Tottenham’s third Europa League match in Group K takes them to Moldova to play Champions, FC Sheriff. Spurs have played in Moldova on one previous occasion, in 1999 in the UEFA Cup under George Graham.
The Europa League draw this season has presented Tottenham with a number of extremely lengthy trips. The play-off round took them to Georgia (2591 miles) while the group stage matches have thrown up games in Russia (1782 mls), now to Tiraspol in Moldova (1669 mls) with a trip to Norway to Tromso which is almost 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle (2148 mls) in late November.
Spurs in Moldova
Tottenham’s first match against opposition from Moldova was in September, 1999 when they faced FC Zimbru at White Hart Lane in the 1st Round (1st leg) match in the UEFA Cup. Spurs had qualified as League Cup winners and George Graham’s team had a comfortable three goal advantage to take to Moldova for the 2nd leg a fortnight later.
30th September, 1999
v FC Zimbru (a) Draw 0 – 0
Chris Perry captained the Tottenham side as Spurs had been hit with injuries to Sol Campbell and Tim Sherwood but they were rarely troubled. They held their three goal advantage to progress to the next round and they would have added to their aggregate win with more accurate shooting. In the next round they would face Kaiserlautern of Germany.
Team: Walker, Carr, Taricco (Edinburgh); Freund, Young, Perry; Leonhardsen, Clemence, Armstrong (Dominguez), Iversen, Nielsen
We’ve Been There Before
The report of the game in The Glory Glory Nights by Martin Cloake and Adam Powley states that here were ‘around 500 Spurs fans in attendance‘. Some of those dedicated supporters may well be making a return visit to Moldova for tomorrow’s game along with a new generation of loyal Tottenham supporters.
Where you among that original group in Moldova?
Some of the current Tottenham staff have experience of playing in Moldova. Assistant Head Coach, Steffan Freund was in the Spurs team which played in 1999 and Jermain Defoe has scored for England in Moldova. In England’s opening World Cup qualifying game in September, 2012 Defoe scored England’s third goal in a comfortable 5 – 0 win. Kyle Walker was among the substitutes for that game but played against Moldova in the return game at Wembley in September. England won 4 – 0 with Defoe an unused substitute.
The most recent Moldova squad contained two players from FC Sheriff – midfielders, Serghei Gheorghiev and Alexandru Pașcenco.