OPPONENTS Dinamo Tbilisi (Georgia)
DATE Thursday 29th August 2013
VENUE White Hart Lane






With the transfer window having but a few days left before it closes to keep the chill wind of player movements out of the corridors of football clubs all over the world (well, most of it anyway), the interest at this game may well be off the pitch.

Gareth Bale will not be appearing by special request of Real Madrid, who have been ensuring he stays fit with his foot injury, but his departure might signal a new hero at the Lane, with Erik Lamela and Vlad Chiriches may be unveiled to the crowd if their signings are completed in time.

On the pitch, all the hard work was done seven days ago in Georgia, with a 5-0 away score-line that means the second should (and I repeat ... should) be a straightforward matter.  With a game on Sunday, Andre Villas-Boas will most probably rest a number of first team players, fielding a side that had a mix of youth and experience, with the latter coming from players who need 90 minute sunder their belt, as they have not been first choice in the games played so far.  The likes of Sandro, Jermain Defoe, Lewis Holtby and Brad Friedel could start, along with Zeki Fryers, Andros Townsend, Tom Carroll, Kyle Naughton and Harry Kane playing too.

With the Dinamo side, I am not much wiser about them than before the first leg, when I knew little of them.  Dvali looks as if he could be dangerous in the box, as he likes to try and get shots in on goal, with Grigbashvili and Merebashvili both strong runners with the ball from deep.  The rest of the side, failed to impress much, especially the goalkeeper Llorin, who might be busy picking the ball out of the net if Spurs can get their shots on target, as he didn't look comfortable being tested.

With the side that Spurs will put out, it will not be as comprehensive a victory as the first leg, but Is till take Tottenham  to win by three to reach the group stages.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    3         Dinamo Tbilisi    0
Spurs will be without foot injury victims Gareth bale and Aaron Lennon, while Benoit Assou-Ekotto misses the game with a knee injury and Emmanuel Adebayor through not having been at training, as he has been attending his brother's funeral in Togo.

ITV 4 - 19:30 (live coverage)

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
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)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Tottenham Hotspur  3 (2)                                                                      Dinamo Tbilisi  0 (0)
Europa League Play-off Second leg
Thursday 29th August 2013                                                                                                            Kick off 20:05
White Hart Lane
Defoe 40
Defoe 45+2
Holtby 69
Sandro (foul on Goga)  16
Defoe (simulation) 90


Merebashvili (foul on Walker) 19


Crowd :   26,189 Weather :  Warm, dry
Referee :  Luca Banti (ITA) Assistant Referees :  Nicola Nicoletti (ITA); Alessandro Costanzo (ITA)
Fourth Official :  Marco Guida (ITA) -
UEFA Official Observer :  Balázs Makray (HUN) UEFA referee observer : Miroslav Tulinger (CZE)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Dinamo Tbilisi : kit
24  Brad FRIEDEL

  2  Kyle WALKER  (35  Zeki FRYERS 55)
  4  Younes KABOUL

30  SANDRO     

17  Andros TOWNSEND (32  Harry KANE 46)
14  Lewis HOLTBY  (19  Mousa DEMBELE 75)

18  Jermain DEFOE         

Unused subs: 
25  Hugo LLORIS
15  Etienne CAPOUE

  77  Giorgi LORIA

16  Dato KVERKVELIA (32  Darko GLISIC 34)

19  Elujia GRIGALASHVILI  (  7   Giorgi SETURIDZE 86)
88  Irakli DZARIA
10  Giorgi MEREBASHVILI (  5  Davit KHOCHOLOVA 78)

  Dorin GOGA

Unused subs: 
25  Tornike ZARKUA
15  Giorgi PAPAVA
  9  Jaba DVALI

Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas Manager :  Dusan Uhrin Jr.
Sponsor :   Hewlett Packard Shirt sponsor :  None
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Spurs eased through 3-0 against Dinamo Tbilisi in what was nothing more than a formality in this play-off second leg at White Hart Lane after winning 5-0 away.

The former Russian side certainly failed to live up to that name, as they barely broke sweat getting forward, with only a couple of shots early after the second half started to write home about. It might have been the effects of the heat in London on a warm August evening, with a few of their players seemingly swooning to the floor with nobody else around them. It happened in the build up to Defoe's first goal and then later, when the referee waved play on, indicating that the ball should not be out out of play. But then, he gave a yellow card late in the game to Jermain for diving in the box, when it should have been a clear penalty and an opportunity for the little forward to bag a hat-trick from the spot.
Anyway, back at 8 o'clock, the teams came out to a two thirds full stadium bare of the Europa League branding that normally adorns grounds for such matches. Spurs fielded a mix and match side, with a very strong bench just in case things went belly-up, but it was never likely to, as the players who came in for this game were still far too good for the Georgians.

Tom Carroll and Lewis Holtby both enjoyed themselves in midfield, with Carroll very active linking play and the German Under-21 was playing an advanced role behind Defoe and getting around the edge of the box to create chances and get shots on goal himself. Lewis' participation was to become crucial. Combined with Sandro (sporting a new blonde/ginger dyed beard) sitting in front of the back four and beasting the Dinamo players when they tried to break through, our midfield was very solid.

From the off, Tottenham were on the front foot. Walker played the ball to Andros Townsend and he thumped a shot way over the bar from outside the box. With Sandro winning tackles in the middle of the pitch, the visiting players could not get through, but the Brazilian got a booking when he got one wrong on Goga and you could hear the crack on the Tbilisi player's shin pad as Sandro made contact with his leg.

Spurs were getting their shots in on Lloria, as he was dodgy in the first leg and proved again in the first half here. Townsend hit a low shot a yard or two wide of the goal to the keeper's left and working the right wing, Walker was fouled by Merebashvili as he went forward, who was shown a yellow card for it. When the ball popped up in the air, Carroll struck a volley purposefully, but wide and then five minutes before half time, Spurs went into the lead. Sandro won yet another tackle in midfield, with the ball going to Sigurdsson, who fed Holtby just left of the D. Lewis switched feet quickly and laid a subtle ball to the right for Defoe, who powered it home left footed from 12 yards out after moving to the left of centre. Loria didn't move for the ball as it flew past him on his right side and a few minutes later, he was equally static as Spurs went 2-0 up right on half time.
Two minutes of added time had been played when Walker did well to bamboozle his marker with some fancy footwork and he played the ball inside the full back to get Gylfi into the box on the right side. He cut the ball back first time along the edge of the six yard box, where the keeper stayed rooted to his line and the incoming defenders failed to move to cut the ball out, allowing Jermain Defoe to stroll in between them to nudge the ball into the net from a couple of yards out. It was a well crafted goal, but one that the Tbilisi defence should not have conceded.

The half time interviewee was Martin Chivers, who regaled us with tales of the club's previous meeting with Dinamo Tbilisi in 1973. Meanwhile, out on the pitch, Etienne Capoue was showing he can be a dangerous player. He was doing two footed sliding tackles on Dembele at half-time as the subs warmed up and I feel he may not last the 90 if he played against Arsenal on Sunday.

When the second half began, Andros Townsend had made way for Harry Kane and Spurs went two up top. This opened it up a bit for the Dinamo team and a shot on target by Grigalashvili forced Brad Friedel, who had a quiet night up until then, to bend down to pick up the ball. Then a ball over the top found Vouho going through, but closing down by Kaboul forced him the Ivory Coast striker hurriedly shoot into the side-netting. Five minutes into the half, Spurs got a shot on target too, with Carroll hitting another volley when the ball went into the air, but it was straight at Loria.

Once more Holtby played Defoe in on goal and although he was at a narrow angle, his low shot had to be turned aside by the keeper at his near post. Defoe then became creator, when he set the ball back for Sigurdsson to curl a shot at goal that looked as though it might be heading for the top corner, but went the wrong side of the post as far as Spurs were concerned and hit the outside of the netting.

With just over half an hour left, AVB made an astute substitution, bringing on Zeki Fryers for his first team debut, with Kyle Walker going off to be rested. The tie had been effectively won and the opportunity to blood young players was being taken.

Tottenham continued to go forward, with Defoe going close to his third, with a low shot that fizzed past the post, Holtby skied a shot and then Gylfi smashed a shot against the underside of the bar from outside the box with the keeper stranded. Kane then curled a shot that Loria took reasonably comfortably, before a free-kick to Tbilisi was flicked on by Vouho, when a slightly heavier touch might have troubled Brad, rather than him watching the ball sail a yard wide of his left hand post.

In the 69th minute, Tottenham got their third goal and what a cracker it was. Defoe took the ball down the left hand side-line, playing it infield to Tom Carroll, who played it back into the path of Lewis Holtby. As he did in the Under-21 game at West ham on Friday, he sized up the shot and from 20 yards out, he hit a fierce shot that clipped the underside of the bar on it's way into the net. Initially looking stunned by his first goal in our colours, he then ran to the touchline in front of the West Stand and dived full length on his front to emulate Jurgen Klinsmann's celebration of his first goal for the club and did so in the same spot as Jurgen's second goal at home to Everton.

Kaboul enlivened the proceedings with a run up the right wing that literally saw Tbilisi players bouncing off him as he powered forward. His pass infield to Carroll saw the midfielder's shot blocked by a defender, but then little happened in the last twenty minutes, as the Georgians had given up and Spurs were happy to play little triangles and try to open Dinamo up with clever flicks and tricks. All that happened was Defoe went close with a shot and with three minutes left, Kane hit a shot with little back-lift that Loria did well to tip over the bar. Defoe's booking for diving in the last minute was a joke, but then, apart from the chance to add another goal to his two which took him to sixth in the all time scoring chart and a hat-trick, it didn't really affect the outcome.

The result was enough to seal a convincing victory over the two legs and Dinamo were not really a threat, so a fourth victory this season and a fourth clean sheet were more than welcome. The make-up of the team was important, as some of the players involved will need to be used again in this competition and to get a taste of it now will prepare them for the future.

Anyway, safely through, Spurs now have six group games ahead, with the draw tomorrow being eagerly anticipated to see who we get and how many matches regular first teamers will be required for.

Ainderby Quernhow


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What you thought
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-Other play-off scores :
Petrolul Ploiesti (ROM) 2 Swansea City (won 5-3 on agg.) 1 Thursday
Liberec (CZE) - Udinese (ITA) - Thursday
Zaligris (LIT) - Salzburg (AUS) - Thursday
Nice (FRA) - Appollon (CYP) - Thursday
Dynamo Kyiv (UKR) - Aktobe (KAZ) - Thursday
Real Betis (SPA) - Jablonec (CZE) - Thursday
Feyenoord (HOL) - Kuban (RUS) - Thursday
Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) - Qarabag (AZE) - Thursday
Astra (ROM) - Maccabi Haifa (ISR) - Thursday
AZ Alkmaar (HOL) - Atrimitros (GRE) - Thursday
Standard Liege (BEL) - FC Minsk (BLR) - Thursday
Spartak Moscow (RUS) - St. Gallen (SWI) - Thursday
Rubin Kazan (RUS) - Molde (NOR) - Thursday
St. Etienne (FRA) - Esjberg (DEN) - Thursday
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR) - Kalju (EST) - Thursday
Trabzonspor - Kukes (ALB) - Thursday
Genk (BEL) - FH Hafnarffjordur (ICE) - Thursday
Besiktas (TUR) - Tromso (NOR)   Thursday
Nordslaelland (DEN) - Elfsborg (SWE)   Thursday
Slask Wroclaw (POL) - Sevilla (SPA)   Thursday
Sporting Braga (POR) - Pandurii (ROM)   Thursday
PAOK (GRE) - Macabbi Tel Aviv (ISR)   Thursday
Skenderbeu (ALB) - Chernomorets Odesa (UKR)   Thursday
FC Thun  (SWI) - Partizan Belgrade (SER)   Thursday
VfB Stuttgart (GER) - Rijeka (CRO)   Thursday
Sherrif (MOL) - Vojvodina (SER)   Thursday
APOEL Nicosia (CYP) - Zulte Waregem (BEL)   Thursday
Fiorentina (ITA) - Grasshoppers  (SWI)   Thursday
Dila (GEO) - Rapid Wien (AUS)   Thursday
Pashing () - Estoril (POR)   Thursday
- - -   Thursday


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