Europa League Quarter-Finals First Leg Review: Part 1

Fenerbahce SK vs. SS Lazio

Fenerbahce SK 2-0 SS LazioAfter a tough time in the Round of 16, Fenerbahce prepared to host a team that had been excellent in the previous round. For this reason, Aykut Kocaman was determined to do his best to ensure his boys would score as many goals as possible in the first leg before their trip to Italy for the second leg. Vladimir Petkovic, in the same manner, knew their hosts would be tough and encouraged his side to score as many away goals as they could.

The first half-hour of this game was filled with decent attempts from both teams; most of them coming from the home side and the best one being a 17th minute attempt from Moussa Sow that hit the woodwork. Federico Marchetti in the Lazio goal more than had a tough time trying to keep a clean sheet. That’s not to say that Volkan Demirel had it easy, though; Lazio were also looking to score some goals as well, Ederson and Hernanes in particular. The first half was a tight game overall.

The second half started badly for the Italian visitors as they were reduced to 10 men in only the 48th minute. Ogenyi Onazi picked up a second yellow card after a bad challenge on Cristian. This send-off almost got the home side an immediate goal, but Raul Meireles hit the woodwork, to the relief of the away side. Lazio surprisingly also started to pick up from this point, but Volkan Demirel wasn’t going to let his team down at this point.

Decent chances kept on coming in from both sides, but it seemed as though there would be no goals on the night, until the home side were awarded a penalty just 12 minutes from full time. A Radu foul led to a Fenerbahce penalty which Webo made sure not to waste, putting his side in the lead ahead of their trip to Italy for the second leg.

Lazio kept trying to counter and get an important away goal, but Fenerbahce were determined to prevent them from doing so. The home side made life even harder for their visitors when they added one more to their tally. In the first of the 4 minutes that were added on at the end of the second half, Dirk Kuyt, who had been looking for a goal for the whole night, finally got the ball past Marchetti and into the Lazio net, managing what Caner Erkin’s free-kick was aimed to do some milliseconds earlier. And it was all over for the Italians, who now had to work harder in the second leg if they hoped to progress into the semi-finals of the competition.

Fenerbahce made 21 attempts on goal (including 2 that hit the woodwork) in total, compared to Lazio’s 12. The home side had, undoubtedly, the bigger share of possession on the night. A total of 9 yellow cards were issued between the two teams on the night. 20-year-old Nigerian Ogenyi Onazi was the only player sent off during this match.

Aykut Kocaman and Vladimir Petkovic lined up the following squads:

Fenerbahce Starting XI

Demirel (c), Korkmaz, Yobo, Ziegler, Gonul, Meireles, Sow, Cristian, Topal, Kuyt, Webo

Subs: Mert Gunok, Bekir Irtegun, Selcuk Sahin, Semih Senturk, Caner Erkin, Salih Ucan, and Mehmet Topuz

Lazio Starting XI

Marchetti, Ciani, Lulic, Radu (c), Gonzalez, Onazi, Cana, Candreva, Hernanes, Ederson, Kozak
Subs: Bizzarri, Biava, Crecco, Rozzi, Ledesma, Klose, and Mauri

Final Score: Fenerbahce SK 2-0 SS Lazio

Webo 78′ (pen), Kuyt 90+1′

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Basel 1893

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Basel 1983Having gotten close to elimination in the previous round, Tottenham Hotspur knew they would have to up their game when they would host Basel of Switzerland. Murat Yakin knew his men would have to take advantage of their playing the first leg away and, in this, focused them on scoring as many away goals as they would be able to. It was going to be an exciting game.

The first 20 minutes of this match saw nothing but attempts from both sides. The visitors were, however, the much stronger side until this point. Gareth Bale, Marco Streller, and Markus Steinhofer had each given both goalkeepers a few scares with some decent attempts. 22 minutes in, and the game finally began to settle, lowering the tempo just a little bit.

The away side finally managed to break the deadlock in the 30th minute, when Valentin Stocker, having collected what was left of a decent attempt from Marco Streller, managed to put the ball into the back of the net. The away side did not allow the game to slow down and surprised their hosts with another great goal just 4 minutes later. Stocker’s corner came off Jan Vertonghen and met Fabian Frei, who headed past Friedel, to give his side a very significant advantage.

2-0 now and the hosts knew that serious work had to be done. Emmanuel Adebayor managed to give his side something for the half just 6 minutes later when he picked up from Scott Parker and shot from close range. Both teams tried to add goals for their sides in the few minutes that remained in the first half but none of their attempts were successful, at least not for then.

The second half started the same way the exciting first half had ended, with both teams coming out strong and hungry for goals. Youngsters Lewis Holtby and Mohamed Salah were shining for their sides and had early attempts, but none of them bore goals. The hosts finally managed to score an equalizer 13 minutes into the second half, through a strong shot from Gylfi Sigurdsson, deflected by Fabian Schar.

Yann Sommer had no chance of preventing this one from going in, and the game became even more interesting from this point. It was all great attempts and near-goals from then on, with neither side managing to score a winner. It was going to be all to play for in the second leg, especially for the Spurs, who would have to do with an injured Gareth Bale, who had been stretchered off towards the end of this game.

Basel had a total of 20 attempts (including one against the woodwork) on goal, compared to Tottenham’s 11. The visitors had the better chances, but the hosts had managed a great comeback to keep them alive for the second leg. A total of 3 yellow cards were issued between the two teams, the home side picking up 2 of them, and their visitors the remaining 1. No players were sent off during this game.

Andre Villas-Boas and Murat Yakin lined up the following squads:

Tottenham Starting XI

Friedel, Vertonghen, Gallas, Naughton, Assou-Ekotto, Parker (c), Bale, Dembele, Holtby, Lennon, Adebayor

Subs: Lloris, Caulker, Huddlestone, Livermore, Sigurdsson, Dawson, and Dempsey

Basel Starting XI

Sommer, Dragovic, Voser, Schar, Steinhofer, Stocker, Frei, Elneny, Salah, Die, Streller (c)

Subs: Vailati, Ajeti, Sauro, Frei, Zoua, Cabral, and Degen

Final Score: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Basel 1893

Stocker 30′, Frei 34′ | Adebayor 40′,  Sigurdsson 58′

Written by Ange Marline