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Spurs v Zimbru Chisinau, 16.09.1999

U.E.F.A CUP 1ST RD. 1ST LEG
THURSDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER, 1999
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (2) - FC ZIMBRU CHISINAU 0(0)

Spurs scorers:-
Leonhardsen, 3
Perry, 31
Sherwood, 55

Referee:- E. Zammit

Attendance:- 32,660

No bookings !

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC

Starting Line-up:

Walker; Carr,Perry,Young,Taricco (sub Edinburgh, 82 ); Leonardsen,Freund,Sherwood,Ginola,Iversen,Armstrong ( sub Dominguez, 76 ).

Subs:- Baardsen; Fox,Edinburgh,Dominguez,Nielsen,Clemence,King

FC ZIMBRU CHISINAU

Starting Lineup:

Romanenco; Telesnenco, Catinsus, Ghilazev, Kulyk,Oprea, Miterev ( sub Gavriliuc, 82 ), Epureanu, Dodul ( sub Robu, 46 ), Borets, Tropanet ( sub Fistican, 46 ).

Subs:- Fistican, Butelischi, Gusila, Robu, Berco, Gavriliuc, Diaconu.

SPORTING LIFE REPORT

George Graham's warning to beware of the unknown proved to be a little over cautious as Spurs built a three-goal cushion to take into the second leg of this tie.

The Tottenham manager had promised his team would pay due respect to the Moldovan part-timers who narrowly missed out on a place in the European Champions' League this season.

But goals from Oyvind Leonhardsen and Chris Perry inside the first 31 minutes, and another from skipper Tim Sherwood 11 minutes after the break, ensured the second leg in Chisinau in a fortnight should be a formality.

Zimbru came to White Hart Lane with a good pedigree, on paper at least. They reached the final qualifying hurdle for the Champions' League before losing to PSV Eindhoven who scored two goals in the last 10 minutes.

In the eight years the Moldovan league has been in existence, Zimbru have won it seven times, and they have lost just two games in the last two league seasons.

But any team managed by Graham is no easy touch and Spurs tore into their opponents from the first whistle in a bid to overwhelm them - a tactic which paid dividends after just three minutes.

Graham had urged the fans before the game to be patient in case the early goal they hoped for failed to arrive. But he needn't have worried, and but for some heroics from the Zimbru goalkeeper Spurs would have won by a far greater margin.

The opening goal came when Steffen Iversen was held back a few yards outside the area and showed lightning thinking by quickly tapping the free-kick to his fellow Norwegian Leonhardsen.

The lively midfield terrier darted into the Zimbru box and rammed the ball beyond the bewildered goalkeeper into the roof of the net for his third goal of the season.

Spurs smelled blood and laid siege to the Zimbru goal - and were unlucky to see a 12th minute header from Iversen ruled out for a foul on the goalkeeper.

David Ginola was felled on the edge of the box by Andrei Telesnenco and from the free kick the Frenchman saw his shot deflected off the wall and behind for a corner.

Ginola tapped it short to Leonhardsen and his deep cross was headed home powerfully by Iversen at the far post. But the goal did not stand as Chris Armstrong had impeded the goalkeeper as he came out to meet the cross.

Iversen went close with another header after 19 minutes, this time steering the ball over the bar from Sherwood's free-kick. But the fans had to wait only until the 31st minute before Spurs doubled their lead. This time Leonhardsen swung in a free kick from the right flank and Perry rose at the far post to score with a well-placed header. It was the second goal of the season for the little centre half since his 4million summer move from Wimbledon, and came just four days after his header in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Bradford.

You felt at this point that the job had more or less been done, and the fans sat back and waited for more goals to fly in. After all, Spurs had lost just one European tie out of 47 at White Hart Lane in their impressive European history - 1-0 against Real Madrid in the quarter- finals of this competition in 1985.

But Spurs also sat back and their only other efforts were and Armstrong shot and headers from Sherwood and Iversen, all of which were saved by goalkeeper Denis Romanenco.

There was even a hint of danger from Zimbru as Rusian Ghilazev and Boris Tropanet both flashed 20-yard efforts just wide of Ian Walker's goal. The Moldovan players are reportedly on just 40 a week and they were made to work hard for their money as they battled to keep the score down in the second half.

Steffen Freund and Ginola both had shots saved within the first eight minutes of the re-start, before Sherwood grabbed his fourth goal of the season after 56 minutes.

Ginola's deep corner from the left was knocked back across the face of the goal by Perry and Sherwood was on hand to sweep the ball in from five yards.

With victory safe, Graham took the opportunity to rotate his players. Les Ferdinand was missing after failing to shake of an ankle injury and his replacement Armstrong was rested after 76 minutes in favour of Jose Dominguez. Justin Edinburgh was also given a run-out for the last eight minutes in place of Mauricio Taricco.

Only the goalkeeper prevented Spurs adding to their score as he saved well from Stephen Carr and Sherwood. As well as asking for patience, Graham had instructed his players to be positive, and he can have few complaints as to the way they went about their task.

Leonhardsen ran himself into the ground, Armstrong and Iversen were a constant threat, and there were the customary flashes of genius from Ginola.

The only disappointment was that Spurs didn't score even more goals from the numerous chances they carved out - but a place in the second round looks a sure bet.

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