Europa League Round of 16 First Leg Review: Part 2

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Internazionale Milano

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Internazionale MilanoLabeled to be probably the most exciting fixture of the night and of the competition (until now) as well, this match was taken really seriously by both sides, with both managers confirming they were very aware of each others strength. In the first leg, being played at White Hart Lane, Andrea Stramaccioni was to create more of attacking game (in order to score as many away goals as possible), because he knew that anything could have happened in the second leg; the Spurs being a strong squad. Andre Villas-Boas, in the same manner, selected a squad he knew would create better chances and score many significant away goals; Gareth Bale being the main man under the spotlight. The Portuguese manager also made sure to pick an experienced Brad Friedel over Hugo Lloris (who would have to be 100% fit for their game the coming Sunday), knowing how big of a threat Inter would be.

The Spurs didn’t allow their opponents any time to settle to White Hart Lane, and started the game as they would start if any other English club were playing. They caught their visitors sleeping and netted their first goal inside only 6 minutes when Gareth Bale found a Gylfi Sigurdsson cross and headed home. The visitors were still shaken and almost conceded a second goal just a few minutes later had Handanovic not gotten in the way of a Defoe shot. Gareth Bale had a chance to get the fastest brace in the competition’s Round of 16 just moments later, but once again, Handanovic saved. Handanovic was, however, rendered helpless when Sigurdsson got one for himself in the 18th minute with an assist from Defoe.

The second goal seemed to have woken up the visitors as Friedel started having to make saves all of a sudden. But the period of dominance from the visitors wouldn’t last long, though, and things went back to how they had started out. What was to be the last goal of the night (although it seemed there might have been more on the night) came in the 53rd minute when an in-form Vertonghen headed from a Bale corner to make it 3-0 for the Lily whites.

Nothing seemed to work in the remaining minutes for the Milan side, who had been very poor overall. Some decent attempts were made, but it just wasn’t their night.

Andre Villas-Boas and Andrea Stramaccioni lined up the following squads:

Tottenham Starting XI

Friedel, Vertonghen, Gallas, Walker, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Parker (c), Bale, Sigurdsson, Dembele, Defoe

Subs: Lloris, Dawson, Caulker, Carroll, Livermore, Holtby, and Naughton

Inter Starting XI

Handanovic, Zanetti (c), Ranocchia, Chivu, Pereira, Alvarez, Cambiasso, Gargano, Kovacic, Cassano, Juan

Subs: Belec, Mbaye, Benassi, Pasa, Palacio, Guarin, and Jonathan

Final Score: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0  Internazionale Milano

Bale 6′, Sigurdsson 18′, Vertonghen 53′

VfB Stuttgart vs. SS Lazio

VfB Stuttgart vs. SS LazioStuttgart had had an exciting Round of 32 and were now looking to advance even further when they played Italian club, Lazio. Vladimir Petkovic and his side, in the same manner, were aiming to go even further into the competition by getting as many away goals as possible in a game that would be tougher than predicted. Although having had the upper hand before the game (with a great record in European competitions this season, having avoided a loss until now and conceding only one goal at home-W6 D4), Lazio didn’t underestimate their hosts,not one bit, not even with Stuttgart’s poor home form in this season’s competition (D3 L1)!

The home side started well and a little bit more confident than their visitors, who were still slowly adjusting to playing in Germany. They had a few decent attempts, but Marchetti was there to save. 21 minutes in, however, the tables began to slowly turn, as the home defense was caught off-guard by Lazio samba boy, Ederson. Ulreich could do nothing to keep it out, and Lazio had their first away goal, which was just what they needed to motivate them on the night. The hosts kept searching for an equalizer in the minutes that followed, but Lazio’s defense was just too stubborn.

Just as the two teams prepared to go to half-time, the hosts suffered a huge blow when Maxim had to be taken off with a bloodied nose. Bruno decided that Hajnal would be the man to take his place for the rest of the game. A change that brought immediate impact, well almost! Hajnal just missed the target as soon as he’d settled into the game, and his side were still trailing at half-time.

The second half wasn’t too eventful, save for a few near-goals and a second Lazio goal (courtesy of Lazio’s strong Nigerian, Onazi just 11 minutes into the second half; once again facilitated by the home side’s poor defense), but both teams held almost equal possession. The home side had, once again, failed to get a home win in the competition in probably the last chance they were to have this season.

Both teams had 14 attempts each, although the home side had better chances. Svein Ulreich had to make 3 saves, as compared to Marchetti’s 7. Alexandru Dan Tudor, the referee on the night, issued a total of 5 yellow cards between the two teams; the home side picking one less than their visitors. No players were sent off during this match.

Bruno Labbadia and Vladimir Petkovic lined up the following squads:

Stuttgart Starting XI

Ulreich, Sakai, Tasci (c), Boka, Rudiger, Traore, Gentner, Okazaki, Macheda, Maxim, Kvist

Subs: Ziegler, Felipe Lopes, Molinaro, Holzhauser, Hoogland, Hajnal, and Harnik

Lazio Starting XI

Marchetti, Ciani, Pereirinha, Lulic, Radu (c), Onazi, Cana, Candreva, Hernanes, Ederson, Kozak

Subs: Bizzari, Andre Dias, Biava, Ledesma, Lombardi, Gonzalez, and Floccari

Final Score: VfB Stuttgart 0-2 SS Lazio

Ederson 21′, Onazi 56′

Written by Ange Marline