Europa League Final

europa-league-2013

Thursday 16 May:

FA Cup winners Tottenham Hotspur head to Amsterdam for the second of three must-win matches in eight days to keep up their hopes of a historic treble this season. Standing in their way are Montpellier who will be looking to put some gloss on what has been a disappointing season for the last season’s French champions, currently 12th in the league and beaten in the French Cup semi-final last week.

Tottenham made it through the Europa League Group stages from the group stages which pitted them against Hajduk Split, Anorthosis Famagusta and group winners Lazio who pipped Spurs on goal difference after both went undefeated through the six-match group stage. Montpellier were one of the eight teams who found themselves in the Europa League after bowing out of the Champions League, finishing third in their groups. Two defeats to Porto, as well as stumbling at Udinese saw the French champions drop to the Europa League instead.

Spurs can call on a fully-fit first team squad for the match at the Amsterdam ArenA, while Montpellier will be unable to call upon Younes Belhanda who won’t be fit until the start of next season after suffering knee ligament damage. Tottenham have won the equivalent of the Europa League twice, in 1972 and 1984. Montpellier will be playing in their first continental final in the club’s history.

En route to the final, Spurs have won 10 of their matches in the competition, drawing the other four, scoring 31 goals in the process. Montpellier have met English opposition twice in the competition already, Firstly in the form of Liverpool in the second knockout round, progressing on aggregate with a 2-1 home win after a 1-1 draw at Anfield. The semi-finals saw them progress on away goals past Chelsea  After today, Spurs host West Brom on Sunday in their final Premier League fixture knowing a solid win will more than likely see them lift the title for the first time since 1961.

Route to the Final – Tottenham Hotspur:

  • Group H: Lazio (h) 1-1, (a) 1-1
  • Group H: Anorthosi (h) 2-0, (a) 2-0
  • Group H: Hajduk (h) 3-0, (a) 3-1
  • 1st K/O: Rubin Kazan (h) 2-0, (a) 1-1
  • 2nd K/O: Shalke (h) 4-0, (a) 3-1
  • QF: Athletic Bilbao (h) 3-1, (a) 2-2
  • SF: Spartak Moscow (h) 2-0, (a) 2-1

Route to the Final – Montpellier HSC:

  • Champions League, Grp E: FC Porto (h) 0-3, (a) 0-3
  • Champions League, Grp E: Olympiakos (h) 2-1, (a) 1-2
  • Champions League, Grp E: Udinese (h) 2-1, (a) 1-1
  • Europa League, 1st K/O: Ajax (h) 3-0, (a) 0-0
  • 2nd K/O: Liverpool (h) 2-1, (a) 1-1
  • QF: Olympique Marseille: (h) 0-0, (a) 1-1
  • SF: Chelsea (h) 1-0, (a) 1-2

europaleague_2013final_lineups

First half, @realtimeFM:

0′ Montpellier kick off here at the Amsterdam ArenA.

15′ Quarter of an hour gone and Spurs have had 63% possession but not forced a save from Jourdren yet. As ever, Bale is the major threat.

17′ Herrera has a glorious chance for Montpellier when a cross deflects into his path but he blazes into Row Z from 12 yards out.

22′ Bocaly muscles past Sandro but can’t keep his cross down. Play pulled back for a foul on the wing though, and Sandro goes into the book.

25′ Great work from Solueymane Camara to evade the attentions of Huddlestone and sting Lloris’s plans. Kaboul clears for a corner.

34′ Montpellier are starting to come into this but look vulnerable to Spurs on the counter. Sosa looked after but Bale being given freedom.

35′ Scott Parker flies into a challenge on Marveaux and joins Sandro in the book.

37′ MONTPELLIER SCORE! Spurs make a hash of clearing corner, leaving Camara time to drive the ball back in the box for MOURNIER to tap home.

40′ Huddlestone comes closest for Spurs so far. His low drive from the edge of the box clips the post and goes wide after Bale cuts inside.

HT: Spurs have had 68% possession but just one shot to Montpellier’s five. Only stat the matters though is that Montpellier lead 1-0.

europaleague_2013final_htstats

Second half, @realtimeFM:

46′ Spurs made TWO changes at half-time. Steady yourselves, as AVB has replaced Bale and Huddlestone with Sigurdsson and Assou-Ekotto. Wow.

52′ Jermain Defoe comes on for Scot Parker. AVB has rolled all three of his dice now.

57′ Defoe becomes the third Spurs player in the book as his flailing arm catches Mbiwa.

60′ Christian Fuchs becomes the fourth player (all Spurs) in the book aft he clatters Camara on the right wing.

63′ Spurs muster their first shot at goal this half. Sosa flicks a header on from Sigurdsson’s free kick but it drops wide.

67′ A fine Spurs move breaks down when Adebayor is caught offside. He gobs off at the Lino and joins four team mates on yellow cards.

FULL TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Montpellier. Montpellier inflict the first defeat on Spurs in 30 matches to win the Europa League.

europaleague_2013final_ftstats

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