Tottenham And Partizan Belgrade Goalless In Europa League


Tottenham won a hard-earned point in their opening Europa League game against Partizan Belgrade with a scoreless draw in Serbia.

Partizan Belgrade 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0

Team: Lloris; Naughton, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies; Bentaleb, Stambouli (Capoue); Lennon, Paulinho (Soldado), Townsend (Lamela); Kane  Subs: (unused) Vorm, Chiriches, Dier, Eriksen

Only Hugo Lloris was retained in the Tottenham team from last weekend’s side as Spurs faced Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League. He captained the side which had Federico Fazio making his Spurs debut in central defence alongside Jan Vertonghen with Benji Stambouli starting his first match after a substitute appearance on Saturday.

In a competitive match played in a lively atmosphere in Belgrade, Tottenham could have been ahead within the first minute. Harry Kane won an early corner and when Vertonghen flicked on Ben Davies corner, Kane crashed a shot against the bar.

Tottenham worked hard to retain possession and to win the ball back when they lost it. This kept Partizan back in their own half but the home side showed they could be dangerous on a number of occasions with a quick break forward, especially on their right with the ball played behind Davies. When Partizan got the ball forward Fazio and Vertonghen proved a solid barrier. Fazio headed clear from a dangerous free-kick in the 2nd minute when Lloris was unsure about coming to claim the ball and later he blocked a shot when the ball was pulled back to the edge of the Spurs area.

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Fazio impressed in his early contribution using his height and pace but an error from a long throw almost proved costly. He tried to get ahead of his man but misjudged the flight of the ball. Lloris made an important save and Nabil Bentaleb cleared the danger to save the defender’s blushes.

Spurs were positive in controlling possession in a game played at a good tempo but without troubling the Partizan goalkeeper. Paulinho and Townsend had shots blocked as Spurs pushed forward on a pitch which was very uneven. Townsend played Naughton behind the defence but his cross was just too high for Kane after 22 minutes.

Partizan were constantly looking for the quick break and in the final minute of the half Spurs won a corner after good play by Paulinho and Kane but when the goalkeeper caught the cross, he set up Partizan for a quick attack but Lloris dived low to save the shot.

Half-time: Partizan Belgrade 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0

Partizan started the second half in a positive manner and Spurs were forced back, having to defend much more than they had done before the interval. Just like Spurs, Partizan rarely tested the goalkeeper and when Fazio got back to block an early chance the shot was gathered comfortably by Lloris.

The Partizan pressure lifted the home fans and the atmosphere intensified but Spurs battled away undeterred to keep their goal in tact. After 15 minutes of the half, Mauricio Pochettino introduced Erik Lamela and Roberto Soldado and this helped to break the home side’s control of the game. Lamela put a ball wide for Soldado but his cross just evaded Kane in the centre. Then a good cross from Stambouli to the far post was knocked out by Soldado.

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Both sides worked hard to deny the other space but Spurs had to be solid defensively as Partizan looked for a late goal with Ilic shooting over and putting a header over Lloris’ bar.

Neither side deserved to win and Tottenham can be satisfied with a point in their opening game in what is bound to be a tight Europa League group.

  • Next up West Bromwich Albion on Sunday at White Hart Lane in the Premier League.