NEC Nijmegen (Holland) (Away)
UEFA Cup - Group D

Thursday 27th November 2008


NEC Nijmegen are not one of the more fashionable sides in Holland, but are establishing a reputation for being a close knit unit which snuck into a European qualifying place in the final table of the Eredivisie.

Without many star names, the team are prepared to work hard, blended with a technical ability that is typical of Dutch sides, with some good young players being integrated into the side too.

The midfielder Lorenzo Davids is the nephew of former Spurs midfielder Edgar and will no doubt be out to emulate his family's more illustrious member.  Up front, there is Tim Janssen, who starred in the Holland under-21 side that won the European championships in 2006 and is a dangerous striker.  He might be paired up front with a familiar face to Tottenham fans from the Premier League, as Collins John could feature, as he is at NEC on loan from Fulham, but has not been a regular in the side.

Heurelho Gomes has said on the Spurs site that he expects them to play a 4-3-3 formation, which might prompt Harry to try a 4-4-2 system, with Campbell and Bent up front with his options a little limited with cup-tied and injured players.  Hopefully, with Bale on the left and Lennon on the right, it might be possible to get around them on the flanks, but our defence might be well shuffled with King and Woodgate both in need of a rest, so Dawson could partner Zokora in the middle of the back four.

With the need to keep confidence high, the team will be looking to win the match, as much for the reason that we do not want to get drawn against a team dropping out of the Champions League in the next of the knock-out stages.

While it might be a clunky performance with so many changes, I think Tottenham might just shade it ...

PREDICTION : -  NEC Nijmegen  1   Tottenham Hotspur   2


NEC NIJMEGEN :  - (-); - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Giovani Dos Santos (ankle); Vedran Corluka (cup-tied); Alan Hutton (foot); Roman Pavlyuchenko (cup-tied); Luka Modric (groin); - (-); 


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South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
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North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

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click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




NEC Nijmegen   0   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 0-1)

UEFA Cup Group D
Venue : -  McDOS Goffertstadion
Thursday 27th November 2008
Kick Off :  6.00 p.m.
Crowd :   12,500
Referee :  Cesar Muniz Fernandez (Spain)
Weather :  -  Cold, dry
Teams : - 
NEC Nijmegen :

  1  Babos

21  Dani Fernandez (22 Tshibamba 81)
  3  Wisgerhof
  2  Zomer
  5  El Akchaoui

16  Sibum (14  Bouaouzan 65)
  8  Davids     
23  Radomski  (  4  Livuvu  46)

10  Schone
  9  van Beukering
35  El-Kabir

Unused subs: 
25  Baart
  6  Pothuizen
13  Otten
19  Janssen

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

16  Gunter
39  Woodgate (c)
20  Dawson
  3  Bale

  5  Bentley  (77  Mason 90)
  4  Zokora
  6  Huddlestone
24  O'Hara 

18  Campbell  (80  Obika 84)
10  Bent  (  7  Lennon 71)

Unused subs: 
21  Sanchez
32  Assou-Ekotto
67  Adam Smith
51  Bostock

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
NEC Nijmegen

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
NEC Nijmegen


Tottenham Hotspur

O'Hara 14

Cards : -  
NEC Nijmegen

Davids 79   


Tottenham Hotspur 



Match Report : -  
A single Jamie O'Hara goal was enough to see Spurs through to their second group win in their UEFA Cup campaign against a Nijmegen side lacking a threat in the last third.

The trip to Holland also gave Harry Redknapp the opportunity to rest some senior players and to blood a couple of Academy players, while taking more into the squad to give them the experience of being in the set-up.

The opneing ten minutes was slightly scrappy, with the pitch hardening under-foot thanks to the failure of the under-soil heating.  With the Nijmegen number 9 hitting O'Hara late inside the first minute and then hitting the deck at every occasion a Tottenham player came within breathing distance of him, it looked set for a disjointed game, with the referee having to intervene far too often. 

The goal was the first decent bit of play from either side, with Bentley playing Bale away down the left wing and the Welshman's cross was low into the near post where Fraizer Campbell got in ahead of his marker.  As he stuck out a leg, the ball was guided up past the keeper, but bounced back down off the crossbar.  It was lucky for Tottenham that Jamie O'Hara was following up to charge in and get his head to the ball before anyone could react, giving him the advantage to head into the net.

An early lead was just what Tottenham needed and allowed the team to settle down and knock the ball about more confidently.  However, Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes was on his toes to beat away a shot from El-Kabir, who spin and hit a hard shot that the Brazilian pushed out in front of goal, but he didn't have a lot of option, making the reflex stop and being helped out by Chris Gunter, who got to the loose ball first to kick clear. 

Restored to the side, Didier Zokora had a solid game, getting in the way and running with the ball to draw fouls when Spurs needed a break.  He also got to a loose ball around the penalty area and put in a dinked cross to Campbell, but he could not direct his header away from goalkeeper Babos.  Halfway through the half, O'Hara tried his luck from outside the box, but this time his effort went too high.  Ten minutes before the half-time whistle, Nijmegen created an opening for van Beukering after a Schone dummy, but the centre forward missed the target.  The same player tried a volley, but it was too high for him to hit accurately and it lofted over the top just four minutes before the break and then with the 45 minute mark approaching, Hud chipped into Campbell's chest and the loan man laid it off to O'Hara, whose shot from out of the area was saved and Bentley picked the rebound up and dinked a ball to the far post, but it was just too far beyond Campbell to get to.

With Bentley pushed a little wider instead of heading a supposed diamond that was not so shining in the first half, the midfielder fired in a shot from outside the area and it swerved away from goal rather than towards it, just missing the angle of post and bar.  Then Bentley put in a cross that saw Darren Bent dive in ahead of his marker to test Babos, who rose to push the effort over the top.

Gomes was largely untested in the second half, having the luxury of taking crosses without pressure and anything that came his way was safely handled.  It can only boost his confidence, especially as it appears Tony Parks has got him shouting at his defence about when he is coming for the ball.  He came and took a through ball before El-Kabir got to it and Woodgate made a finely times tackle on the same player as he broke into the penalty area and in on goal.  At the other end, O'Hara fired in another low shot that the Nijmegen keeper held onto well.

It was good to see Gareth Bale marauding down the left and his ball into Fraizer Campbell was laid back for David Bentley to try to chip the keeper, but Babos stepped back to take it comfortably.  The closing few minutes saw Aaron Lennon's pace trouble the home defence and the introduction of Jonathan Obika and Ryan Mason gave them a taste of first team action.  It was only Lennon's dipping effort from 25 yards that forced Babos to dive to take the shot that gave Nijmegen anything to worry about in last few minutes, while a loose ball dropping in the Spurs box was lashed goal-wards by Tshibamba, but it flew wide and soon enough, the Spanish ref, who had a pretty good game using his common sense to let the game flow as much as he could, had blown to give Spurs their second win and six points.

A result against Spartak Moscow at home will see Tottenham through to the group stages in one of the top two places hopefully.  Suddenly things look more rosy than a few weeks ago, but there is still a long way to go before anything serious is achieved.  At the moment, another 1-0 win, with the back line looking secure is enough to bring a smile of approval to a Spurs fan's face just now.





Reaction : -







Other scores this round of matches :
Group A
Schalke 06 (GER) 0 Manchester City 2 Thursday
Paris St. Germain (FRA) 2 Racing Santander (SPA) 2 Thursday
Group B
Galatasary (TUR) 0 Metalist (RUS) 1 Thursday
Olympiakos (GRE) 5 Benfica (POR) 1 Thursday
Group C
Sampdoria (ITA) 1 Stuttgart (GER) 1 Thursday
Partizan Belgrade (CRO) 0 Standard Liege (BEL) 1 Thursday
Group D
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 0 Spartak Moscow (RUS) 1 Thursday
Group E
Portsmouth 2 AC Milan (ITA) 2 Thursday
Sporting Braga (POR) - Wolfsburg (GER) - Thursday
Group F
Zilinia (SLO) 0 Slavia Prague (CZE) 0 Thursday
Hamburg SV (GER) 0 Ajax (HOL) 1 Thursday
Group G
Rosenborg (NOR) 0 Valencia (SPA) 4 Thursday
Club Brugge (BEL) 1 St. Etienne (FRA) 1 Thursday
Group H
CSKA Moscow (RUS) 2 Lech Poznan (POL) 1 Thursday
Deportivo La Coruna (SpA) 3 Feyenoord (HOL) 0 Thursday



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