Tottenham finished second in Group C of the Europa League after a 1-0 defeat away at Besiktas in Istanbul.
The game began on a rather dull note. Tottenham dominated the early moments, with Roberto Soldado involved in much of the action. Kyle Walker was in fine form on his return to action, as he won an early free-kick after making a dynamic run into the middle of the park. Soldado earned a corner as he performed a great flick towards Nacer Chadli, who’s cross resulted in the corner.
The best chance of the half fell to Roberto Soldado. Nacer Chadli round himself with the ball down the left side, however his cross was far too high for the small Spaniard. The ITV pundits pointed out that had Soldado made the run towards the back-post (as opposed to running through the centre), he may have had a better chance of converting the cross.
The biggest moment of the half came after 8 minutes of play. A floodlight failure resulted in the game being temporarily postponed, in which the players left the field. After a brief spell inside the dressing room, the players re-emerged and began some warm-ups with their respective coaches.
The game continued and Spurs had another chance to go ahead. Stambouli should have finished at the back post after a dangerous Paulinho cross resulted in a skirmish inside the Besiktas box. The game quietened down from there on, with Dembélé desperately attempting to help his side get ahead. Nacer Chadli had the ball in the back of the net after 26 minutes, although the official had already raised his flag. Spurs ended the half having been the better side, with only one Besiktas effort causing concern, although the ball ended in the back of the stand.
Spurs kicked off the second half, Walker and Townsend taking it in turns to terrorise the Besiktas defence on the right flank. The reunited pair looked dangerous even after recovering from their respective injuries.
After a sparkling Stambouli run, Rose’s cross was deflected. It summed up the Spurs performance, brilliant buildup, but lacking the finish in the final third. A Townsend delivery from the free-kick was not capitalised on regardless of the accurate cross.
Spurs conceded in the 59th minute after sloppy defending, giving the ball away far too cheaply, a lack of desire and a disorderly defence contributed to the goal. Even without their talisman Demba Ba, Besiktas had pulled them apart.
However, Soldado had not given up for Spurs yet. He won a corner with his deflected shot, but the resulting corner saw him put another shot wide from an awkward chance. Unlucky. Surely Soldado would put one in soon?
Besiktas should have had a second after once again Spurs gave the ball away incredibly cheaply. Poor play from Dembele. Fortunately, the striker could not convert the chance. A double sub of Lamela and Lennon seemed to shake things up.
The sluggish movement in the final third provided no options for Spurs to attack the Besiktas goal. Attacks quickly broke down to give Besiktas the counter attack. With no Eriksen or Mason, creativity was severely lacking. It didn’t help that Chadli was also later moved up top to fill Soldado’s void as he left the pitch. What organisation Spurs had left was thrown away. Time ticked away, the ball mainly bobbling around in Tottenham’s own half. The last ten minutes all seemed to roll into one monotonous slur. Besiktas had create chances and taken them, unlucky not to score one or even two more. However, with a bit more luck Soldado may have easily put one of his chances away to change the game. A goal would have rekindled Tottenham’s spirits and fired them on to topping the group.
It wasn’t to be. Once again, the lights dimmed to put an end to a poor Tottenham performance.
Vorm: Made some decent saves. Couldn’t do a great deal about the goal conceded. (Good)
Walker: Promising return. Looked better than most players even though he hasn’t played for 9 months. (Good)
Kaboul: Shaky at times, some decent defending though (Average)
Chiriches: Similarly to Kaboul, nothing too bad or good ( Average)
Rose: Up and down the wing, committed to tackles. (Good)
Dembélé: Some good moments in the first half, poor touches in the second (Average)
Stambouli: Kept the ball better than the other midfielders. Some good technique and skill shown. (Good)
Townsend: Still recovering by the looks of it. Predictable and often lost the ball (Average)
Paulinho: Put a decent shift in, a mixture of good to poor set pieces. (Average)
Chadli: Played well up into being moved into striker, not his natural position obviously. (Good)
Soldado: Missed a few chances. Should have scored at least once. (Average)