated the two clubs.

Another equally sad night was the night, a couple of seasons earlier, when we were at home to Barcelona. We drew 1-1 that night, thanks to a Graham Roberts goal, but we shouldn't have conceded a goal at all. A huge blunder by the normally dependent Clemence allowed the ball to squirm out of his hands and bounce over the line into his goal.

Finally, our record victory in Europe was against Keflavik (Iceland). No doubt Bogi (Ed:- a former Spurs list member, who lives in Iceland) had the pleasure of seeing us win 6-1 in the away leg. If he was in the 11,000 crowd that night, he witnessed the one and only first team appearance of Graeme Souness in a Tottenham shirt. But the home leg saw us win 9-0. Over two matches, we scored 15 goals : Gilzean 5, Chivers 3, Mullery 2, Coates 2, Knowles, Perryman and Holder 1 each.

For those of you going tomorrow night, particularly those going for the first time, _please_ be patient! The opposition are bound to play defensively so it won't be easy for us to score. What we should aim for is to score at least once and to keep a clean sheet. In the second leg they will have to open up and that will provide us with the chance to counter attack. Over two legs, I am confident we can overcome Zimbru Chisinau _but_ we must be patient.

Cheers, Brian

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