A Typical Tottenham Night

Tottenham Hotspur served up a typical Tottenham night at White Hart Lane in the Europa League last 32 Second Leg tie last night.

Never a team to do things the easy way Spurs made it hard again with another laboured first half display that created very little again. The side lacked any width with Townsend cutting inside as soon as he got the ball and Eriksen on the other side a central midfielder playing on the left.

With Dnipro packing their half there was a wall in front of the Spurs defence. Playing through two packed ranks is never easy but if you then reduce the width with the wide men coming inside it becomes even more packed and even harder to break down.

Christian Eriksen Man of the Match
Christian Eriksen put in a Man of the Match display
One option is to play the long ball and we played plenty from wing to wing with little effect or in search of the strikers, just such a move produced a chance for Eriksen but his shot was deflected over.

It was Eriksen who came closest again after 25 minutes when his free-kick was palmed away by the Dnipro keeper Denys Boyko. The half saw Spurs have plenty of the ball but the final pass was consistently not working and Dnipro were time wasting at every opportunity. Players were going down all the time and staying down which sometimes worked and sometimes the ref simply ignored them.

During the half-time interval Jermain Defoe said his farewell to the fans and the fans said their farewell to him He was viable moved and in fact reduced to tears at the reception he received. His love for the club is obvious. He will have seen many nights like this European night, often such special occasions at The Lane. His appearance sent the Spurs fans into the second half in positive mood.

The second half began and disaster struck just as it had in the last game at Norwich. A superb angled ball into our box from a free-kick after only 2 minutes saw an offside Roman Zozulya nod past Hugo Lloris, despite the Frenchman getting a hand to it.

Spurs season was on the line. The character Sherwood had called for had to be shown. Spurs now had to score three to go through.

Six minutes later from an Eriksen corner on the right Dembele couldn't quite get to the ball on the half volley. His shot bounces onto the top of the bar to the relief of a watchful keeper. Just a minute later on 54 minutes Roberto Soldado tucks a first time shot into the net from a through ball by Eriksen but he was marginally offside and the linesman flagged. Nothing seems to be going right for the Spaniard but he worked hard all night.

Adebayor then drew a foul on the left after 55 minutes and Eriksen curled the ball into the left hand corner despite the keepers a strong hand. It had taken Spurs just 8 minutes to draw level and give themselves a lifeline.

It could have gone pear shaped after 60 minutes when Vertonghen was booked and from the resulting free kick, which was squared to Konoplyanka, the Ukranians hit the post with Lloris beaten.

Vertonghen and goalscorer Zozulya had been having a running battle all night. The Spurs centre-back vehemently protested a free kick in the first half to no avail and the pair exchanged strong words. It was the same pair that clashed again after 62 minutes while Eriksen waited to take another free-kick after which turned the game Spurs way.

Zozulya gave Vertonghen a slight headbut and the Belgian lay on the floor clutching his head. The ref sent Zozulya off but he refused to leave the field and tried to get at Vertonghen. Adebayor and the Spurs players held him back before he eventually calmed down and left the field. Dnipro would have to survive for the last 28 minutes with 10 men playing behind the ball.

Barely a minute later Spurs were in front and that man Eriksen was involved again. Cutting in from the left he curled a brilliant cross into the centre where both Adebayor and Soldado had made runs. It was Adebayor first to the ball and he side footed home from 6 yards.

Emmanuel Adebayor 2 goals
Emmanuel Adebayor another 2 goals

Just 18 minutes after taking the lead Dnipro were behind but if the score remained the same they would still go through on away goals. Spurs had scored 2 goals in 9 minutes, the first goals since beating Newcastle 4-0.

The crowd sang, the Lane rocked as the fans sensed a comeback was on the cards and there was jubilation when a third goal arrived just 4 minutes later. Another long ball up to Adebayor, this time from left-back Zeki Fryers, but instead of heading the ball Ade leaped and chested the ball forward past the defender. He then ran on to it flicked the ball past the keeper from the direction it had come. Once again we saw the Adebayor salute.

The crowd were ecstatic and Spurs dead and buried had turned the tie on it's head in a balmy 13 minute spell. Three goals, another 2 for the rejuvenated Adebayor who seems to be relishing the responsibility of being one of the more experienced players.

One goal for Dnipro could still change things and Dawson had to make an important block from a dangerous situation after 73 minutes. Spurs mainly then stuck to possession football to wind down the clock but could have had a fourth when Townsend went outside his man and put in a cross but Soldado arriving late thrust a boot at it only to see his effort bounce over the bar.

Hugo Lloris had to make another smart save 2 minutes from normal time when danger man Konoplyanka hit a 30 yard effort as the visitors tried to get the decisive goal.

Five minutes of injury time much to Tim Sherwood's disgust for Spurs to hold out for a triumphant night. With only 2 minutes remaining Dawson has to take one for the team after Bentaleb, who had come on for Sandro, lost the ball in his own half trying to turn instead of playing a simple pass. Dawson was furious with him and wiped out Giuiliano with a hefty challenge to receive a yellow card.

This is the chance for Konoplyanka to seal the tie for Dnipro and curls the free-kick towards the corner of the net but Lloris was equal to the task once more and palmed the ball away to safety.

Adebayor and Eriksen were the stand out performers, all Spurs good work came through Eriksen so he'd edge it for Man of the Match for me.

A night of drama at The Lane as it so often is and a last 16 clash against Benfica to look forward to.

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