Spurs see legs of Europa League tie with Dinamo Zagreb switched due to city clash

Bale Son Tottenham 2020
The Lilywhites are not allowed to play at home on the same evening as a fellow club from the same city, forcing them to alter their schedule

Tottenham will be forced to reverse their upcoming Europa League round-of-16 fixtures against Dinamo Zagreb after UEFA ordered them to, the club has confirmed.

Jose Mourinho's Spurs, among the frontrunners to take home the trophy this term, were originally set to travel to Croatia on Thursday 11 March before hosting Zoran Mamic's side in north London the following week.

But now they will instead welcome the Prva HNL outfit first, before they fly out to fulfil the return fixture on Thursday 18 March in order to avoid a clash with Arsenal.

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Why have Spurs had to switch?

The Premier League side were originally drawn to host the second leg of their tie with Zagreb alongside Mikel Arteta's Gunners, who are scheduled to welcome Olympiacos to the Emirates Stadium the same week.

Article 21 of the UEFA Europa League regulations for the 2020/21 season however prohibits two teams from the same city playing at home on the same evening, meaning that one the clubs had to alter their fixtures.

Thanks to their qualification coming though the FA Cup last year, Arsenal subsequently have taken precedence, meaning it is the Lilywhites who must alter their schedule.

How have Spurs fared in Europe?

Mourinho's side are a far cry away from the giddy highs of that surprise Champions League final appearance two years ago under Mauricio Pochettino.

But their performances on the continent this term suggests they are among the firm favourites to taste success this season in the secondary competition in European club football.

Spurs have lost just one match so far in the Europa League this season, against Antwerp in the group stages, and were more frequently found delivering substansial routs of their various opponents.

Their hefty aggregate victory over Wolfsberg, achieved through two seperate four-goal hauls, has only underlined their credentials as they continue to sweep aside all takers.

Is Europe a priority for Spurs?

Though a Gareth Bale masterclass restored Tottenham to winning ways in the Premier League at the weekend against Burnley, the victory marked only their second three-point haul in seven top-flight games.

That dismal run of form has left them six points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham, albeit with a game in hand, and jostling for a spot alongside fellow big six rivals Liverpool and Chelsea.

Mourinho has admitted that the Europa League motivates him in particular following their league difficulties, with the tournament presenting a route to Champions League football if they manage to lift the trophy.

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