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UEFA Europa League

  • August 21, 2014
  • • 12:00 PM
  • • Stadio Antonis Papadopoulos, Lárnaka (Larnaca)
  • Referee: Manuel Jorge Neves Moreira de Sousa
  • • Attendance: 7200

Europa League Preview: AEL - Tottenham Preview

Mauricio Pochettino oversaw a win in his first game in charge of Spurs, with Eric Dier's goal giving them a 1-0 victory over West Ham, and he now faces his Europa League debut.

Mauricio Pochettino takes charge of his first European match when Tottenham heads to Cyprus to face AEL in the Europa League on Thursday.

The 42-year-old, who left Southampton to take over at White Hart Lane in May, got his tenure off to a winning start on Saturday as offseason signing Eric Dier's stoppage-time goal gave Spurs a 1-0 victory at West Ham on the opening day of the Premier League season.

Pochettino will be looking for his side to build on that victory Thursday with a positive result in the first leg of the final playoff round, with the return encounter set to take place in London seven days later.

The Argentine, who has never managed a club in European competition, is likely to make changes for the game with the likes of Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and new signing Ben Davies potentially in line to make their first appearances of 2014-15.

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Lewis Holtby, Andros Townsend and Michael Dawson, who were on the bench at Upton Park alongside Soldado and Davies, may also figure.

Last season, Spurs made it through the group stage of the competition but was eliminated by eventual runner-up Benfica in the last 16.

AEL, which missed out on a seventh Cypriot top-flight title last season when it lost on the final day against rival APOEL, has already recorded an impressive 1-0 victory over Zenit in the third qualifying round of this season's Champions League.

A 3-0 defeat in the second leg of that tie meant that it dropped down into the Europa League and set up the clash with Spurs, and their coach, Ivaylo Petev, knows that the odds are heavily stacked against his players progressing further in the competition.

He told UEFA's official website: "They are a massive club and it is crucial we minimize our mistakes against them because they know how to punish every little error. The truth is that this was a very difficult draw for us and we were not so lucky. It is very important that we are ready for the first game and play well."

Thursday's match will not be the first time these two sides have met, with Tottenham having played a series of friendlies — one of which was against AEL — during a visit to Cyprus in 1968. Spurs were a 7-1 victor in that game, with Alan Gilzean scoring a hat trick, Cliff Jones netting twice, and Jimmy Robertson and Dennis Bind grabbing the other goals.

Last Five Matches

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Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

AEL Limassol AEL
AEL Limassol AEL
Tottenham Hotspur FC TOT
Tottenham Hotspur FC Tottenham Hotspur

Top 3 Predictions

AEL Limassol AEL
0 - 2
Tottenham Hotspur FC TOT
AEL Limassol AEL
1 - 2
Tottenham Hotspur FC TOT
AEL Limassol AEL
1 - 3
Tottenham Hotspur FC TOT