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October 24, 2013
• Bolshaya Sportivnaya Arena, Tiraspol
Referee: L. Liany
• Attendance: 11725
J. Vertonghen 12'
J. Defoe 75'
I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope that you enjoyed the coverage of Tottenham's 2-0 away win over Sheriff in Moldova. Thanks for tuning in and I hope to see you again next time.
That's all we have time for this evening, with Tottenham all but qualified from their Europa League group following Anzhi's victory over Tromso earlier. A few players failed to truly perform, but overall an encouraging away performance from Spurs.
Goals from Jan Vertonghen and Jermain Defoe were just about enough for the visitors, though Sheriff went close on numerous occasions courtesy of dangermen Isa and Luvannor. The hosts can take some positive and heart from their first half performance.
FULL TIME! Tottenham grab the three points following a 2-0 win over Sheriff in Moldova, but the scoreline doesn't quite reflect how the home side competed with the Premier League outfit in the first half.
90' + 3'
We're into the final minute, and it's merely a matter of running down the clock for Spurs now. They stroke the ball around slowly, encouraging the home side to chase, but this should be over soon.
90' + 2'
Sheriff are moving the ball composedly, but not with the urgency that they did when the scoreline was 1-0. Belief has faded a little bit for the hosts in the second half, but the Defoe goal was a sucker punch.
The fourth official has awarded three minutes of stoppage time.
Naughton has returned to the field, but he doesn't look very comfortable. It looks to be a sore one for the Englishman, and he can't wait for the referee to end proceedings. Just a few more minutes left for Spurs.
FERNANDO! The substitute is automatically involved, picking the ball up 25 yards out from goal and looking to curl the ball into the top right corner. The execution isn't there though, and it finds the higher rows of the stand.
Kyle Naughton has gone down injured, and looks to be in some discomfort. It looks to be the left-back ankle that is causing him the pain, and he hobbles heavily as he leaves the field. Unsure whether Tottenham will risk letting him continue.
The atmosphere and actions on the field have gone a little flat, with the home fans presumably not too optimistic of their side's chances of getting back in the game. Sheriff's players chased every ball in the first half, but the intensity is lacking now.
DEFOE! Good save by Tomic but it's offside anyhow! The goalscorer received the ball to feet from Holtby, turns smartly but fires directly at the goalkeeper. The linesman's flag was raised early on.
Sheriff are keeping their shape and discipline, but there is a sense of despair and apathy from the hosts, understandably so. This game isn't over yet though, Isa has the pace to test the Tottenham central defensive pairing if he gets the service.
ISA! HE'S MISSED! The Bulgarian races through on goal following a good through ball by Luvannor, but he can only stab it wide of the post, past the onrushing Lloris!
We're edging towards the tail end of this game now, and Tottenham are really beginning to dominate. Sheriff haven't enjoyed much possession all game, but their first half performance merits some sort of reward, you would feel.
Well, Tottenham should be safe to return to London with three points now, that Defoe goal has given them the safety net that they needed. Sheriff don't deserve to be on the end of such a scoreline, but such is football.
DEFOE! Another chance for the goalscorer! He scampers after a through ball, lifting it over Tomic, but it bounces wide of the post! Unfortunate for the Englishman.
Assist Nacer Chadli
Goal Jermain Defoe
GOOOOAL! DEFOE! 2-0 and this game should be decided for the away side! He equals a long-standing Tottenham goalscoring record, with a horrendously deflected strike that cannoned off Metoua.
CHIRICHES! The Romanian defender strides forward, beating Luvannor before hammering a strike towards Tomic' near post. It whistles over the crossbar, and Lennon is frustrated at being ignored by his teammate.
Eriksen has been much more involved in this second half, able to move the ball around quickly and keep things ticking over. He's not been providing the incisive passes that put Defoe through on goal twice in the second half, but possession is now equally as important for Spurs.
Good block from Dawson! Ricardinho peeled off the back post towards the edge of the box, receives a ball to feet and gets his shot away first time! It strikes the heel of Dawson, and fizzes wide of Lloris' post! Close!
Great challenge from Samardzic! Naughton finally overlaps, receiving the ball from Chadli, but the Slovenian defender is at full stretch to deflect the ball off of the Tottenham player and out for a goal kick!
Great challenge from Moyal! The Israeli midfielder slides at full stretch to steal the ball from Chadli, after some neat stepovers from the Belgian. Moyal stayed down however, and I think that he might require at least a fair amount of attention from the physio.
LENNON! POST! The pacey winger manages to get in behind the lines, and Lennon manages to beat his marker! He shoots, beats Tomic, but his effort clips the post and bounces clear! The Sheriff goalkeeper is furious with his defenders!
Around half an hour remaining for Spurs, but a second goal would do wonders for their confidence. Sheriff have demonstrated that they are dangerous on the break, so to head into the final ten minutes with merely a goal lead would be foolish.
Chaldi has already been involved following his arrival on the field, and he offers a much more physical presence than Lamela. The Belgian is physically imposing and can hold his own against any stocky defender, so he won't need to be wrapped in cotton wool for this one.
AVB finally chooses to shuffle his pack, taking off the wholly ineffectual Lamela who has struggled to get into this game. Paye dealt with the tricky winger well, the Argentine was always going to struggle against physicality.
Yellow Card Kobi Moyal
KADU! The injured player returns to the field and is involved straight away, picking the ball up in space on the right and driving a delivery into the box! It deflects away unfortunately for Sheriff, before Sandro makes a rash challenge in the penalty area! He got the player and the ball!
Paye goes down clutching his face after colliding with Lamela's elbow. That Guinean looks in pain, but Paye rolls around on the floor a ridiculous amount of times before returning to his feet. Nothing given by the referee.
ERIKSEN! Lennon and the Dane exchanges passes near the corner flag, before the former Ajax midfield fired a dipping ball towards the edge of the six yard box. Tomic collects, and it's a good job that he did, that was a reasonable delivery.
SANDRO! Eriksen plays a free-kick short to the Brazilian, who takes a touch out of his feet before opting to fire a hammer-like effort at goal. Kadu manages to get a block in, and the Brazilian has stayed down afterwards. It looked as though he collided with his teammate.
STANOJEVIC! The Serbian tries an audacious, powerful effort from a tight angle, and it did have Lloris concerned for a split second. Sheriff aren't as competitive as they were during the first half, but they're still capable of grabbing a goal.
Lloris is quickly off his line to deny Isa the opportunity to take the ball around the goalkeeper, and the Frenchman certainly stakes a claim for the best sweeper keeper in football. Lloris then claims a cross with ease.
DEFOE! A tame effort from the striker in the end, directing the ball straight at Tomic. A lovely bit of interplay between Lennon and Defoe there, that deserved a goal, their runs intertwined wonderfully.
Sheriff pick up a corner, after another break from the hosts, but Kadu's set piece delivery is easily claimed by Lloris under no pressure. The deliveries have been good, Sheriff are merely lacking the physically imposing figures to test Tottenham aerially.
OFFSIDE! Kadu is caught offside yet again! Vertonghen steps up and catches the Brazilian out, but Tottenham are really playing riskily, Sheriff are getting beyond the last man quite regularly, and Isa should win any foot races.
It will be interesting to see if this game opens up in the second half, as Sheriff had to work very hard to compete in the opening stages. They've got options available should things not quite click, but it could be Moldovan fatigue that becomes their best ally.
Excellent piece of skill from Paye! The left-back came storming in to collect a loose ball, with Lennon pressing him, but a cool dummy ensured that the Guinean completely embarrassed his adversary.
We are back underway for the second half, and Tottenham are unchanged. This is an important half for the English club, they'd effectively seal their qualification if they were to see out a win tonight.
In terms of other results, the other Group K game ended with Anzhi managing to record a staggering win against Tromso. The Norwegian side aren't fantastic, but Anzhi are bottom of the Russian league and are out of the most out of form sides in Europe. If Tottenham win, they're as good as through.
Andre Villas-Boas has plenty of options on the substitutes bench, with Emmanuel Adebayor being a possible injection of something a little bit different. His introduction would certainly provide Tottenham with a new focal point and the opportunity to play directly.
Tottenham have seen plenty of the ball, but Tomic has been relatively untroubled in the Sheriff goal. Both Luvannor and Isa have threatened for the home side, and the Moldovan champions probably deserve to be level in terms of opportunities.
HALF TIME! The referee ends the first 45 minutes, and Tottenham are by no means out of the woods yet. A disciplined and high intensity first 25 minutes from Sheriff looked to have Tottenham toothless, but a Jan Vertonghen goal has given the visitors a slim 1-0 lead.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Vlad Iulian Chiricheş
One minute of added time has been awarded. Luvannor looked to get the better of Vertonghen as Sheriff broke yet again, but the referee deemed that the Brazilian dived.
DEFOE! The lone striker is fed in behind by Eriksen, who scoops the ball excellently over Metoua, but Defoe's toe lets him down! The ball zips off the turf and behind for a goal kick.
Sheriff just look to be tiring a little bit perhaps, which is understandable given their early efforts. Exerting so much effort really needed to yield a goal for the hosts, but they're by no means out of the contest.
Five minutes until the break, and this has been a much more testing game that the majority of spectators would have predicted! If Sheriff can grab a goal before the break, it would really open things up, but the home side seem to be thwarted more often by the offside flag than good defending.
Eriksen seemingly goes for goal with a 40 yard free-kick, but the Danish playmaker may just have failed to get the right trajectory on a delivery into the box. Tottenham are growing into the game gradually, but they're certainly not massively dominant.
LUVANNOR! The left winger manages to pick up the scraps after Sandro manages to block a cross from Isa, but he can't find the target! What an opportunity! He fires inches over the crossbar, that would have been the goal that the Moldovan champions deserve!
Tottenham press forward with numbers, and Naughton is able to find Defoe in a pocket of space on the edge of the penalty area! Defoe quickly controls and fires a left-footed effort, but it soars over the crossbar. Not the best attempt!
Naughton has now been moved over to left-back, and the Englishman is probably rather glad, he now longer has to face Luvannor. Chiriches moves to the right hand side of the back four, with Dawson coming into the centre to partner Vertonghen. A slight re-jig.
Fryers has gone down inside his own penalty area, and the young defender is calling over to the substitutes bench, asking to be removed from the field of play. Jermain Defoe uses the break in play to transmit some instructions to Eriksen.
ISA! The Bulgarian manages to get in behind Tottenham's defence, following a half clearance from Chiriches, but he can't curl the ball inside the far post! Rusnac isn't happy!
Well, there was the warning sign for Spurs! Sheriff know that they're capable of carving a route through the heart of the away side, and it has probably become a little more obvious that the Premier League club require another goal to cement their position.
CADU! OFFSIDE! The Brazilian thumps the ball home into the roof of the net, following some lovely play from Luvannor. He has the beating of Naughton, and he exploited the full-back once again before slipping the ball through to the unmarked Cadu to fire home.
ERIKSEN! The Denmark international finds a bit of space and releases an effort from the edge of the area, but two deflections take the sting out of the shot. Metoua was involved again, and Tomic collects.
Frustration is growing between the away side, with Eriksen, Lennon and Lamela forced to come deep to receive some of the ball. In doing so, it's allowing Sheriff to really congest the midfield third, making it difficult for Spurs to play through them.
Good clearance from Metoua! The Ivorian manages to hoof the ball out for a corner in an unorthodox fashion, personifying the idea of safety first. Nothing comes from the resulting set piece for the visitors.
We're yet to really see too much of Lamela and Eriksen in this game, with the Dane struggling to get inbetween the lines, and the Argentine failing to get any kind of service. These are the players Spurs need to be feeding the ball, they have the flair to unlock a disciplined side.
Given how heavily backed Tottenham were to win this game, the opening stages certainly haven't depicted a simple walk in the park. Spurs have only managed to venture into the final third on two or three occasions, with Sheriff looking very threatening on the break.
Sheriff look to be getting some give from Naughton, as Luvannor is confident enough to continually probe the Spurs' right-back. The hosts continue to press and use their game plan, which is still working rather well. Frustrating for Spurs!
Chiriches has had an excellent all-action performance thus far, which I doubt is much comfort to watching Spurs fans! The Romanian has looked strong in the tackle, composed on the ball and looks to have the measure of the pacey Isa.
LENNON! WHAT A MISS! Tomic makes the save, but Lennon smashed the ball straight at him, he almost had too much time on the ball there! It's not a bad save, but the Englishman should be finding the back of the net.
Good defending from Samardzic! The central defender steps out to intercept a neat through ball from Eriksen, and Sheriff break! The ball is worked into the area, where Chiriches clears, allowing for Moyal to try his luck from range with the rebound! Lloris watches it wide.
High intensity pressing from the hosts continues to frustrate and thwart Tottenham's offensive aspirations, as whenever the visitors stray too far into the opposition half, they are hassled and hounded relentlessly.
Sheriff have just demonstrated that they can't be counted out of this game as a contest quite yet. Luvannor showed great composure to round Lloris, but that truly was great recovering work from his Romanian teammate.
WHAT A BLOCK! Luvannor is slipped in behind the Spurs' back line, takes the ball around Lloris, but Chiriches is on hand to clear the ball off the line in spectacular fashion! Brilliant defending!
OFFSIDE! Isa is put through on goal, but is clearly in an offside position! Balima screams at his teammate to leave the ball, but the Bulgarian continues! Odd decision.
All of the home side's good early work has been undone in one swoop! The first opportunity that Spurs have has been converted by Vertonghen, and AVB can allow himself a wry smile.
Assist Christian Eriksen
Goal Jan Vertonghen
GOOOOAL! FIRST ATTACK, FIRST GOAL! 1-0 to Tottenham! Vertonghen rises highest at the back post to nod home past Tomic, I don't think the Sheriff keeper has touched the ball yet!
Sheriff's game plan is continuing to work excellently, with Tottenham really struggling to piece together anything in the way of attacks. Naughton doesn't look too confident, and as the Englishman is against one of the hosts' most prolific players, Tottenham fans might worry.
Excellent interception from Chiriches! The Romanian defender has to be quick off the mark to steal the ball from the toes of Isa, as the pacey striker looked to break, following Sandro giving away possession. Spurs are struggling to get into their rhythm.
Well claimed by Lloris! A Sheriff corner is rebounded back to Cadu, who delivers from deep on the left flank, aiming for the back post. Hugo Lloris rises early and high to grab the delivery easily.
Good challenge from Naughton! The former Sheffield United full-back does well to steal possession from Luvannor, before clearing upfield. It seems to be that Isa and Luvannor are the dangermen for Sheriff, if we are to judge by the opening stages.
Isa is penalised for a push on Chiriches, and the Bulgarian does look a handful for the hosts. His pace and desire to press and harry might just spook Chiriches at times, the young defender is sometimes guilty of wanting to do a little too much with the ball.
Metoua makes his first interception of the game, taking the ball away from Defoe, and Sheriff continue to look rather untroubled. Hugo Lloris has been put under pressure a fair bit, while Tomic has had nothing to do.
Sheriff are happy to sit in their shape and invite Spurs forward, leaving only Isa in an advanced areas to act as an outlet. A disciplined first five minutes from the home side, they're not too concerned if Spurs have plenty of the ball in their own half.
Vertonghen heads away from almost under his own crossbar, following a lovely corner delivery from Luvannor! Sheriff win another set piece, and this time Lloris is forced to punch the ball away under pressure. Good stuff for the hosts.
The game starts are presumed, with Tottenham enjoying the early spells of possession, with the English side's defenders having plenty of time on the ball. Isa looks to be the dangerous forward for Sheriff, his pace could cause some problems in behind.
We are underway! The atmosphere is rather excellent, and Sheriff look to start positively, looking to release Isa from the off! There's an early warning sign for Tottenham.
We're only moments from kick-off now, and Tottenham fans will be hoping for an efficient performance from a strong side. The presence of Sandro and Dembele looks to be a tough nut to crack in the centre of midfield, with the pace of Lamela and Lennon out wide looking rather dangerous too.
Henrique Luvannor looks to be the dangerman for the home side, managing to get on the scoresheet with worrying regularity recently, while Ricardinho managed to grab the goal against Tromso last time out in the Europa League. Spurs would be wrong to underestime the Moldovans.
Sheriff's manager has already stated that his side will attack at home and not fear their reputable opposition. The difference in stature and finance is rather large, especially in the wake of Spurs' £100m spending spree following the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.
Emmanuel Adebayor is named on the substitutes bench tonight, as aforementioned, and it will interesting to see if Villas-Boas utilises the Togo international. Roberto Soldado will presumably be rested for the London-based club with one eye on the Premier League, but the Spaniard's services are available if required.
Sheriff are extremely dominant in their native league, managing to take the title in twelve of the last 13 seasons, spending huge amounts of money on their facilities to continue their continued success. Not bad considering the club were only formed in 1997!
Fifteen minutes until kick-off, and all of the pressure seems to be on Spurs - nobody expects an upset from the home team. Tottenham have been free-scoring in the Europa League, netting in all but two of their last 18 games, losing only one game in their last 17. Sheriff statistically have it all to do, but the game is played on the turf, not paper!
Tottenham substitutes: Soldado, Holtby, Dawson, Chadli, Sigurdsson, Friedel, Adebayor.
Tottenham starting line-up: Lloris; Fryers, Vertonghen, Chiriches, Naughton; Lamela, Dembele, Eriksen, Sandro, Lennon; Defoe.
Sheriff substitutes: Furdui, Stajila, Paireli, Scripcenco, Fernando, William Thuran, Pascenco.
Sheriff starting line-up: Tomic; Paye, Samardzic, Metoua, Balima; Henrique Luvannor, Stanojevic, Moyal, Ricardinho, Cadu; Isa.
Interestingly, only one Moldovan side has ever managed to beat an English side in UEFA competition, with that honour falling to Toligma Chisinau in a Futsal Cup. Sheriff are underdogs, but have an interesting blend of starting nationalities, naming merely one native in their first eleven.
TEAM NEWS: Both Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor have travelled with the Spurs squad, despite Jermain Defoe getting a start this evening. Young left-back Fryers gets the nod, with Erik Lamela enjoying a rare opportunity from the first minute.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you informed with events from Moldova, as Tottenham aim to pick up three points in Group K. AVB has rotated his side somewhat from the one that faced West Ham, but there is enough Premier League experience involved to cause the hosts some problems.
Hello and welcome to Europa League action, as Tottenham Hotspur make a lengthy visit to Moldova to face domestic champions Sheriff. Andre Villas-Boas has named a strong squad for tonight's match, despite being considered heavy favourites. It won't be that easy, however, with Sheriff in good recent form and with the home advantage.
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