WOLFSBERGER AC  (Austria)  1  (0)  TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR  4  (3) 
Date : –  18th February 2021 Kick off : –  17.55
Competition : –   Europa League  Round of 32  First Leg Venue : –  Puskas Arena, Budapest
Crowd : –  0,000
Referee : –  Ali Palabiyik (TUR) Linesmen : – Mr. Ceyhun Sesiguzel; Mr. Serkan Olguncan  (TUR)
Fourth official : –  Alpar Ulusoy  (TUR)
Weather : –  Cold, dry
Wolfsberger kicked off the first half
Playing time : –   90 + 5 minutes


    Liendl  (p)  54m 24s   Son  12m 34s
       Bale  27m 55s
       Moura  33m 50s
     Vinicius  87m 18s
  Sprangler  (foul on Moura)  62   Dele  (foul on Baumgartner)  42
      Sissoko  (foul on Wernitznig)  54
    Hojbjerg  (dissent)  81


31.   Alexander KOFLER  1.   Hugo LLORIS (c)
27.   Michael NOVAK  ( 6.   Mario PAVELIC  81) 2.   Matt DOHERTY
44.   Luka LOCHOSHVILI 15.   Eric DIER
4.   Jonathan SCHERZER 33.   Ben DAVIES
19.   Sven SPRANGLER    ( 2.   Guram GIORBELIDZE  65) 8.   Harry WINKS
17.   Moussa SISSOKO    ( 5.  Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG  64  ) 
30.   Matthaus TAFERNER  ( 3.   Gustav HENRIKSSON  46)    
10.   Michael LIENDL  (c)  (p) 27.   Lucas MOURA    ( 23.  Steven BERGWIJN  64)
24.   Christopher WERNITZNIG 20.   DELE Alli    ( 28.  Tanguy NDOMBELE  64)
9.   Gareth BALE    ( 11.  Erik LAMELA  64)
9.   Dejan JOVELJIC  ( 8.   Cheikou DIENG  65)    
11.   VIZINGER  ( 17.   Kai STRATZNIG  46) 7.   Heung-Min SON    ( 45.   Carlos VINICIUS  46  )
Substitutes Substitutes
29.   Manuel KUTTIN 12.   Joe HART
21.   David SKUBL 41.   Alfie WHITEMAN
23.   Lukas SCHOFL  55.   Marcus LAVINIER
5.   Stefan PERIC  6.   Davinson SANCHEZ
16.   Mario LEITGEB  25.   Japhet TANGANGA
15.   Nemanja RNIC  44.   Jamie BOWDEN
18.   Thorsten ROCHER  53.   Dane SCARLETT


Manager : –  Ferdinand Feldhofer Manager : –  Jose Mourinho
Kit Supplier : –  San Sirro Kit Supplier : –  Nike
Shirt Sponsor : –  RZ Pellets Shirt Sponsor : –  AIA
Colours : –
White socks worn
Colours : –


Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website



A 4-1 away win in a Europa League tie moved to Budapest from Austria because of Covid-19 travel restrictions handed Tottenham a huge advantage over Wolfsberger, who were the lowest ranked team left in the competition.  However, once more, a piece of slack play and with the woodwork coming to our rescue, we might have let the minnows back into the tie before sealing the win late on.

With Wolfsberger pushing high up on the Spurs defence from the start, they looked as though they were keen to try and win the ball as near the  Tottenham goal as possible, but it was clear that it would leave space to be exploited if they were caught with too many players up field, Son had a chance in the fifth minute, when he received the ball in a central position 18 yards out, switched the ball to his left foot and curled it just wide of the goal. Dele was unmarked to his left and was not happy that he had not been given the ball.

A move started on the left by Lucas Moura was played right to Matt Doherty. The full back slipped it forward into the box, where Gareth Bale struck it across goal first time and Heung-Min Son ducked on the six-yard line at the near post to head it across the keeper to score a very good goal. It was a move that showed how Spurs can play when they move well and produce some crisp passing.  Dele showed a great piece of skill on 20 minutes to nutmeg a defender tight to the line in the area and hit a shot that deflected off the man in front of him and went through the keeper but ended up going just wide. A couple of minutes after that, Wolfsberger had their first effort on target, with Joveljic cutting inside onto his left foot from the right side of the goal to shoot low, but Hugo made sure he got everything behind it.

A ball out of defence up to Son on the halfway line was held up and then played out to Doherty on the right wing.  Again, he slipped it forward to Bale, who shaped to cross and chopped the ball back, sending the defender sliding past him. On his left foot, he powered a shot across the keeper from a narrow angle and into the far side of the goal to make it 2-0. It was a flash of the old Gareth Bale that Spurs fans had seen in the past.

With half an hour gone, Wolfsberger hit the bar when Vizinger put in a very firm header from a right-wing cross, which Lloris got a strong hand to,  stretching up to his right and pushing the ball onto the bar.  However, when Spurs won the ball and fed it to Lucas on the left, he ran at the defence, leaving four black and white shirts behind him as he cut into the penalty area and buried a low shot to the keeper’s right for goal number three. As soon as the ball was being turned over, Wolfsberger were struggling and Tottenham were taking full advantage.

Five minutes before the break, Liendl had a shot after Vizinger had held the ball up well, but although it bounced just in front of Hugo, he made sure that it was safe in his grasp as he dived to his right. It was obvious that the Spurs players did not want to give Vizinger the chance to go down in the box, as they stood off him, not making a challenge. At the other end, Dele was chasing players down and when he caught Baumgartner, the referee decided it was worth a yellow card.

Just before the break, Joveljic stopped just outside the box and won a free-kick just left of the D when
Sissoko ran into the back of him. Wernitznig stepped up to take it right footed but was just a foot over the bar with his effort that was the last kick off the first half.

Mourinho rested Son for the second half, with Vinicius coming on for a run-out, while Wolfsberger made two changes, looking to stiffen things up after conceding three in the first half. Spurs were continuing to attack and four minutes in, Dele slipped a pass inside the area for Bale to run onto and hit a low drive that had the keeper diving to push the ball away with his left hand as he dived that way.  Wolfsberger had a good move with Novak nut-megging Lucas and a volley from a cross ending up over the bar, but then Sissoko brought down Vizinger after the ball got away from him in the box and Liendl stepped up to stroke the ball to Hugo’s left as he dived the wrong way.

Tottenham almost had a penalty of their own straight away, but Moura was brought down just outside the left side of the box. He took the free-kick himself and went for goal, but the effort cleared the bar.  Spurs needed to ram home their advantage rather than concede one and Wolfsberger looked a little more confident going forward, when a clean sheet would have been what would have boosted Tottenham.

A quick release by Lloris, launching the ball forward into the Wolfsberger half saw Kofler miss his kick and then stumble around the ball before somehow escaping the attention of Gareth Bale. Lamela and Bergwijn replaced Bale and Moura, with Vinicius almost playing a pass into the path of Bergwijn in the box, with the keeper beating him to the ball. The home team were still looking to cut the deficit and were unlucky when Wernitznig stretched to fire in a shot that hit the underside of the bar and bounced down on the line and out.

The game was moving from end to end and Vinicius chased down a ball in the box, pulled it back to Dele, who was unable to get the ball under control to shoot, but it was nicked off him by a defender, only to go to Steven Bergwijn and his low shot was kept out by the Kofler’s left foot.

Henriksson made a good block to prevent Lamela’s shot getting through after Bergwijn had teed him up and after a couple of substitutions, Ndombele was rugby tackled by a defender as he ran through the Wolfsberger side and the referee didn’t see it as a free-kick !

As the game entered the 88th minute, Hojbjerg took the ball on after Matt Doherty won the ball and the Dane dinked a cross in for Lamela to head towards goal. As it reached the six-yard line, Vinicius was there to toe the ball wide of Kofler on the volley to give Spurs some breathing space in the tie.

As the final few minutes were played out, the second leg looked a more straightforward prospect at his stage. It should have been even more comfortable, but Mourinho had to bring on some of the regulars to see the game out and a big win here would have meant resting a few more players in the return leg.  As it stands, there will have to be a strong spine next Wednesday to ensure that the tie is put out of Wolfsberger’s reach before he gives the fringe members of the squad some more playing time.

Dele and Gareth Bale both played a decent half of football, while the team was generally solid even though there were a couple of worrying moments. Against this sort of opposition, Spurs should really be wiping the floor with them, even though Wolfsberger gave it everything. It was nice to win a European away leg, as it is not something that has happened often over the recent years, but the lack of a killer instinct nearly cost us once more.

Anyway, there is always another game on the horizon and Spurs will need to regroup as they return to
Premier League action on Sunday with the need for points being quite pressing.

Stanford Rivers




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