Spurs 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen: (match report)
Spurs’s hopes of making the last 16 of the UEFA Champions league were dented last night, after a woeful Spurs side were defeated 1-0 by Bayer Leverkusen at Wembley stadium. Mauricio Pochettino’s side were shapeless and their usual intensity just wasn’t there, Leverkusen played very similar football to us and they were ultimately the better side on the side. It took us a while to get into the match and the lads lacked creativity, with Roger Schmidt’s side looking the more dangerous early on. Shortly after the half hour mark Spurs had their first real chance of the game after Christian Eriksen powered an effort at goal from 25 yards out, which the Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno parried. 43 minutes in Leverkusen almost took the lead, after Walker was robbed of the ball on the edge of the penalty area by Brandt who was on the verge of pulling the trigger only to be tackled excellently by Jan Vertonghen. The ball fell to former Manchester United man Javier Hernandez who seemed destined to score from just 15 yards out but the Mexican internationals shot flicked off the boot of Vertonghen to go narrowly wide of the left post, it was a terrific piece of defending from Vertonghen.
We started the second half brightly looking much sharper in the park, and the lads were almost in front after Eriksen saw his fine effort from 20 yards out, dart narrowly wide of the left post. Twelve minutes later Spurs again went close to breaking the deadlock this time through Kyle Walker, the England right back burst through the midfield and into the box before firing a low effort narrowly wide of Leno’s left post. However, just five minutes later the Lillywhites were stunned after Bayer Leverkusen took the lead through winger Kevin Kampl. Charles Aranguiz hit an effort from 20 yards out which was deflected by Davies into the path of Kampl who slotted the ball past Lloris from six yards out. With just eight of normal time remaining Spurs knew it was make or break time, and the Lillywhites were presented with a decent opportunity to equalise with a free kick on the edge of Leverkusen’s box. Up stepped Eric Dier to wonderfully curl the ball onto the upright, with the rebound falling to Janssen who couldn’t make sufficient contact with the ball, the final score Spurs 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen.
It was an awful night at Wembley for both the players and supporters, Mauricio Pochettino spoke after the game saying “I’m very disappointed. We were poor and the result wasn’t good. There are no excuses, it’s not Wembley, it’s not the pitch, we were poor and that is all. We didn’t play well in both games against Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen. We showed a lack of energy and a lack of aggression in front of goal and when you play in the Champions League, it’s important to show more quality, more energy.” I admire Pochettino’s honesty and critique of our performance but I can’t help but feel that playing at Wembley is a big factor in our bad performances. The lads chances of qualification have been severely dented and if they are to qualify for the last 16 than they must improve drastically at Wembley. I thought our best player last night was Jan Vertonghen the Belgium international was excellent in the centre of defence and he demonstrated his sheer class as a defender. Apart from Vertonghen’s superb display I don’t feel as if any of our other outfield players really turned up, I do however feel that some people’s criticisms of Moussa Sissoko’s display were incredibly harsh. Sissoko by no means had his best performance but he wasn’t the only one, and I still believe that the France international will justify his £30 million pound transfer fee.
We must move on now to Sunday’s massive north London Derby match at the Emirates against Arsenal, we may be winless in six matches but I feel that our players will return to form on Sunday especially with the return of star man Harry Kane. On a more positive our under 19’s put in an excellent performance to defeat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in the UEFA Youth league, picking up their first victory of the tournament to keep them in with a chance of progressing to the next round.
My man of the match: Jan Vertonghen. Vertonghen was terrific in the centre of defence he made some excellent challenges and he was the reason we weren’t defeated by more than one goal.
Spurs (4-3-2-1): Lloris (c), Walker, Vertonghen, Dier, Davies; Dembele (Janssen 30), Wanyama; Sissoko, Alli, Eriksen (Winks 65), Son (Nkoudou 73). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Carter-Vickers, Rose, Onomah.
Leverkusen (4-4-2): Leno; Henrichs, Tah, Toprak (c), Wendell; Brandt (Calhanoglu 70), Aranguiz (Havertz 86), Baumgartlinger, Kampl (Volland 85), Mehmedi, Hernandez. Substitutes (not used): Ozcan, Dragovic, Kiessling, Jedvaj.
Goal: Leverkusen – Kampl 65.
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden).