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Zimbru Chisinau v Spurs, 30.09.1999

U.E.F.A. CUP 1ST RD 2ND LEG
THURSDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER, 1999
FC ZIMBRU CHISINAU 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)

Referee:- G. Kaznaferis ( Greece )

Attendance:- 7,000

Teams:-

Zimbru ( 4-4-2 ):- Romanenco; Oprea (cap), Catinsu, Telesnenco, Epureanu ( sub Robu, 87 ); Tropanets, Berco ( sub Gusula, 84 ), Dodul ( sub Kulic, 75 ), Boret; Gilasev, Miteru ( NB Team formation recorded to the best of my ability )

Booked:- Tropanets, Oprea

Spurs ( 4-4-2 ):- Walker; Carr, Perry (cap ), Young, Taricco ( sub Edinburgh, 86 ); Nielsen, Clemence, Freund, Leonhardsen; Armstrong ( sub Dominguez, 76 ), Iversen

Subs not used :- Baardsen; King; Gower, Fox; McVeigh

No bookings

George Graham decided not to risk David Ginola, and opted for safety, rather than flair, when he packed the midfield with the more defensively inclined Clemence, Freund, and Nielsen, leaving Fox and Dominguez on the bench. It's not that Spurs didn't try to score an away goal, as they started the brightest, but, as the game wore on, the tactics were clearly for consolidation, rather than risk. Zimbru played more like an away team for much of the time, as they had plenty in defence, but there were times when they put Spurs under a little pressure, but never more than the visitors could withstand. Chris Perry was captain for the night, and nearly scored in the first half with an overhead kick to put the icing on the cake. Perry's was the first chance of the game, after a Freund throw in from the right, but his effort was cleared off the line.

Leonhardsen started on the left tonight, as Iversen supported Carr's forays on the right, with Nielsen also tending towards that side of the field. The Wimbledon game last Sunday must have been pretty good preparation for this match, as, once again, the surface left plenty to be desired. After Perry's effort, Leonhardsen advanced from the left, and passed to Nielsen, who in turn set up Iversen for a shot, which was blocked in the area. Leo was then to pierce the defence with a great through ball for Iversen to pass back to Taricco, who shot into the goalie's hands. It looked as if a goal was inevitable with Spurs making good attacks from every angle in these early stages. Taricco and Carr featured prominently, and Taricco made a good run; had a one-two with Armstrong, and enabled a headed chance for Iversen.

Zimbru showed they could play a bit, as they made several good build ups, but their first threat came after 27 minutes, when Ian Walker did well to hold a powerful low right field cross, which would have been tapped in otherwise. Shortly, Carr was passing to Iversen, who bobbled a shot through to the goalkeeper, who was unable to hold the ball. Armstrong, following up, was similarly unable to reach the loose ball.

Allan Nielsen had a couple of good shots, but at the other end, Walker was called into action to save from Dodul. Just before half time, Freund, Clemence, and Nielsen conspired over a free kick, for Carr to fire well wide of the mark.

Spurs started the second half brightly, with Nielsen sharing quick passes with Armstrong, and Iversen, before his shot was stopped. Nielsen was to find himself in a scoring position very soon after, but he took too much time over the ball. Zimbru gained confidence, and Tropanets, after getting a booking had a good run, and a shot which Walker had to push round for a corner.

The chances for Spurs became rarer, but Iversen had one long range effort from the right side of goal, which went just wide. Leonhardsen was blocked on the edge of the area, and Stephen Clemence hit a strong free kick, but it was blocked before reaching the goal. The game rapidly fizzled out as a spectacle, and Zimbru had the best chance to score just before the end, after Dominguez lost the ball in the middle, and the build up led to Gosula receiving a clever chipped pass behind the Spurs defence. Walker was beaten, but Chris Perry cleared the shot off the line.

So, we go forward to Round Two, and look forward to tomorrow's draw. I also look forward to hearing about the exploits of those who made the trip, and were part of the 500 strong vocal Spurs support.

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