Tottenham began the first leg of their Europa league last of 32 tie, with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.
Upon kick-off, the pitch was in a state and the players looked far from energetic heading into the game. Potentially jet-lag was playing a part in the performance of the Spurs team as most were producing rather lethargic efforts. The play was generally mixed as Spurs took an approach which saw them often hoof the ball forward. Nacer Chadli looked to be the most involved out of the team.
Tottenham’s Brazilian wonder, Paulinho, was producing some good play early on and performed an especially memorable flick over the head of a defender, to round the man and hit an effort wide.
Dnipro attempted to claim a stake in the game as they came racing into the Spurs area but the defence was quick to pressure them and clear the ball for a corner.
Nacer Chadli then performed a good move to round his man on the far touchline and dinked a beautiful cross in to Soldado, only for the Spaniard to flick the header into the hands of the goalkeeper. Soldado then had another chance when he intercepted the Danny Rose ball, only for him to not quite reach it correctly and let it slip away.
Brad Friedel attempted to cast his name in the list of potential man of the match contenders when he first stopped a difficult one-on-one situation and then later palmed away a similar effort from close range.
Andros Townsend at the other end hit a weak effort towards the goal from the edge of the area but the keeper was able to capture the ball comfortably.
Etienne Capoue was having a dreadful start to affairs when he continued to make panicked challenges that were far from the standard we saw against Newcastle in midweek. Nacer Chadli however was illustrating a more dynamic approach as he took his position on the wing to his advantage as he was spraying crosses left, right and centre. Could this have been a confidence boost after his fantastic goal against Newcastle? Half time could not have come sooner for Tottenham as the pitch was proving too influential in the outcome of the game.
The referee was having a spectacular game as he spotted numerous dives and spiteful challenges from Dnipro. On the 56th minute, the best chance of the game fell to Soldado. The Spaniard was on the end of a Paulinho cross, only for the striker to shin the ball miles over the bar. It seems he has lost his confidence entirely. This sparked Sherwood to bring on Christian Eriksen to liven up the fixture, with immediate effect. The Dane linked to a marvellous Rose pass to latch home the ball into the net, the goal however was flagged for offside.
Eriksen was then instrumental in yet another chance. The former Ajax man linked onto a splendid Soldado pass, ran the length of the touchline to fire an effort into his team-mate, to which the striker hit on the half-volley and it deflected over. But the game decider was still to commence.
A penalty was given to Dnirpo as Jan Vertonghen brought down the forward in which the defender was booked. The penalty came at a time in which it was looking as if Spurs could have held on, leaving for the heavy lifting in the tie to be completed at the Lane. The penalty was finished well by Konoplyanka despite it just clipping the post. Spurs had a late chance to level the game, but Harry Kane’s flick wasn’t met by Nacer Chadli at the back post. The game finished Dnipro 1-0 Spurs.
Friedel – MOTM, his best performance in a Tottenham shirt. (Excellent)
Naughton – A few minor mistakes (Average)
Dawson – Gets caught out way too often (Poor)
Vertonghen – Poor challenge to concede the penalty (Average)
Rose – Played well, instrumental on the left (Good)
Capoue – Terrible. Simply terrible (Poor)
Paulinho – Fitting in very well in the middle. (Good)
Bentaleb – Nothing to scream about. (Average)
Townsend – All he did was shoot. (Poor)
Chadli – Thought he played well in all honesty (Good)
Soldado – *sigh*