Preview: Lyon vs Tottenham on Thursday, February 21st

21/02/2013 no comments »
Preview: Lyon vs Tottenham on Thursday, February 21st

Tottenham Hotspur will travel to the Stade de Gerland in France to face Lyon on Thursday 21st February in the second leg of the last 32 round of the Europa League, in what proves to be a very important match.

Both clubs have everything to play for after a hotly contested first leg in which Tottenham narrowly won 2-1. The game contained three stunning goals worthy of any European tie. Gareth Bale put Spurs ahead on the stroke of half time with a Ronaldo-esque dipping free kick. Lyon levelled just ten minutes after the break when a poor defensive header fell into the path of 19 year-old Samuel Umtiti, who rifled the ball into the net on the half-volley, leaving Spurs’ veteran keeper Brad Friedel rooted to the spot. Many chances followed with neither side able to grab the lead, with 21 year-old Alexandre Lacazette having the best of the chances after dribbling through four defenders at speed before shooting straight at Friedel. Chance after chance passed, until the 3rd minute of extra time when Gareth Bale punished Lyon from a dead ball yet again, firing another superb free kick past a helpless Remy Vercoutre to steal the victory.

An important away goal from Lyon at White Hart Lane means that they only need to score one goal and keep a clean sheet to progress to the next round, whereas Tottenham only need a draw to go through but they will certainly enter the game with the mentality of winning it. A 2-1 win from Lyon would take the game into extra time, with the possibility of the dreaded penalty shoot-out. Last Thursday’s result extended Spurs’ unbeaten run in Europe and they haven’t lost any of their seven games in this year’s Europa League, whilst Lyon’s first defeat of their European campaign was in fact this one against Tottenham. The winner over the two legs will face either Italian giants Inter Milan or Romanian outfit CRF Cluj.

With the tie still wide open and the incentive of possibly playing against Inter Milan at the San Siro, both clubs will be extremely up for this match. Can Tottenham sustain the slight advantage they hold at the moment or will Lyon turn the tie on its head and dump Spurs out of the competition? We will have to wait until Thursday night to find out – definitely not a game to be missed!

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