Date : –  Wednesday 26th October 2022 Kick off : –  20.00
Competition : –  Champions League Group D Venue : –  Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Crowd : –  59,588
Referee : –  Danny Makkelie (HOL) Linesmen : –  Hessel Steegstra (HOL); Jan de Vries (HOL)
Fourth official : –  Jochem Kamphuis (HOL)
VAR official : –  Pol van Boekel (HOL) VAR Assistant : – Dennis Hilger (HOL) 
Weather : –  Dry, mild
Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the Paxton Road end
Playing time : –   90 + 12 minutes


    Bentancur  79m 40s   Edwards  21m 43s
  Romero  (??)  67   Coates  (handball)  41
       Ugarte  (foul on Bryan)  83
  Conte  (dissent)  90+9  


1.   Hugo LLORIS (c) 1.   Antonio ADAN
17.   Cristian ROMERO    25.   Goncalo INACIO
15.   Eric DIER 4.   Sebastian COATES  (c)   
33.   Ben DAVIES  (  34.   Clement LENGLET  81) 2.   MATHEUS Reis de Lima
2.   Matt DOHERTY  (  11.   BRYAN Gil  71) 24.   Pedro PORRO
5.    Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG 15.   UGARTE   
30.    Rodrigo BENTACUR  5.   Hidemasa MORITA  (  82.   Mateus FERNANDES  61) 
14.   Ivan PERISIC 11.   Nuno SANTOS  (  71.   Flavio NAZINHO  62)
27.   Lucas MOURA  (  12.   Emerson ROYAL  82) 10.   Marcus EDWARDS    (  18.   Issahaku FATAWU  71)
10.   Harry KANE 17.   Machado TRINCAO  (  33.   Arthur GOMES  71)
7.   Heung-Min SON    
20.    PAULINHO  (  3.   Jeremiah St. JUSTE  75)
Substitutes Substitutes
20.   Fraser FORSTER 12.   Franco ISRAEL
24.   Djed SPENCE 22.   Andre PAULO
6.   Davinson SANCHEZ 6.   Sotirios ALEXANDROPOULOS
25.   Japhet TANGANGA 16.   ROCHINA
38.   Yves BISSOUMA 63.   Jose MARSA
4.   Oliver SKIPP 77.   Jovane CABRAL
29.   Pape Matar SARR 84.   Dario ESSUGO
42.   Harvey WHITE   
19.   Ryan SESSEGNON   

    = Assist        =  Goal scored       =  Own goal scored

Manager : – Antonio Conte  Manager : –  Ruben Amorim
Kit Supplier : – Nike Kit Supplier : – Nike
Shirt Sponsor : – AIA Shirt Sponsor : – Betano 
Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – Super Bock
Colours : –
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Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website


Chaos reigned at the end of this Champions League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as Spurs thought a late winner had been scored, only for a VAR that decided they had not and had to settle for a draw with Sporting Lisbon.  After a shockingly bad first half by Spurs in which the “Law of the Ex” reared its head, they suddenly started to get their game together in the second half to almost clinch a vital win over Sporting Lisbon in this tight Champions League group.

There was half-time booing from the half term-ites and the TalkSport listeners, as Spurs looked to be heading for a third successive defeat, but a change in attitude put Sporting on the back foot. Having made a number of changes after losing to Mancashter and Newcash Uniteds, the Tottenham team had six changes to make a difference to the team’s performance. Antonio Conte added Lucas Moura to the front line, had Romero returning to defence with Ben Davies, while Perisic took Sessegnon’s place on the left and Matt Doherty played on the right instead of Emerson Royal. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was fit to play alongside Rodrigo Bentancur in the middle of midfield. And it seemed to work to start off with, as Tottenham looked sharp at the beginning of the match.  However, that only lasted for ten minutes, with a long ball from Dier deep into the Sporting half just unable to be brought under his control by Moura.

Loose passing was putting our defence under pressure. Up front, we were looking to turn the ball around the corner with the first touch, but the players weren’t on the same wavelength and the Sporting defence managed to pick the ball off easily. At the back, it was more of a worry as we played ourselves into problems again.

Doherty gave the ball straight to a Sporting player but did get back to block the cross that came in for a corner.  It was another corner a few minutes later that caused the Spurs fans a bit of concern, with all eyes probably focused on a near post delivery aimed at Paulinho after his late goal in the first leg, it was played into the middle and Sebastian Coates got up to put his header narrowly wide of the far post.

It wasn’t all Sporting, as a clearance fell to Doherty, who hit a volley straight at a Sporting player and then Perisic played Kane away down the left and his firmly his shot was saved by Adan unconventionally to concede a corner.  The ball shot off the keeper, going behind him to concede the set-piece.  It was defended easily, but Sporting turned into attack in a flash and should have taken the lead in the 20th minute.  Porro broke down their right wing and his low ball into the six-yard box was met by Paulinho.  The hero of the first match could only shoot over the top, when he really should have made the net bulge.

After Bentancur hit a shot at the Sporting goal when a corner was knocked out to him, but aimed it too high, suddenly Tottenham found themselves behind.  A quick free-kick in the Sporting defensive third got played through the middle.  Paulinho turned it on, Dier and Hojbjerg challenged for the ball but it broke for Marcus Edwards moving to left of the centre of the Tottenham half.  As the Spurs defenders backed off, he struck a low left foot shot into the left hand bottom corner of Lloris’s goal from 23 yards out, with the Spurs keeper somewhat caught out by the early strike.  It was on the cards that he might go one better than he did in Lisbon, when he was only denied by a fine stop by Hugo, but it was what Tottenham deserved, as the team had neither worked hard enough to move the ball forward nor got their set-up right at the back to prevent Sporting making chances.

Son had a shot that didn’t really cause Adan a problem in between a number of corners at both ends, with the nearest to a goal coming when Edwards played one in and the ball was flicked on for Coates to dive in to put the ball into the net from close range behind everyone who was caught under the ball.  His only problem was that he had punched the ball in instead of using his head (in more than one interpretation of the phrase), so he got booked.

Just before half-time, Tottenham got a free-kick 30 yards out when Harry was fouled, but what might have been an inventive free-kick, with Hojbjerg playing it short and square to Bentancur, who played it square left to Son was undone when Sonny slipped over and the opportunity evaporated.

Clive Allen’s half-time recollection of his 49 goal season was interesting, but I don’t think it was that which turned Spurs around.  I don’t know what Conte said to them in the half-time interval, but it seemed to buck up their ideas.  The aggression was visible, but controlled, the closing was more determined and the passing crisper.  Bentancur won the ball in midfield and drove on, with Hojbjerg following suit.  Players started to move off the ball and find pockets of space, with Bentancur’s left wing low ball into the box cleared, but it pinged off a defender to drop for Dier to spin and hit a shot that would have gone in if it hadn’t been blocked.  The ball came to Moura, who laid it back for Romero and with his shot blocked, Doherty had an effort that rose over the bar.  Then Son brought a save out of the keeper, before Trincao went too high with a shot when he looked to be in a dangerous position inside the Spurs box.

Spurs looked more fluid and Moura went wide with a shot before Romero picked up a yellow card that will rule him out of the final group match, but it was probably only given after the Sporting players started to push and shove our defender.  But Tottenham continued to find space and Perisic put in a deep cross beyond the penalty spot that picked out Doherty although Moura had been pulled down in the box before the ball reached him.  The Irish wing-back killed the ball and hit a left-foot shot that was creeping inside the near post until Adan managed to get an unconvincing left forearm to it, but he kept it out.

Sporting started to make changes, with Trincao and Edwards making way, the latter getting applause from Spurs fans as he made his way around the pitch, while Bryan Gil came on for Tottenham in place of Matt Doherty.  Immediately, the Spaniard looked to get on the ball and run at the Sporting defence.  He put one cross into the box, but nobody read it and generally he caused chaos amongst the opposition back line when eh took possession.  Spurs did come close to getting level when Perisic put a long cross in and Moura did very well to keep the ball in and his header back across goal panicked the keeper into having to push it over the top as it was dropping under the bar.  Sonny’s corner was whipped in and Dier won the ball at the near post, but his header went a foot too high.

It looked as though the game was up for Spurs with a quarter of an hour left, as substitute Nazinho was through in the Spurs box and his shot looked as though it might beat Hugo, but he threw out a hand to push the ball wide with a fantastic save.  Some nice passing tight to the line on the Sporting right wing freed Porro to run into the area and hit a low angled shot that Lloris did well to get down to, but the ball was pushed out in front of goal and with all of it to aim at, Nazinho somehow put the ball inexplicably wide of the right hand post.  It was a massive let off for Tottenham.

It was one that they made the most of, as Perisic put in a long cross that Bryan brought down and with had a shot that Matues Fernandes closing him down deflected for a corner.  Perisic crossed the pitch to take it and swung it into the middle, with Rodrigo Bentancur rising high to head home.  I half expected the goal to be ruled out as the goalkeeper went  down in a heap, but he never really got off the ground and flung a fist at our midfielder that got nowhere near the ball.  The goal lifted the crowd and the players, who were going all out for the winner.

It almost came when Bryan was fouled by Ugarte in the right channel, ten yards outside the box.  Son played the ball across with pace and Dier got his head to it, but it flew wide, with Bentancur just unable to reach it at the far post.  Dier was there moments later to meet Lenglet’s clip back across goal with his head, but with a man in front of him, directed it wide.  Then Hugo once more kept us in it, with a save down to his left when Issahaku got the bounce of the ball off a long clearance and hit the ball early, but Lloris responded well, with the defence getting the corner away. 

That was in the last minute, but into added time Son forced another save from Adan, with Bryan picking up the loose ball to lay it on for Bentancur, who had initially won the ball, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.  With time running out, it was Perisic again who put the ball into the mixer right footed from the left wing.  The ball curled in towards goal and went to the far post where Royal headed the ball back into the goalmouth off Nazinho.  Kane got there first to turn on the ball at the near post to thump it across the keeper into the net to send the ground into a frenzy, Spurs had done to Sporting what they had done to us in the first game, with a late winner.  The crowd and the players celebrated like crazy and the noise ratchetted up to 11.  Oh … but wait, all goals are checked to find something to disallow them for.  The officials weren’t sure what they were going to choose.  Initially offside and then a check for handball, but after four minutes (how long does it take to spot someone is offside), they decided that Kane was beyond the last man and ruled the goal out.  Pandemonium !  Boos from the crowd, questions from the players and Conte, who got a red card, all the time the Dutch referee arrogantly smiling away.  No wonder they don’t get respect.  

The game therefore ended in a draw but in a farce.  The problem is that there is no explanation why decisions are made.  Kane looked to be ahead of his man, but also behind the ball when Royal headed it back.  It is apparently offside if Kane is ahead of his marker when the ball accidentally deflects off the defender.  Well, fine, but let us know that as I must admit it wasn’t something I was aware of that would mean the goal was disallowed.  I’m not lone in that by the discussions I heard on the journey home on the train.

What had been a gutting last couple of minutes in Lisbon had become a gutting last four minutes at home and although we had pulled the game back for a draw, the win would have put us through as group winners and now it goes down to the last group matches, with all four teams having the opportunity to go through.

Spurs have had this referee in Europe before and I remember not being impressed by him.  It wasn’t just the big decision that he managed to create mayhem from, but his award of free-kicks was not even-handed across the match, with Sporting players seemingly more adept and making a tackle look like a foul.  But it was the first half display that did for us.  Why we are not able to play like we did in the second half for 90 minutes is a mystery, but the introduction of Bryan Gil certainly livened up the Tottenham play, with Bentancur outstanding and Hugo making a couple of important late saves to ensure we are still in with a shout of getting through to the knock-out stages.  Marseille will be make or break and for Spurs, we will have to give our all for the whole game.

Purcell Cole  




Group A
SSC Napoli (ITA) 3 Glasgow Rangers 0
Ajax (HOL) 1 Liverpool 2
Group B
Atletico Madrid (SPA) 2 Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 2
Club Brugge (BEL) 0 FC Porto (POR) 4
Group C
Barcelona (SPA) 0 Bayern Munich (GER) 3
Internazionale (ITA) 4 Viktoria Plzen (CZE) 0
Group D
Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) 2 Olympique Marseille (FRA) 1
Group E
Red Bull Salzburg (AUS) 1 Chelsea 2
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 0 AC Milan (ITA) 4
Group F
RB Leipzig (GER) 3 Real Madrid (SPA) 2
Glasgow Celtic (SCO) 1 Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 1
Group G
Sevilla (SPA) 3 FC Copenhagen (DEN) 0
Borussia Dortmund (GER) 0 Mancashter City 0
Group H
Paris Saint Germain (FRA) 7 Maccabi Haifa (ISR) 2
Benfica (POR) 4 Juventus (ITA) 3

Champions League Group D Table

Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Points Goal difference
1 Tottenham Hotspur 5 2 2 1 6 5 8 +1
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 5 2 1 2 5 7 7 0
3 Olympique Marseille 5 2 0 3 7 6 6 +1
4 Sporting Lisbon 5 2 1 2 7 7 6 0