Spurs under 23’s versus NK Dinamo Zagreb 2: (match preview)
Our under 23’s will be preparing to host Croatian side NK Dinamo Zagreb 2 on Tuesday evening at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium, in the quarter finals of this seasons Premier League International Cup. This is a massive game for Wayne Burnett’s side who for one night at least will be able to forget about their poor league form, and focus on booking their place in the semi-finals of this seasons Premier League International Cup. Spurs qualified for the knockout stages of this competition after topping a group which contained Wolfsburg II, Athletic Bilbao B and Norwich City. Whereas tomorrows opposition qualified for this stage of the competition as one of the two best placed runners up. Igor Jovicevic’s side picked up two wins from group A after beating both Porto B and West Ham United. They did however, fall to a 1-0 defeat to Southampton in their opening group game. The Croatian giants have long been famed for their world famous academy set up which has produced world class players such as former Spurs player Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian clubs second team ply their trade in the second division of Croatian football (the 2 NHL). Although the league appears to be on some sort of mid season break, Dinamo Zagreb occupy second spot in the table, just two points off league leaders Sibenik. Interestingly Jovicevic’s side haven’t played a competitive game of football since they took on Porto B in the group stages of this competition, back in November. Their lack of competitive football and match sharpness could work in Spurs’ favour on Tuesday. I’ve been doing a fair bit of research on Dinamo Zagreb’s second team since the draw for the quarter finals was made. Some of the players to keep an eye on tomorrow if they are involved, will be Dinamo’s 22 year old goalkeeper Lovro Juric, 25 year old right back Tomislav Barisic and forwards Mario Cuzi and Leon Sipos. It will be fascinating to see how the visitors will approach tomorrow’s cup game, but one things for certain and that is that their quality cannot and should not be underestimated.
The beauty of competitions like this one is that young English teams such as Spurs get the opportunity to go toe to toe with some of the continents best development sides, and B teams. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Tuesday evenings match will go, but I know for definite that it will be a fiercely competitive cup tie. Wayne Burnett’s will still be without a number of players through injury however, if the likes of Japhet Tanganga, Jack Roles and Shilow Tracey are on form tomorrow night, then I would fancy our chances of overcoming the Croatian side. I will be reporting on Tuesday nights match and I shall have my in-depth match report published sometime on Wednesday evening. I would like to wish Wayne Burnett’s side all the very best of luck for the game, I fully believe in their ability to make it all the way to the final of this seasons competition.
My predicted lineup: (3-4-2-1) Austin, Eyoma, Tanganga (c), Lyons-Foster, Hinds, Marsh, Duncan, Cirkin, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey, Roles.
Subs from: Glover, Dinzeyi, A.Shashoua, White, Clarke.
Injured/unavailable: Luke Amos, Jamie Reynolds, Jamie Bowden, Rodel Richards, Jeremie Mukendi, Enoch Asante, Phoenix Patterson.
Doubtful: Alfie Whiteman, Troy Parrott, J’Neil Bennett.
Previous meeting: N/A.
My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.
My one to watch: Dinamo’s experienced right back Tomislav Barisic (25). The fullback featured for Dinamo Zagreb in their last league game against Sibenik back in November.