Late penalty awards Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk with a vital lead in the first leg as Tottenham Hotspur miss a host of chances in the game.
This win would have provided a sense of satisfaction for Juande Ramos, but he knows that his side will have to be at their best in the second leg at White Hart Lane. Both the teams were guilty of missing a lot of chances in this game and Tottenham have only themselves to blame as they come away from Ukraine empty handed.
Spurs dominated possession in this game, but interestingly it was Dnipro who had the most number of shots on goal. The Ukrainian side played on the counter-attack and could have taken a bigger lead in this game had Matheus showed a bit more calmness upfront. Similarly for Tottenham, Roberto Soldado missed a chance in front of an open goal after Paulinho picked him up with a low cross. It was harder to miss that chance than to convert it and that would have done his fading confidence no good.
Then in the 80th minute of the game Jan Vertonghen brought down Matheus in the box as he raced clear and was through on goal. Vertonghen escaped with a yellow card, but Yevheniy Konoplyanka, who is expected to move to Liverpool in the summer, stepped up and scored from the resultant penalty kick. Tottenham were spared in the dying moments, as Roman Zozulya header struck the post.
Tim Sherwood was critical of the pitch at the Dnipro-Arena and insisted that it might have played a part in Roberto Soldado missing his chance earlier in the game.
“He would expect to score. I haven’t seen it again but I’m not sure he will be too complimentary about the pitch.
“I am not using it as an excuse, not for the chance, as both teams played on it but I am sure that it must have played some part in Robbie missing that one.
“The pitch was a disgrace, it is no excuse as both teams had to play on it but it is possibly the worst pitch I have experienced in a long time.” – The Tottenham Hotspur manager told the press.
Sherwood regretted the numerous chances his team squandered, but is hopeful about turning it around at White Hart Lane in the second leg.
“We could have played better. I didn’t think we were very poor but the disappointment is that we never scored and we had some good opportunities to do that.
“We will score at the Lane, guaranteed, but it depends how many we will have to score.” – Sherwood added.