Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tottenham Hotspur - FK Partizan 1:0 (UEFA Europa League)

We knew we had no chance to qualify for the next round of Europa League even before travelling to England, so the team arrived with no pressure on them. Therefore we played a great game. Our line-up was 4-3-3, Grbić was in the front line on the right side, Škuletić found himself in the middle.

Yet the first 5 minutes brought three (3) dangerous Tottenham chances. The first came in the 2nd minute, for our luck Soldado missed it. A minute later our defenders cleaned, then in the 5th minute Naughton had a too wide shot.

RTS’s speaker repeatedly called Tottenham's defender Vlad Chiriches "Hungarian". He even made it sure the great defender is the member of the Hungarian national team. Well, it's true, my miserable homeland's national team needs such class defenders as one needs water in the desert, but I doubt our brave neighbours in the East would get a laughing fit (including Chiriches) if they got to know such a "charge" was brought against their player. Don't take me wrong: all my respect goes to Romania and Romanian football, in the spirit of peaceful coexistence.

We had a short time meanwhile to find our breath, while a handful of Partizan fans made their voice heard (they were louder than the locals). In the 8th minute Tottenham attacked again, Ćirković headed the ball to corner.
In the 10th minute Grbić got the ball and ran up in the right side. He passed it to Škuletić, who missed it by being just one step behind... Two minutes later again Tottenham banged the door at Lukač’s home. Thankfully they were not allowed to enter. Then in the 15th minute again Grbić ran up, passed again to Škuletić, but this time defenders cleared the area.
In the 18th minute we got a free kick. The ball flew up and almost left the field through the base line, but Branko Ilić saved it.

He passed it back to the penalty area line, where Lazović has been waiting. He finally missed the chance.
In the 21st minute all we could see was someone kicking Ninković to the ground, then in the next moment Tottenham was in front of our goal line. Lamela kicked the ball into the middle, most probably to Soldado, but everyone was behind 1-2-3 steps, all Tottenham and Partizan players. (That was our luck, because if Soldado had been at his place, the result would have been 1:0 at this point.)
Then a fan ran into the field, all of a sudden. It was a big black man, one of the locals. He ran around the field, had a big grin on his face, made selfies with the players, playing hide-and-seek with security guards, who finally successfully push him off the grass.

Naughton is not impressed

Amazing. Okay, next. Ninković got the ball. Džigi ran up, slalomed himself through Tottenham’s half and made a huge kick to the goal from about 18 metres. Pity that Llorente was at his place.

Tottenham immediately started a counter-attack, Ćirković cleared again to corner.
In the 26th minute another fan ran into the field. He was also just running around, though he made no selfies. He still freaked Soldado out so much, that the Spanish forward grabbed the guy and pulled his shirt off. (He made no trouble about it, just continued to run around shirtless. Security guards pushed him off the grass, too.)

In the 28th minute again Škuletić had a great chance. He got the ball from Lazović, but Llorente saved.

At this point Tottenham was less in control of the game than earlier. Partizan broke out of the "bunker". In the 38th minute the home team was wandering around Partizan’s penalty area. Finally Stambouli sent a 20-metre shot to the goal line, Lukač had a great save. We immediately started a counter-attack, Ninković ran up and kicked a marvellous, 40-metre bomber. Llorente saved.
Then a third fan ran into the field.
The Ukrainian referee got fed up and sent the whole branch back to the locker-room, while security personnel threw themselves onto the funny guy and literally carried him off the grass. About 10 minutes later the game continued.

As I later got to know, these three self-appointed pranksters were paid for this trolling. They were all wearing similar shirts with the logo of a company that makes earphones. They even uploaded a video to Youtube about their adventure.

In the 45+8th minute Partizan got a corner. It made a big upheaval inside Tottenham's penalty area, finally it resulted a goal kick, meanwhile it seemed as Chiriches pulled Škuletić to the ground. Two minutes later Lazović had a shot flying above the goalpost, then in the last minute Lamela had a try, but Lukač saved.
At the beginning of the second half Tottenham got the lead. They were running up wild towards Partizan’s penalty area. First Soldado made a shot, but Lukač saved with a great movement. The ball dropped back to the penalty area. Stambouli grabbed it and kicked it into the empty net. 1:0

Two minutes later they ran up again on Partizan’s half. This time Stanković blocked their try, but Tottenham still owned the ball. Finally Lukač caught it and we could go for a counter-attack. Lazović got up to the home team’s penalty area, he even made a shot but missed.

In the 55th minute there were two dangerous scenes in front of Partizan’s goal line. Soldado made a shot (I don’t say it was not offside...), Lukač saved. The second attack came almost immediately. Volkov cleared it, kicking the ball out from almost the goal line, standing behind Partizan’s goalkeeper, who was lying on the ground. Three minutes later again Tottenham had a chance, Lamela made a distant shot, barely missed.

In the 68th minute once again Tottenham attacked. Again Lamela made a shot, it flew out above the goalpost. Immediate Partizan counter-attack, Grbić ran up almost to the base line and passed it to Živković. The midfielder shot, but the ball flew out near the goalpost.
In the 72nd minute Tottenham got a free kick, approx. 20 metres from our goal line. Lukač had a huge save, pushing the ball to corner. The incoming kick hit a player, Partizan’s goalkeeper saved again with a marvellous movement. Three minutes later we made a counter-attack (followed by Lukač running out for a shot with great pace). Grbić had the ball, running up and kicked, but missed.
In the 83rd minute it was almost 2:0, but the home player was on offside. Two minutes later we got a free kick. Volkov raised up to head the ball into Tottenham’s net. Lloris had a great save, Živković arrived out of the blue, but shot the ball on the side net.
In the 88th minute Tottenham missed a huge chance. (Average Fan didn’t really mind it.) Lukač ran out and saved Stambouli’s attack. The ball dropped right in front of Lamela, all doors and windows were open, but the Argentinian midfielder missed it.

Partizan bench

It was the very end, the 90+1st minute. Tottenham attacked again, making a huge upheaval inside Partizan’s penalty area. One of our defenders (I’m not sure if it was Volkov, Ćirković or someone else) tackled the attacker, who fell on the ground. Some complained for penalty, but the referee said no - the slow motion replay confirmed the referee’s decision. After all these Lukač performed one of the savings of his career, when Lamela sent the ball again to the goal. (Many thanks to Tottenham’s Argentinian player to give so many chances for Lukač to be able to show his class.)


Venue: White Hart Lane, London
Number of spectators: 20 000
Referee: Yevhen Aranovskiy (assistants: Oleksandr Voytyuk, Oleksandr Komiyko - 4th assistant: Serhiy Bekker - goal line assistants: Serhiy Boiko, Anatoliy Abdula) - UKR

Tottenham Hotspur: Llorente - Naughton, Vertonghen, Chiriches, Davies - Stambouli, Dembele (Bentaleb, 56.) - Lennon, Paulinho (Winks, 87.), Lamela - Soldado (Kane, 66.)
Head coach: Mauricio Pochettino

FK Partizan: Lukač - B. Ilić, Ćirković, Stanković, Volkov - Ninković (A. Živković, 62.), Marković, S. Ilić (Marinković, 74.) - Lazović, Škuletić (Kojić, 78.), Grbić
Head coach: Marko Nikolić

Goal scorer: Stambouli (49.)
Yellow card: Stambouli (51.), Grbić (72.), B. Ilić (86.)

(photos: Facebook/Fudbalski klub Partizan)

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