Spurs 1-2 Borussia Dortmund (agg 1-5)
Report from the Lane
17 March 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Europa League campaign came to an end at White Hart Lane on Thursday evening as we suffered a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on the night to exit the competition 5-1 on aggregate.
Trailing 3-0 from the first leg in Germany last week, it was always going to be a tough task to turn the round of 16 tie around and it was made all the more difficult when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored either side of half-time to leave Dortmund well in control.
We did find the target with 17 minutes remaining through Heung-Min Son, his sixth goal in eight games against Dortmund following spells in Germany with Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen, but it was too little, too late to make a difference to the outcome.
Mauricio Pochettino made three changes from the team which started the first leg, Eric Dier, Erik Lamela and Dele Alli coming in for Tom Carroll, Josh Onomah and Christian Eriksen – Lamela wearing our colours for the 100th time in all competitions.
In terms of chances, it was a low-key opening to the game as we enjoyed the lion’s share of possession without really penetrating. And we were forced into an early change when Ben Davies collided with Hugo Lloris and had to make way for Danny Rose on 13 minutes.
The first chance of the game came a minute later and it went to the visitors, Marco Reus firing into the side-netting from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s back-heel.
Our first opportunity came from a corner on 23 minutes after Neven Subotic had headed clear Kieran Trippier’s dangerous cross. Lamela sent over the set-piece and Dier flicked a header just wide of the near post.
We were just starting to build up a bit of pressure at that stage, but were hit by a sucker-punch seconds later. Lamela’s pass infield flicked off a Dortmund player and ran kindly for Aubameyang, who advanced towards our goal and let fly with a 25-yard drive which curled away from Lloris and flew inside the far post.
The Germans almost doubled their advantage three minutes later when Kevin Wimmer slipped and let in Aubameyang who was through on goal, but as he tried to cut inside he was tackled by Toby Alderweireld. The Belgian then cleared the danger with the help of a wonderful piece of skill to get away from Lukasz Piszczek, much to the delight of the Spurs faithful.
Alderweireld almost made a difference at the other end too, but was just unable to get a clean contact on Lamela’s free-kick at the back post.
Although the tie was virtually beyond our reach, we kept playing our football and almost found a goal four minutes before the interval. A lovely turn from Lamela just inside the Dortmund half saw him get away from his marker, he slipped a pass in to Son but he could only drag his shot wide of the far post.
In stoppage time, there was more superb defending from Alderweireld to keep the score at 1-0. Mkhitaryan broke through this time, Alderweireld had 10 yards to make up on him but he stuck to his task and, as the Dortmund man went to shoot, the centre-half slid in to get a touch on the effort and deflect it out for a corner.
The second period followed a similar pattern in truth, with us seeing plenty of the ball and trying to work a path to goal, but struggling to test Roman Weidenfeller. And Dortmund were always a threat on the counter, almost adding a second on the hour mark when Mkhitaryan put Aubameyang through on goal but he blazed over the bar.
Nacer Chadli had an effort blocked eight minutes later following good work between Rose and Son down the left, the goal-bound shot hitting Subotic, but Dortmund scored their second shortly afterwards. Again, it was a combination of Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, the former bursting through the middle before sliding a pass in to the Gabonese striker in the right channel and he drilled past Lloris.
We hit back with our first goal of the tie almost immediately, though, with Neven Subotic’s attempted back-pass to his goalkeeper falling short and Son stealing in to nick the ball from Weidenfeller and slide it into an empty net.
That was game over and there was little action of note in the closing minutes, as our focus now turns to Bournemouth on Sunday and a return to Premier League action.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“I’m happier than I was last week in Germany,” stated Mauricio. “I think our performance improved a lot and we were a little unlucky because their (first) goal was unbelievable and that was at a moment where we were managing the game.
“We competed well and we need to take positives. I’m disappointed, yes, but I feel proud of our players.
“They have put in a massive effort from the beginning of the season and we’re now in a position in the table where we can try to win every game and try to fight for the Premier League.
“So for now, we need to take the positives and be ready for Sunday.”
As always, the supporters weren’t far from Mauricio’s mind - they certainly played their part despite such a tricky situation in the overall tie, with a couple of renditions of ‘Oh When The Spurs…’ memorably belting out around the stadium.
“I feel disappointed for them because they were excited but it was difficult for us,” added Mauricio. “I’m sure the fans will be with us on Sunday as we try to get the three points.”
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Trippier, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Davies (Rose 13), Dier, Mason, Lamela (Onomah 74), Alli (Carroll 69), Chadli, Son. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Carter-Vickers, Winks, Kane.
Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Subotic, Papastathopoulos (Durm 54), Schmelzer, Ginter, Weigl, Mkhitaryan (Kagawa 71), Castro, Reus (c) (Pulisic 61), Aubameyang. Substitutes (not used): Burki, Hummels, Sahin, Ramos.
Goals: Spurs – Son 73; Borussia Dortmund – Aubameyang 24, 71.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Lamela, Alderweireld; Borussia Dortmund – Castro.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy).