Date : –  29 October 2020 Kick off : –  17.55
Competition : –  Europa League Group J   Venue : –  Bosuilstadion
Crowd : –  0,000
Referee : –  Maurizio Mariani (ITA) Linesmen : – Fabiano Preti (ITA); Daniele Bindoni (ITA)
Fourth official : –  Federico La Penna (ITA)
UEFA Delegate : –  Claude Kremer (LUX) UEFA Referee Observer : –  Darko Ceferin (SVN)  
Weather : –  Chilly, light rain
Royal Antwerp kicked off the first half.
Playing time : –   90 + 5 minutes


  Refaerov  28m 32s  
  Seck  (foul on Bergwijn)  20  
  Refaelov (foul on Hojbjerg) 54
  Verstraete (foul on Hojbjerg) 84
  Mbonkani (foul on Reguilon) 90  


46.   Jean BUTEZ  1.   Hugo LLORIS (c)
4.   Abdoulaye SECK   24.   Serge AURIER
26.   Jeremy GELIN    6.   Davinson SANCHEZ
2.   Ritchie de LAET 33.   Ben DAVIES
   3.   Sergio REGUILON
19.   Koji MIYOSHI (30.   Aurelio BUTA  58)    
16.   Pieter GERKENS    8.   Harry WINKS
38.   Faris HAROUN  (c)  18.   Giovani LO CELSO  (  5.   Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG 46)
18.   Martin HONGLA  (  5.   Birger VAERSTRAETE  70  )    
6.   Simen JUKLEROD    9.   Gareth BALE  (10. Harry KANE  58)
 20.   DELE Alli  (11. Erik LAMELA  46)
70.   Dieumerci MBOKANI   23.   Steven BERGWIJN  (23. Lucas MOURA  46)
11.   Lior REFAELOV    (24.   Cristian BENAVENTE  88)
 45.   Carlos VINICIUS  (  7.   Heung-Min SON  46)
Substitutes Substitutes
1.   Alireza BERIANVAND  12.   Joe HART
15.   15. Frank BOYA    2.   Matt DOHERTY
23.   Nana AMPOMAH    4.   Toby ALDERWEIRELD
17.   Moussa SISSOKO
 47.   Jack CLARKE
 48.   Harvey WHITE
 49.   Dennis CIRKIN


Manager : – Ivan Leko Manager : –  Jose Mourinho
Kit Supplier : –  Jako Kit Supplier : –  Nike
Shirt Sponsor : –  Ghelamco Shirt Sponsor : –  AIA
Colours : – Kit had no white neck or trim on shorts.  Socks had one white hoop near top.
Colours : – White shorts worn
Images of kits courtesy of the wonderful Colours of Football website



Tottenham’s Europa League group fixtures hit the buffers in Antwerp, where the home side hit a no so much of a lacklustre, more of a lack of ideas, Spurs 1-0 to jump ahead into top place in the early Group table.

The first ten minutes of the game saw both sides sparring with each other, mostly in midfield, but with Spurs perhaps the more  attacking, without testing the Antwerp goalkeeper. Dele found himself in a couple of good positions just outside the box, when he could have shot, but tried to pick out team-mates, but unsuccessfully.

A 13th minute corner for the home side saw Gerkens attack the near post and guided a header across the face of goal. Tottenham’s first effort came soon after, with Lo Celso curling a left foot shot from the right, but the keeper was easily behind it. He wasn’t troubled when Winks spun on a ball just outside the D of the penalty area and hurried his shot that went harmlessly wide. After failing to make a telling final pass a couple of times, Bergwijn linked well with Lo Celso and struck a shot from just outside the box, but again the keeper was behind it. 

Seck finally got the yellow card that had been coming from the start when he slid in to upend Steven Bergwijn in the centre circle, when it looked like the Spurs man would break away. Antwerp played up the right wing and Refaelov teed himself up for a volley, but he couldn’t keep it down when he went for goal. De Laet made an important intervention when Spurs worked the ball forward from defence and Vinicius was put through by Dele, but the former Leicester City defender got back to slid in and take the ball off him.

Davies got caught on the ball after a few passes that were putting Spurs players under pressure and Mbokani dinked it across to Refaelov unmarked in the middle and he rifled it past Hugo Lloris from 12 yards out. It had been a less than dynamic start by Spurs and they needed to take the game to the hosts.

It immediately started to make Spurs move the ball quicker, forcing a corner when they found Begwijn in the box, but the corner was played straight into the keeper’s hands, although Bergwijn did try a shot shortly after, when Tottenham intercepted a pass and got the ball to the Dutchman. It had power, but not direction and flew high over the bar. Nobody was looking to make a run beyond the Antwerp back line, so the game was getting squeezed and Spurs were getting caught on the ball as the home team pressed high.

A good string of passes moved Tottenham up to the edge of the Antwerp area before Vinicius’ set-back to Aurier didn’t reach it’s intended recipient and then Bergwijn and Bale tried shots, one blocked and the other off target. There seemed little threat in the team’s passing, with hopeful passes or flicks getting picked off too easily. This was in stark contrast to Antwerp’s sharp, incisive passing. That was typified when a pass inside Reguilon sent Miyoshi away on the right, inside the area, but Sergio recovered his position to cut out the Japanese winger’s ball into the middle.

Having made four changes at the interval. Jose Mourinho would not have been happy to see Harry Winks play a shocking pass away from Sanchez, allowing Refaelov to run in on goal. Fortunately, Davinson managed to get back in time to put in a Ledley King style challenge to take the ball away from the Antwerp scorer, just as he was about to shoot.

It gave Spurs the shock they needed to get moving and they did look a bit more decisive, although, again, they failed to produce much to bother the Antwerp goalie. Unlike at the other end, where Myoshi got past Sanchez too easily on their left wing and his ball across went to Mbokani at the far post and from a couple of yards out, he somehow contrived to sky the ball over the bar, with the goal gaping in front of him. That wasn’t the end of it, as Juklerod got the ball out on the Antwerp left and from 28 yards out, tried to curl the ball over Lloris’ head, but the Spurs captain back-tracked to tip the ball over the bar.

Just after the hour, Lamela, Moura put together come first time passes to set Son up in the middle, but Seck did enough to block his effort. Aurier put in a wicked, pacy cross that Lamela didn’t get to, when he could have thrown himself at it. Lucas did well to win a lazy Refaelov pass, but then as he ran towards the centre of the pitch, he played a soft pass that was never going to reach Son.  Tottenham’s use of dead-ball situations was poor, with the keeper claiming the ball most times.

Antwerp also weren’t making the most of their chances, as they broke on Spurs when the ball was won inside their own half and two passes later, Juklerod was running free on goal. As he approached the box, he tried to use power to beat Lloris, but his shot went wildly high into the empty stand behind the goal. The same player made a powerful run down the left, finding Refaelov, who passed inside the box to Verstraete. Lamela hadn’t tracked his run and luckily, weight of numbers blocked his shot when it could easily have been 2-0.

Whenever Spurs got into a shooting position, a leg or a foot got to the ball to deny them getting an effort away on goal.  Not a lot happened in the last ten minutes, with Winks hitting a left foot shot over from left of centre outside the box. A free-kick into the box saw Kane and Son have shots blocked as red shirts desperately threw themselves in front of the ball. Moura fired too high too and the home team played out the couple of minutes of added time left with ease.

Reguilon didn’t have the space to use, as Spurs played narrow for most of the game, while Aurier got the ball in wide positions, but with one exception, failed to get the ball into dangerous areas. The game turned on a goal that Spurs were too soft on and they couldn’t turn that around, mainly because the home side worked very hard and passed the ball accurately and decisively. It was a poor performance and they should have beaten a team with players who have played for Middlesbrough, MK Dons, Hull and Norwich. Against a team who have had trouble keeping clean sheets, Tottenham made them look like an Iron Curtain of a defence, with the keeper having to make very few saves. Seeing as how Tottenham have been so free-scoring, it was hard to reconcile what went on tonight.

Players like Dele, Lamela and Bergwijn did themselves few favours tonight, but then not many came out of it with much to be  pleased about. Jose won’t be pleased either, but chopping and changing the side finally came home to roost tonight, as the team looked like they weren’t used to playing together, with little confidence in each other and unsure where they should be when in possession.

It put an end to a ten game unbeaten run and the response that Jose will be looking for will be a return to the form they have shown when they play Brighton on Sunday. The bigger issue is that this will give opposition teams an idea of how to play against Spurs. The mistake leading to the goal might not be made every week, but other chances were there for the taking, while we struggled to make  much of a dent in their defence, even after all the changes.

It may not make too much difference in the outcome of the group, but they will need to beat Antwerp at home and convincingly, to make sure that if both teams win their remaining games, it will need a better head to head record with the Belgians.

Orton Brimbles



Ben Davies plays his 200th Spurs match.

Hugo Lloris plays his 100th European match.


Other Europa League Results
AS Roma (ITA) 0 CSKA Sofia (BUL) 0
CFR Cluj (ROM) 1 Young Boys Bern (SWI) 1
Woolwich Wanderers 3 Dundalk 0
Molde (NOR) 1 Rapid Wien (AUS) 0
Slavia Prague (CZE) 1 Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 0
Nice (FRA) 1 Hapoel Beer Shava (ISR) 0
Glasgow Rangers (SCO) 1 Lech Poznan (POL) 0
Benfica (POR) 3 Standard Liege (BEL) 0
Omonoia (CYP)
1 PSV Eindhoven (HOL) 2
Granada (SPA) 0 PAOK (GRE) 0
Real Sociedad (SPA) 0 Napoli (ITA) 1
AZ Alkmaar (HOL) 4 Riejka (CRO) 1
Zorya Luhansk (UKR) 1 Braga (POR) 2
AEK Athens (GRE) 1 Leicester City 2
AC Milan (ITA) 3 Sparta Prague (CZE) 0
LOSC (FRA) 2 Glasgow Celtic (SCO) 2
Sivasspor (TUR) 1 Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR) 2
Qarabag (AZE) 1 Villarreal (SPA) 3
LASK (AUS) 4 Ludogorets (BUL) 3
Feyenoord (HOL) 1 Wolfsberg (GER) 4
CSKA Moscow (RUS) 0 Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 0
Red Star Belgrade (SER) 5 Liberec (CZE) 1
Gent (BEL) 1 Hoffenheim (GER) 4


Group J Table

Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Points GD
Royal Antwerp 2 2 0 0 3 1 6 +2
THFC 2 1 0 1 3 1 3 +2
LASK 2 1 0 1 4 6 3 -2
Ludogorets 2 0 0 2 4 6 0 -2