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Spurs v AEL Limassol, 28.08.14

(Spurs win 5-1 on aggregate)

Spurs scorers:-
Kane, 45
Paulinho, 49
Townsend (pen), 65

Attendance:- 29,976

Referee:- Mr. Miroslav Zelinka
Assistants:- Mr. Ondrej Pelikan & Mr. Antonin Kordula
Fourth official:- Mr. Emanuel Marek
All officials from Czech Republic

Spurs (4-1-2-3):- Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul (Capt.), Chiriches (sub Veljkovic, 85), Davies; Sandro (sub Holtby, 76); Paulinho, Dembele; Townsend, Kane, Lennon

Subs not used:- Friedel; Dier, Rose; Chadli; Adebayor

Booked:- Townsend (foul)

AEL Limassol (4-2-3-1):- Fegrouch (sub Pulpo Romero, 13); Carlitos (Soares Tavares), Cadu, Sielis, Edmar; Guidileye, Nikolaou (Capt.) (sub Danielzinho, 46); Sardinero (sub Tagbajumi, 80), Diego Barcelos, Bebe; Gikiewicz

Subs not used:- Espana, Carlitos (Tavares De Olivera), Eleftheriou, Nadeau

Booked:- Fegrouch (foul on Naughton), Bebe(foul)

b>So cosy at The Lane

Spurs sailed through the second leg of this Europa League fourth round qualifying match, and into the Group stage of the competition. The draw will take place today (Friday 29th August, 2014).

When you consider that only two of tonight's starting line-up ( Lloris and Kaboul) started Sunday's game against QPR, and that the same two players are probably the only likely starters against Liverpool, it is quite a strong second team we have!

It was encouraging to see players such as Chiriches, Sandro, Townsend and Paulinho, (all of whom have been suggested by the press as possible departures) start this game. Vlad Chiriches, who had a competent game was replaced late by Veljkovic, and received generous applause from the Spurs crowd. Sandro had been replaced by Holtby, and of course was given a great ovation.

There was a colourful and decent band of away supporters in the lower south-west stand. Many of them had been gathering opposite the "Bell & Hare" as early as 5pm. Perhaps they hadn't all come from London at all.

Sadly, the loyalty of those away fans was not rewarded with much in the way of threat from their team, which lined up in a now traditional 4-2-3-1 formation.

The Spurs formation looked a little different to me, with Sandro in front of the defence, but behind Paulinho and Dembele, ahead of whom were Townsend, Kane and the busy Aaron Lennon.

Spurs sought to play good passing football from the outset, and within three minutes, Kane spread the play to Naughton on the right. Sadly, Naughton lost the ball, and AEL won a throw. Within two minutes though, Naughton had been brought down just inside the goalkeeper's left hand side of the box by the advancing Fegrouch, who a) conceded a penalty and b) suffered a nasty head injury in the process.

There was a considerable delay (6 or 7 minutes) whilst Fegrouch received treatment; was carried off and booked; and was replaced by Pulpo Romero. The substitute goalkeeper's first touch was to save Harry Kane's penalty, which was more or less fired straight at him.

Soon after, Kane combined well with Paulinho, passing to his left to the Brazilian, whose shot was saved. Following a Spurs throw on their left flank, the ball was moved to the right to Townsend, who passed inside to Ben Davies, who hit a decent shot from just inside the box, which was saved.

A nice move involving Ben Davies and Paulinho culminated in Dembele forging a chance for himself, with a right foot shot which passed wide. Harry Kane received a cross from the right, and had a good chance to score, but fired over. Paulinho spread the play to Naughton on the right, who passed inside to Townsend, but he too was well off target with a left footed shot.

Lennon had a shot go just outside the keeper's right post, after he received from the left. Shortly after that, Lennon led a move with a ball that was spread again to Naughton. Paulinho fed Townsend, who was again off target.

Just before the break though, Spurs took a deserved lead, after Paulinho won a loose ball in the middle, before teeing up Kane, who shot low past the keeper. This was in the 45th minute, after which we had seven minutes of added time.

After the break, our Brazilian duo of Sandro and Paulinho combined, advancing into the AEL half, in front of the Paxton Road stand. Sandro offered the pass. Paulinho hit his shot wide of the far post from the right channel.

Shortly after that, for some reason Chiriches was inside the AEL area, and it didn't even follow a corner. Anyway, he provided the final pass to Paulinho, who was inside the box on the right, beating the keeper with a finely placed right foot shot to the far post. The game was now surely won.

However, Lloris did have to make decent save, diving a little to his left to cleanly, hold a good shot by Gikiewicz. That was the only effort on goal by the visitors that I can recall.

After a great winning tackle by Sandro, Spurs had a good chance when Paulihno advanced. His effort was blocked and rebounded to Lennon who tried a neat chip, but that was put out for a corner. After the corner, Kane had a chance from a tight angle, which was saved.

Spurs scored a third goal, after AEL conceded a quite needless penalty with a handball from Naughton's ball. This time, Townsend took on penalty-taking duties, and confidently slotted the ball inside the keeper's left post.

Paulinho had a good shot saved after some good passing football by Spurs, and a final pass by Lennon. There were further efforts from Davies, and Harry Kane. This last attempt also came from a tight angle, after Paulinho's overhead kick.

By this time, AEL had more or less given up the ghost, bearing in mind the 5-1 aggregate deficit. They can concentrate on their league programme, whilst Spurs march confidently into the group stage.

It's been a great start to Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs career, with four matches played, and won, with 10 goals scored and only 1 conceded. Add to that the early bonus of being top of the Premier a League, and Daniel Levy could hardly ask for more.

Let's hope that the positivity is maintained on Sunday against Liverpool!

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