…News At Ten.
After three straight cup losses, two cup exits and the first defeat in Europe this season, Sherwood finally oversaw a Spurs victory in a cup competition as they somehow came back to knock out Juande Ramos’ Dnipro.
The previous three games that weren’t in the league had seen them go goalless in the last two and for most of the second leg of the round of 32 tie at home to Dnipro this looked like a trend that was going to continue.
Another clueless display by Timmy’s team.
Bizarrely he’d picked a half decent side with the thankful return of The Beast in the middle alongside Dembele. What no Bentaleb? Yes I know, you’re not the only one shocked and stunned. Must have been saving him for the weekend league game.
Needing break that goal drought, one hadn’t come in a cup game in just over 200 minutes at kick-off, it just didn’t look like it would happen. Again Tim’s master-plan seemed aimless humps up the park and generally giving the ball away.
It’s funny the last couple of games have called for Eriksen to be included. He was for this one and had a game where he mixed the sublime with the ridiculous. Some sublime balls followed by some really inept passes, so many of which seemed to hit the first defender.
Soldado was making the runs, Eriksen just wasn’t finding him. Or Soldado was being blocked off by the plank, otherwise known as Adebayor.
Soldado was lucky in one respect, as were Spurs. Dnipro were from the off doing everything you were always warned about with these dodgy foreign teams. Simple time wasting to falling over after tripping on a blade of grass. Luckily the falling over routines were being treated with the contempt they deserved by the ref, including one penalty shout from Matheus, who was one of the prime fall down merchants. This led him to give nothing when shielding the ball Soldado elbowed one of Ramos’ men. Very easily a red card.
When the half-time whistle went with Spurs on the attack it really didn’t look bar Eriksen’s excellent free-kick that they would get the goal needed to equalise the aggregate score.
Minutes into the second half that task was even greater. Stupid handball by Townsend led to a brilliant free-kick placed on the head of the unmarked Zozulya to power it past the thankless Lloris.
So going from needing at least one goal and not looking remotely like getting that they now needed three.
The visitors now ramped up the time wasting etc to a new level. But they themselves gave away a free-kick in a dangerous area, one where Eriksen had nearly scored from earlier. This time he made it count with another excellent set piece.
It had been 259 minutes since they last scored in a cup game. And still two more were needed. And they had to be stopped from going ahead again on the night. Something which almost came when they hit the woodwork shortly after the equaliser.
Things changed just after the hour. Spurs won a free-kick just outside the Dnipro box and as Vertonghen was jogging in the area for the resulting kick the Dnipro goalscorer put the head in. Now they’re saying Vertonghen went down easy. But you’re jogging in and someone head-butts you, which Zozulya did, then chances are your head will shoot back and you’ll go down. Over reaction? Maybe. Red card? definitely.
From that moment, well after a few moments as Zozulya was ushered off the park after trying to start various other fights the visitors looked rattled while Spurs looked lifted.
Shortly after the tie was tied on aggregate. Eriksen put a great cross in and Adebayor stuck his leg out to go ahead on the night. Soldado was just behind his strike partner. Again he just couldn’t get a piece of luck. Earlier he had one chalked off, correctly, for offside after taking the finish so well and here he could have easily finished this one off if Adebayor hadn’t been there.
One of these days Robbie. One of these days.
Less than five minutes later, Adebayor sealed the win with a stunning goal. He met Fryers hump up to him with a good chest down and then coolly curled in his second with the outside of his foot, Spurs’ third on the night.
In thirteen minutes they’d changed things completely around.
In the next 21 they tried their best to make sure it was for nought. Now behind Dnipro started to play, showed a lot more urgency and only just needed one to have Spurs requiring two. In those last 20 minutes you wouldn’t know that the visitors had a man less, if told there’d been a red card you’d swear it was a Spurs player sent off.
While Spurs attackers had two or three men on them there was no outlet, while in attack the Spurs right was always wide open with plenty of space for a man in blue.
During that 20 minutes Dnipro could quite have easily made in 3-3, then Sherwood wouldn’t exactly be being lauded the way the media are doing today. It was bar that 13 minute period a pretty awful display by Timmy’s team, yet another one. Well he’s finally won a cup game but it’s Benfica next, last year’s losing finalists, so they won’t be up for it will they?