The draw for the first knock-out stage of the Europa League which was made by UEFA in Nyon, Switzerland has paired Tottenham with Lyon who qualified for the Round of 32 as winners of Group I in the Europa League. They were undefeated, dropping only two points in a group which included Sparta Prague and Athletico Bilbao. As runners-up in Group J, Tottenham knew that their potential opponents would be either one of the top four teams to drop down from the Champions League or the winner of one of the Europa League groups. They could not, however, be drawn against Lazio, Chelsea or Liverpool.
The two clubs have met previously in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1967. Lyon defeated Spurs on the away goals rule, after Alan Mullery had been sent off in a tempestuous 1st Leg match in Lyon which was settled by a single goal. Spurs won 4 – 3 at home but it wasn’t enough to progress.
December, 1967 Bringing a one goal deficit from the ‘Battle of Lyon’ when Alan Mullery was sent off – Spurs were hoping to gain revenge by progressing to the next round. However, with various injuries in defence, defensive mistakes were to prove costly and this became a pointless victory as Spurs lost the tie on the away goals rule. Two Jimmy Greaves goals (1 pen) had Spurs ahead at half-time. Lyon scored early in the second half and suddenly the away goal meant that Spurs had to win by two goals. A minute later Jones scored to restore Spurs’ overall lead but when Lyon scored five minutes later, they were ahead on aggregate. After 70 minutes Gilzean restored Spurs’ ascendancy but with ten minutes left, Lyon scored to win on the away goal rule. A night of much excitement but also great disappointment.
This tie will also give Hugo Lloris the opportunity to renew acquaintances with his former team.
The ties will be played on Thursday, 14th February and 21st February. Having finished second in their group, Tottenham will be at home in the first leg.
Round of 16
Tottenham were unseeded in the Round of 32 as Group runners-up but there was no seeding for the Round of 16 which was also made. The winners of the Tottenham/Lyon tie will face the winners of the Inter Milan/CFR Cluj (Romania) tie with the matches to be played on 7th and 14th March. If Spurs were to progress to that Round, they would be at home in the first match.
The other English teams have the following matches as the 1st leg on 14th February:
Sparta Prague v Chelsea (Round of 16 opponents: Ajax or Steaua Bucharest)
Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia) v Liverpool (Round of 16 opponents: Basel or Dnipro)
Newcastle United v Metalist (Ukr) (Round of 16 opponents: Anji or Hannover)