Aug 21, 2014 at 5pm UK at ​Tsirion Stadium
AEL Limassol
1-2
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Sardinero (14')
Cadu (39')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Soldado (74'), Kane (80')
Holtby (36'), Soldado (58'), Davies (86')

Live Commentary: AEL Limassol 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur - as it happened

Mauricio Pochettino the Spurs manager directs his players during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Boleyn Ground on August 16, 2014
© Getty Images
Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the Europa League playoff first leg between AEL Limassol and Tottenham Hotspur, which Spurs won 2-1 in Cyprus.

The first leg of the Europa League playoff between AEL Limassol and Tottenham Hotspur took place in Cyprus this afternoon.

The home side led 1-0 at the interval courtesy of a smart finish from Adrian Sardinero.

However, Spurs responded in the second period, scoring late on through Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane to claim a 2-1 win.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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4.31pmAfternoon all! Tottenham Hotspur get their 2014-15 Europa League campaign underway in Cyprus with a clash against AEL in the final playoff round of the competition. Whichever team comes through this two-legged affair will indeed play in the group stages of the European competition this season. Just a reminder that nothing will be decided tonight, with the second leg to come in north London next Thursday.

4.34pmTEAMS:

AEL: Fegrouche; Cadu, Sielis, Nikolaou, Bebe; Guidileye, Silva, Barcellos; Gikiewicz, Sardinero, Carlitos

SPURS: Lloris; Naughton, Vertonghen, Dier, Davies; Paulinho, Bentaleb; Townsend, Holtby, Kane; Soldado


4.37pmThere are three Brazilians in the AEL XI this afternoon, with Luciano Bebe, Edmar Silva and Diego Barcellos all included. There are also starts for Adrian Sardinero and Carlitos in what is an attacking side. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, has also put an attacking XI on the field, with Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado both starting. There are also spots for Lewis Holtby and Nabil Bentaleb.

4.40pmAEL missed out on a seventh Cypriot title last term after losing on the final day of the season against APOEL. They faced Zenit St Petersburg in a two-legged Champions League qualifier earlier this month, but exited after losing the second leg 3-0 in Russia. This will be the first time that AEL have faced English opposition in European competition, but they will know plenty about Tottenham.

4.43pmSpurs must also be wary of what is a strong home record for AEL. The Cypriot side have lost just two of their last 11 home matches in European competition, picking up seven wins in the process. That said, Spurs' last two away Europa League qualifying matches have ended in 5-0 wins. Can the Premier League outfit make it a hat-trick of 5-0 wins tonight? I'm not confident!

4.46pmAEL are yet to start their domestic campaign, but have been in strong pre-season form and enter this match off the back of a 7-1 win over Doxa last week. Following this match, they open their league season away to Nea Salamis on Sunday, before travelling to Spurs for a return leg next Thursday.

4.49pmSpurs, meanwhile, opened their Premier League campaign with a 1-0 win over West Ham United at the weekend. The London outfit are under new management this season, with Mauricio Pochettino taking charge of his first European match tonight. Last season Spurs made it through the group stages of the Europa League, but were beaten by eventual winners Benfica in the round of 16.

Mauricio Pochettino the Spurs manager directs his players during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Boleyn Ground on August 16, 2014© Getty Images


4.52pmTottenham have somewhat gone under the radar in the transfer market this summer, but have quietly and confidently improved their squad. It was also an impressive pre-season for the capital side, with four wins from their five games, including a thumping 6-1 win over Celtic and a 2-1 success over Schalke 04.

4.55pmPREDICTION: As mentioned, AEL have a strong recent European home record, but Tottenham arrive full of confidence after beating West Ham in the Premier League at the weekend. I am not expecting too many goals truth be told, but I think Tottenham will claim a score draw. My prediction is 1-1.

4.58pmHere we go then. Both sides have joined us on the pitch ahead of the first period in Cyprus. The action will commence following the completion of the pre-match handshakes and the exchanging of club flags.

0 minCan Spurs take a positive result back to White Hart Lane? Or will AEL take a lead into the second leg? It is a warm early evening in Cyprus as the away side get the first 45 minutes of action underway.

2 minPlenty of possession for Spurs in the opening couple of minutes, with the likes of Holtby and Bentaleb combining in the middle of the park, but the home side have retreated into a compact defensive shape. Spurs will certainly have to be patient if they are to break through this Cypriot defence.

4 minHalf-chance for Spurs as Townsend shows good feet down the right before delivering towards Kane, but the England forward cannot make contact and the AEL goalkeeper is out to collect. The Premier League side have made all of the early running, but AEL have just started to put a few passes together in the final third.

6 minSpurs again threaten through Kane as the forward stings the palms of Fegrouche, but Soldado cannot sort out his feet in time to convert the rebound. It has been a very impressive start from the London outfit.

8 minAnother chance for Spurs as Holtby shows fine feet on the edge of the box before finding Paulinho, but the Brazilian drags his effort wide of the post. AEL just cannot get out of their own half at the moment, with Spurs certainly enjoying the opening eight minutes to this European contest.

10 minTottenham look a cut above their opponents at the moment as they continue to boss possession in the final third. Again Kane, who has made a bright start, combines with Davies before delivering towards Soldado, but Cadu is on hand to make the block. AEL desperately need to put something together here.

12 minKane, having won a free kick outside the box, tries the spectacular by taking on the 40-yard strike, but his effort moved just high of the crossbar. Still nothing of note from AEL, who have hardly featured.

14 minGOAL! AEL 1-0 Spurs (Sardinero)

15 minWouldn't you just know it? AEL have hardly been in this match but they lead with 14 minutes on the clock as Sardinero breaks through the Spurs defence before finishing past Lloris. Great composure.

17 minSpurs come close to an immediate response as Kane turns on the edge of the box before rolling a beautiful ball into the path of Paulinho, but the Brazilian cannot connect at the vital moment. Someone has flicked a switch here and suddenly we have an end-to-end game of football on our hands.

20 minDavies makes good ground down the left for Spurs, but his low cross is cleared at the near post and suddenly the home side are on the break once more. Silva attempts to feed Carlitos, but Dier is on hand to make the challenge. AEL look so dangerous on the counter here and Spurs are not too comfortable.

22 minAnother half-chance for Spurs as Townsend finds some space in the final third before crossing into the feet of Soldado, but his effort is blocked. Kane picks up the pieces moments later and switches to Davies, but his low cross is straight into the arms of the AEL stopper. Still 1-0 to the home side in Cyprus.

24 minThe referee has been called into action on a number of occasions in the last couple of minutes, with both sides guilty of some late challenges. It has not really been that type of match, but AEL are so threatening on the counter that a number of Spurs players are being forced to make fouls in the middle of the park.

26 minA long throw from Carlitos causes all sorts of problems inside the Spurs box, but Dier is on hand to clear at the vital moment. Moments after, AEL have a free kick just outside the box, but Bebe's effort is deflected high and wide for a corner, which is also cleared by the Spurs defence. Good pressure from AEL.

29 minAnother half-chance for Spurs as Townsend delivers a dangerous cross from the right, but Kane cannot make contact and AEL once more have a goal kick. Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining and AEL have certainly had more control since taking the lead. Spurs, however, have retreated somewhat.

31 minBarcellos threatens for the home side after moving past the challenge of Naughton and delivering into the box, but Lloris is on hand to collect. Both sides are struggling to create clear chances, but each has had their moments in the final third. Still AEL lead courtesy of that fine finish from Sardinero.

33 minKane continues to look the most likely for Spurs and again threatens outside the AEL box, but Fegrouche is down to make the save. Moments later, Carlitos bursts into the Spurs box, but Lloris is off his line to collect.

36 minBOOKING! Holtby goes in the book for Spurs following a late challenge in the middle of the park. In truth, it had been coming with the referee letting a number of earlier late challenges go.

38 minEven at 1-0 behind, Spurs would still fancy their chances of turning this around next week. However, there is still a lot of football to be played this evening. Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last few moments, with both sides guilty of conceding possession in the final third of the field.

40 minBOOKING! Cadu goes in the book for AEL after bringing Soldado to the ground. In truth, the match has turned untidy in the latter stages of the half, with the referee becoming more involved.

42 minTownsend is involved for Spurs after beating two defenders down the right before delivering towards Soldado, but AEL clear the danger before forcing a counter of their own. Carlitos has possession, but tries a difficult pass and Vertonghen is on hand to clear the danger. Slightly stretched at the moment.

44 minSpurs gain a free kick as Naughton is brought to the ground outside the box. Holtby stands over the set piece, but it comes to nothing and once more the danger is cleared. Again Vertonghen is called into action down the other end to deny Barcellos, who had threatened to run away from the Spurs defence.

45 min+1HALF-TIME: AEL 1-0 Spurs

5.47pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with AEL leading 1-0 courtesy of a smart finish from Sardinero with 14 minutes on the clock. Spurs have arguably been the better side, but clear chances have been few and far between, with Kane looking the most likely with a couple of efforts from range.

5.52pmSTATS! Spurs have had more of the ball with 57%, while they have had eight attempts, three of which have been on target. AEL, meanwhile, have hit the target with two of their four attempts. There have also been two yellow cards, with Cadu in the book for AEL and Holtby for Spurs.

5.57pmBENCH WATCH! AEL have plenty of attacking options on their bench this evening in the shape of Carlitos (another one), Stavrou and Tagbajumi. Meanwhile, Spurs have the likes of Lamela, Dembele and Chadli in reserve. It is the type of match that could be greatly influenced from the sidelines.

6.01pm

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. You just get the feeling that Spurs will want to take an away goal into the second leg. Right, AEL get the second half underway.

48 minNo changes from either manager at the interval, which is not much of a surprise at this stage of proceedings. It has been a fairly calm start to the second 45 minutes, with Spurs in control in their own half. AEL were a real threat on the counter in the first period and that will again be their main outlet.

50 minHalf-chance for the home side as Barcellos eventually meets a bouncing ball inside the Spurs box, but Dier just does enough to convert it wide of the post. The resulting corner is delivered towards the far post, but Dier is adjudged to have been fouled. Strong couple of minutes from the Cypriot team.

52 minKane is again involved for Spurs as he collects a pass from Davies before delivering a cross towards the far post, but it moves out of play for a goal kick. AEL are straight down the other end with Carlitos, but Naughton comes across to clear the danger. End-to-end football with 52 minutes on the clock.

54 minJust a reminder that nothing will be decided this evening, with the second leg of this contest to come next week at White Hart Lane. Again Spurs threaten from a corner, which was won by Townsend, but Holtby's delivery is poor and AEL have a throw on the far side. The quality needs to be much better than that.

56 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments, with both sides struggling for invention in the final third. Both sides, but Spurs in particular, will be considering changes.

58 minBOOKING! Soldado goes in the book for Spurs for a foul on Guidileye.

59 minSUB! Spurs make their first change of the match as Chadli replaces Paulinho.

61 minFor a match that still has 30 minutes remaining, and indeed a second leg, it is extremely open at the moment, with both sides committing numbers in the final third. Clear chances have been at a premium in the second half, however, with neither able to find that elusive final ball. Still AEL lead by the one goal.

63 minTownsend appears to have a problem as the England international holds his face following a challenge in the middle of the park, but the attacker will be fit to continue. The home supporters are really getting behind their side with little over 25 minutes of this first leg remaining.

65 minChadli is involved for Spurs after finding himself inside the AEL box, but the Belgian cannot move away from the challenge of two defenders and eventually the danger is cleared. We are in desperate need of some quality in the final third here. It has been quite a drab affair in the second period truth be told.

67 minSUB! Spurs make their second change of the match as Dembele replaces Holtby.

68 minSUB! The home side respond with a change of their own as Eleftheriou replaces Barcellos.

70 minAEL have been in control of the ball in the last couple of moments, with Spurs struggling to gain a foothold in the middle of the park. That has been much the story in the second period, with Soldado and Kane both struggling for service in the final third. Little over 20 minutes of football remaining.

71 minCROSSBAR! Wonderful work from Soldado as the Spaniard finds Kane with a header inside the AEL box, but Kane's effort is pushed onto the crossbar. Incredible save from the goalkeeper.

72 minSUB! Spurs make their final change as Lamela replaces Townsend.

74 minSUB! Another change for AEL as Tagbajumi replaces Gikiewicz.

75 minGOAL! AEL 1-1 Spurs (Soldado)

76 minBreakthrough Spurs! The Premier League club level with 15 minutes remaining as Soldado completes a move that included Kane and Lamela, with the latter finding Soldado with a brilliant cross.

79 minAEL just cannot keep the ball at the moment with the changes from the Spurs boss allowing his side to have more control in the middle of the park. Kane remains the main outlet from the high ball, with the England forward causing all sorts of problems inside the box. Little over 10 minutes of football remaining.

80 minHalf-chance for the home side to regain the lead as Tagbajumi breaks into the Spurs box, but his effort is just wide of the post. Neither team is settling for a draw here that is for certain.

80 minGOAL! AEL 1-2 Spurs (Kane)

81 minSpurs take the lead with 80 minutes on the clock as Lamela slips in Kane, who finishes into the back of the net. Spurs have been brilliant the last 10 minutes or so and deserve to lead in Cyprus.

83 minSUB! Carlitos for Sardinero is AEL's final change of the contest.

85 minTwo assists from Lamela tonight, who has changed the game for Spurs since entering from the bench. Could this be the season where the attacker really shows his talent? He has an abundance of quality that is for certain. Little over five minutes of normal time remaining in this first leg.

86 min

87 minBOOKING! Davies goes in the book for Spurs for a late challenge on Luciano Bebe.

88 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Spurs to make it 3-1 as Naughton drives into the AEL box before crossing for Lamela, but his low effort is wide of the post.

90 minAnother half-chance for Spurs as Lamela breaks into the AEL box, but his effort is straight at the goalkeeper. This could have been four or five for Spurs in the last 15 minutes or so. They have been dominant.

90 min+2We are into the second of three additional minutes in Cyprus.

90 min+3AEL have started to force the issue in stoppage time, with Lloris called into action to deal with a number of crosses into the box, but the Frenchman has been calm all evening.

90 min+4FULL-TIME: AEL 1-2 Spurs

6.55pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the second period to an end, with Spurs claiming a 2-1 win. In truth, it could have been more in the latter stages, with Lamela changing the game for the away side. That is just about it from me this evening. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action!

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