OPPONENTS Olympiacos Pireaus at Karaiskakis Stadium
COMPETITION Champions League  Group B
DATE Wednesday 18th September 2019
PREVIEW No preview prepared.
PREDICTION Olympiacos Pireaus    1        Tottenham Hotspur    3
Spurs will be missing Danny Rose and Serge Aurier (rested), as well as Juan Foyth (ankle), Giovani lo Celso (hip) and Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring)

Defender Ruben Semedo returns having overcome a knee injury, but midfielders Kostas Fortounis and Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (both knee) miss out.


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Champions League  Group B Kick off 17:55 (UK time)
Olympiacos Pireaus  2 (1)  
Tottenham Hotspur  2 (2)

Podence  43m 44s
Valbuena (p)  53m 10s


Kane (p)  25m 35s
Moura  29m 53s

Crowd :   31,001 Weather :  Dry, very warm
Referee :  Gianluca Rocchi (ITA) Assistant Referees :  Filippo Meli (ITA); Ciro Carbone (ITA)
Fourth Official :  Daniele Doveri (ITA)  
VAR :  Paolo Valeri (ITA) Assitant VAR :  Maurizio Mariani (ITA)
UEFA Delegate :  Jozef Kliment (SVK) UEFA Referee Observer :  Darko Čeferin (SVN)
- -  kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Guilherme (foul on Lucas) 13


Winks (foul on Benzia) 88


Olympiacos Pireaus : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Jose SA

14  Omar ELABDELLAOUI  (c)
  3  Ruben SEMEDO
20  Yassine MERIAH
21  Kostas TSIMIKAS

  5  Andreas BOUCHALAKIS
  Mathieu VALBUENA    (  6  Yassine BENZIA  69)
17  Giannis MASOURAS  (97  Lazar RANDJELOVIC  78)

10  Daniel PODENCE 
  9  Miguel Angel GUERRERO  (11  Youssef El ARABI

Unused subs: 
  4  Mohamed CAMARA
35  Vasilis TOROSIDIS

    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

33  Ben DAVIES
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ

23  Christian ERIKSEN
28  Tanguy NDOMBELE  (17  Moussa SISSOKO  62)
  8  Harry WINKS
20  DELE Alli  (  7  Heung-Min SON  73)

27  Lucas MOURA    (11  Erik LAMELA  76)
10  Harry KANE 

Unused subs: 
  Victor WANYAMA


Manager :  Pedro Martins Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Stoiximan Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Spurs seemed to have forgotten the struggle to get out of the group stages of this competition last season, as they were in a comfortable winning position against Olympiacos, only to let the advantage slip and come away with a 2-2 draw.  That was better than our opening game against Inter Milan last season, but could have been much better.

Pochettino changed things around in the team, making five changes form the side that beat Crystal Palace on Saturday, resting some players and drafting in some who hadn't had much chance to play so far this season.   The early chance in the game came for Olympiakos when Valbuena passed to Guilhelme and he opened up the Spurs defence by playing in Podence. His low shot forced Hugo Lloris to get down quickly to get behind it and the threat had gone.  Tottenham were holding onto the ball as the boos rang out, but they didn’t seem as adventurous as Saturday, when they went at Palace. Ndombele’s touch was heavy at the start and Tottenham’s passing was not as assured as usual.

In the 18th minute, 21 crossed to Podence, who chested it down for a Guerrero shot against the inside of Lloris’ right hand post and the ball came out to  Guilherme, who struck the ball down into the ground and over the bar. Giving the ball away to the home side, who looked comfortable on it and technically adept, meant that Spurs found it very hard to get forward. Perpetual whistling from the referee also did not help the game to flow. Davies was being exposed at left back, with nobody protecting the space in front of him, which meant there was an overload on the wing, but when Dele spread the ball from a central position 20 yards out to Kane on the right, he jinked inside with 25 minutes gone, committing Meriah, who stuck a leg out to hook Kane's foot and VAR confirmed that. HK got up to take the kick and despite the delaying tactics of the Greek side to delay for as long as possible, he put the ball high down the middle to make it 1-0, you have to say against the run of play.

Olympiacos were looking for a way back into the game and Valbuena tried his luck from 25 yards, but it rose over the left-hand angle of Hugo’s goal. It was in vain, as two minutes later, Ben Davies won a tackle 40 yards out, moved it infield to Lucas Moura just inside the D and rammed a drive past the keeper’s right hand, leaving him grasping thin air. It was a marvellous shot by Moura, with little back-lift and taking it so early that the keeper didn’t have a chance to set himself.  To be two goals up without playing well was a nice position to be in.

A left wing cross from Tsmiikas found Masouras, who mis-hit his volley, shooting the the ball into the ground and over the bar. He was alone in the middle and it was a very good opportunity to waste for Olympiacos and could have changed the nature of the game. There wasn’t quite the hard press that Spurs used against Palace, but they got back behind the ball when they gave it away. Winks was putting in a lot of hard yards while Dele looked a little leg-heavy in his first start of the season. Kane was pulling out wide on both sides of the pitch and on the left, he drove in a low cross that took a deflection before it reached the near post and Sa was called into action to push the ball out.

Spurs put together a good move, passing the ball through the midfield with a break on to the left, ending with Dele firing in an effort that flew over Sa’s bar. With their next attack, Olympiacos worked the ball down their right wing and Podence took a return pass from Valbuena breaking into the box to fire across Lloris to find the opposite bottom corner of the net. It wasn’t a great time to concede a goal and luckily the half-time break came shortly afterwards.  Whether that would be enough to dampen the boost that goal would have given the home team relied on who Spurs started the second half.

It was as you were with neither side making a change, but it was Tottenham who started the second period well. Holding the ball and keeping it in the Olympiacos half, the red and white shirts had to pile back goal-side. Dele had the ball in the net on 49 minutes, finishing Kane’s ball in from the right inside the box, but he had moved off-side and the goal was ruled out. Although VAR took it’s time doing so. It was in action again in the 50th minute when the ball bobbled around the box and Vertonghen trod on Valbuena’s foot as it was played back in. Eriksen was sleeping when the ball was nicked off him leading to the penalty which Valbuena took. Hugo dived right and the ball went left to equalise.

Coming against the run of play, it was similar to Tottenham’s in the first half. Spurs looked a bit mentally sluggish, with players not always aware of where team-mates were leading to the ball being given away. Davies had good space on the left, but his low cross was put out for a corner. It was cleared down the middle to Ndombele, who shifted it onto his left foot, but hit the ball straight down the keeper’s throat. Eriksen was giving the ball away or getting caught on it, but he did run back to do his defensive duty.

As the clock hit the hour mark, Spurs looked as though their closing down was slacking and Pochettino took off Ndombele with Sissoko replacing him as it looked like the next goal would increasingly be the winner. Dele swapped passes with Moura and the low shot was kept out by the keeper’s foot. Davies and Eriksen stood over the ball and when it came in, Kane met it with his head but turned it over the bar from a couple of yards out.

Heung-Min Son came on for Dele and the game had slowed to a walking pace until Podence teed up Benaziah, but he scooped the ball way too high. Lamela entered play for the cramp-hit Lucas Moura, with 15 minutes left. Players were going down in the heat and play was disjointed, with Tottenham knocking hopeful balls into the box when they needed to work the ball better around the box. With five minutes left, Spurs did hold onto the ball with good possession and Eriksen’s right wing cross was headed over by Kane with a flick off a home defender’s head. The corner was headed out, but Lamela got the ball and ran into the left-hand channel and drove at the keeper’s near post with it being turned around for another corner. Kane struck a 10-yard shot against the bar turning onto his left foot, but Son had been offside in the build-up and the South Korean whipped in an 89th minute cross but nobody got onto the end of it.

Son and Lamela were not on the same wavelength as they tried to get past some home defenders on the left after Kane had made a strong run along the 18-yard line to work a shot, but didn’t get a decent connection. Lamela made a good intervention on Podence to deny him a shot on goal and out for a corner when Lloris flapped at a left-wing cross. Spurs had last minute opportunities to break away and neither Eriksen nor Kane could make a killer pass that might have won us a late winner.

It was a night when Tottenham needed to do the dirty work and they need to learn the tricks of European football, which even Olympiacos used to win cheap free-kicks and waste time. There was a point that Spurs didn’t have after their first game in the Champions League group last season, but just as when we came away from Arsenal, a 2-0 lead had evaporated in similar fashion.  While the draw was not a disaster, it would have been helpful to have been three points to the good before facing Bayern Munich at home in the next round of matches.  Poch will be furious at the inability to manage a 2-0 lead for the second time in a matter of weeks and this will need to be addressed before long, but his changes to the side clearly did not work, with players not looking match-fit and he said after the match that they didn't follow the plan he had set out for the game.

We have come away from an away game with a point, which is better than a lot of our away Champions League games, but we need to step our performances up to turn these into wins and then we can rest assured of qualification, rather than leaving it to the last minute as we did last season.

Pete Stachio

Match facts

Pochettino's 50th European game in charge of Spurs.

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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Club Brugge (BEL) 0 Galatasaray (TUR) 0 Wednesday
Paris Saint Germain (FRA) 3 Real Madrid (SPA) 0 Wednesday
Bayern Munich (GER) 3 Red Star Belgrade (SER) 0 Wednesday
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 4 Atalanta (ITA) 0 Wednesday
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 0 Manchester City 3 Wednesday
Atletico Madrid (SPA) 2 Juventus (ITA) 2 Wednesday
Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER) 1 Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS) 2 Wednesday
SSC Napoli (ITA) 2 Liverpool 0 Tuesday
Red Bull Salzburg (AUS) 6 KRC Genk (BEL) 2 Tuesday
Internazionale (ITA) 1 Slavia Prague (CZE) 1 Tuesday
Borussia Dortmund (GER) 0 Barcelona (SPA) 0 Tuesday
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) 1 Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS) 1 Tuesday
Benfica (POR) 1 RB Leipzig (GER) 2 Tuesday
Chelsea 0 Valencia (SPA) 1 Tuesday
Ajax (HOL) 3 Lille (FRA) 0 Tuesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Bayern Munich 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 +3
2 Olympiacos 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
4 Red Star Belgrade 1 0 0 1 0 3 0 -3

Position before match :  N/A
Position after this round :  3rd

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