Tottenham v Limassol: Europa League Preview, Team News


Tottenham go into their 2nd leg Europa League Play-off Round match against AEL Limassol with a goal advantage from their 2 – 1 win in Cyprus. Spurs will be looking to complete the task and ensure qualification for the Group stages against a Limassol team who proved determined opponents.

Tottenham Hotspur v AEL Limassol (Europa League)
Date: Thursday, 28th August, 2014
Kick-off Time: 7.45pm (UK time)
Television: ITV4

Last week’s tie in Cyprus proved a testing time and it was only a virtuoso cameo performance from substitute Erik Lamela which brought Spurs the win. Trailing from the 15th minute, Limassol could have added to their advantage but the arrival of Lamela brought two goals inside 6 minutes for Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane, both crafted skilfully by the Argentine. With that lead Spurs will be hoping to rest some of their top players in readiness for Sunday’s game against Liverpool, while ensuring their progress to the Group stages.

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At the Lane

Tottenham have only once before met a Cypriot team in a European competition at White Hart Lane. In the UEFA Cup of 2007-08 they played Anorthosis Famagusta in the 1st Round. Spurs won 6 – 1 in the 1st leg match and drew the return in Cyprus 1 – 1.

Spurs goals were scored by Jermain Defoe (2), Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul, Robbie Keane and Darren Bent.

Team: Cerny; Chimbonda, Assou-Ekotto (Bale), Zokora, Kaboul, Dawson, Lennon, Huddlestone, Bent, Keane (Defoe), Malbranque (Taarabt)

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Kaboul headed Spurs into the lead after 5 minutes and three goals in 5 minutes before the interval from Dawson, Keane and Bent ensured the win.

In the second half, substitute Defoe added two more. He came on in the 63rd minute and within two minutes had scored. Famagusta scored a consolation goal with 9 minutes remaining only for Defoe to add the sixth in the final minute.

AEL Limassol

Last week Limossal demonstrated how they had caused a shock against Andre Villas-Boas’ Zenit St. Petersburg winning by a single goal at home. They played with a desire and eagerness last week which Spurs struggled to cope with and it was only in the final minutes that Tottenham managed to press their superiority on the game. In Russia, Limassol lost 3 – 0 but it was only late in the second half that the home side took control. They drew level on aggregate in the 55th minute and two goals in the last 2 minutes secured the win, the third coming from a penalty.

Limassol will have been encouraged by their display in Cyprus last Thursday and will be looking to start as they did in that game and hope to erase the goal advantage early on.

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham will want to make a good start and remove any hopes that Limassol may have of making a comeback in the tie. Spurs have qualified for the Group stages of their European competition in every season they’ve played in Europe since 2006-07. Mauricio Pochettino with his positive start to the season will want  to keep up the momentum and maintain that record.

Team News

Kyle Walker is still out with injury and Roberto Soldado will not be included in the squad due to back and neck injuries. Michel Vorm is not available as he wasn’t registered for this round of the Europa League. Vlad Chiriches is in the squad for the first time this season. With Soldado’s absence, Harry Kane might be given the role as lone striker. In the first game the England Under-21 international was the one Spurs player who caused Limassol problems in the first hour of the game.

He is in my plans

At the pre-match press conference Pochettino insisted the both Soldado and Andros Townsend who is in the squad, are part of his plans at White Hart Lane, according to a report in the London Evening Standard, of both players, he said, “He’s in my plans”.

Players who have had limited opportunities to play this season could be included in the team but whatever team Pochettino selects, with appropriate application,  it should be good enough to ensure qualification for the next stage of the Europa League.