Tottenham ended a difficult away fixture with a 0-0 draw in Serbia, against Partizan Belgrade. The result sent them bottom of Group C.
Tottenham began the game very strongly. Young striker Harry Kane found himself with a perfect chance to go ahead, however his thunderous strike crashed into the crossbar and the bounce came away from the goal-line. Andros Townsend was unlucky early on to concede a free-kick deep inside the Spurs half, and the referee tended to favour the Serbian side in the early minutes.
Aaron Lennon attempted to make something for the away side, as his cross towards Harry Kane was collected by the Partizan keeper. Defensively, Tottenham made a strong start also. Jan Vertonghen made a crucial interception at the back, as the home side attempted to catch Spurs on the break.
The atmosphere was obvious throughout the first 45 minutes, as the home fans were determined to make it an uninviting welcome for Pochettino’s side. The loud chanting and bouncing could have made more of an impact, given that a running track separated the crowd from the pitch.
Benjamin Stambouli was enjoying a good first start for his new club, after his work to mop-up after Andros Townsend and Paulinho was key in keeping possession in Tottenham’s favour. Harry Kane was doing his best to maintain the fighting spirit exemplified by the North London side in the early minutes. His work to provide for Andros Townsend resulted in a blocked effort. Aaron Lennon exhibited some of his past pace when he hunted down the defender to try and win back the ball. New Tottenham signing DeAndre Yedlin would have been impressed with the efforts of his team-mate.
Federico Fazio was having an excellent debut for his new side. Some of his interceptions were key in preventing dangerous moments for the Spurs back-four. Fellow newcomer Benjamin Stambouli too showed some promising opening exchanges. His excellent run down the right side on the 21st minute was only ruined by his poor touch.
The following ten minutes were to be the most action packed of the first half. Paulinho attempted a typically Brazilian flick through to Aaron Lennon, only for the winger’s return pass to be cleared, it’s weak nature not enough to provide a shooting chance. Andros Townsend chipped a clever ball over to Kyle Naughton, and the chance was spoilt with the heavy cross from the right-back.
Tottenham enjoyed good spells throughout the first half. Fazio however misjudged a cross on the 25th minute and the Partizan forward’s effort was well blocked, and eventually cleared by Bentaleb. The Algerian extended his excellent spell, when he supplied Paulinho, for the Brazilian to then strike an effort that deflected behind. Spurs’ corners were seemingly better than on Sunday, with Ben Davies sending some dangerous balls into the middle, with the keeper twice having to punch away.
Tottenham had set-up defensively very well against Partizan. Perhaps the advice of midfielder Milos Veljkovic had been reliable after all. Andros Townsend was involved in a confrontation with the linesman after an appalling decision against the winger, in which his opponent slipped and a freekick was awarded in favour of Partizan. The teams entered the break level at 0-0.
The second half began with little to note. Hugo Lloris was forced to make a selection of good saves and Davies was involved in a tussle with an opponent. Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela replaced Townsend and Paulinho moments later, only for the pair to make an instant impact. Lamela supplied Soldado on the left hand side, in which the Spaniard then curled a wonderful cross into the middle which sailed over Kane’s head.
The second half continued on a rather dull note. Spurs failed to make any real threat to the Partizan goal, and similarly the home side didn’t make much if an impact on Hugo Lloris. With only some bright spells to note, the full time whistle finished off a rather quiet night in Europe.
Lloris – Some great stops and a clean sheet (Very good)
Naughton – Didn’t have much to do. (Average)
Vertonghen – Great game, back to his best (Very good)
Fazio – Superb debut. Various clever interceptions (Very good)
Davies – Poor in my opinion, struggled all night (Poor)
Bentaleb – One of his best games (Good)
(MOTM) Stambouli – Very impressed with his performance (Excellent)
Lennon – Couldn’t get an accurate cross into the box (Average)
Townsend – Ran into trouble constantly, silly booking (Poor)
Paulinho – Nothing crucial to note (Average)
Kane – Disappointing all night. Early chance only real influence (Average)