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Oct 22, 2015 at 6pm UK at Constant Vanden Stock
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Gillet (13'), Okaka (75')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Eriksen (4')

Live Commentary: Anderlecht 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's Europa League coverage as Tottenham Hotspur fall to a 2-1 defeat away at Belgian side Anderlecht in Group J.

Anderlecht took on Tottenham Hotspur in Group J of the Europa League on Thursday night aiming to claim their first win of the group stages.

Spurs started brightly and they found an early goal through Christian Eriksen, before Guillaume Gillet forced a leveller come the interval.

After a strong start Spurs faded in the second half and were eventually undone when Stefano Okaka earned a winner for the hosts to grab his first goal of the competition this term.

Relive all of the action with our minute-by-minute commentary below.

Good evening all and thank you for joining us as Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur travel to Belgium to face Anderlecht in Group J of the Europa League.

Mauricio Pochettino and his men currently find themselves at the top of the group after two games, having beaten Qarabag on matchday one before following that result up with a hard-fought draw away against AS Monaco.

Things could not be more different for Anderlecht, who find themselves at the bottom of Group J after two games played. The Belgians produced a solid display to pick up a point against Monaco, but they were surprisingly undone when they were beaten 1-0 away at Qarabag last time out.

This clash actually mirrors the 1984 UEFA Cup final that was eventually won by Spurs on penalties, after the teams played out a 1-1 aggregate draw.

A win tonight would cement Spurs as favourites for a top spot in the group come the end of the autumn, but they are without a win in three away matches in Europe.

Added to that Spurs that rather frustrating record, Spurs will also have to overturn a run of results in Belgium that has seen them win just two of their last six fixtures against local opposition.

Pochettino's charges have shown flashes of brilliance in the early stages of the Premier League season and their victory over Manchester City serves as a footprint of what they are capable of when things click. However, the Lillywhites have had to settle for draws in their last two league matches against Swansea City and Liverpool.

Besnik Hasi's Anderlecht side have been good domestically this season, where they have won six, drawn four and have lost just once in the Belgian Pro League. The club currently sit in third position in the table.

Anderlecht do not have the best of records when it comes to facing English opposition. Statistics show that the team's 30 games against English clubs have ended ended in six wins, five draws and a huge 19 losses. Three points will be important for the hosts tonight if they want to develop any kind of aspirations of making it out of the group stages.

When competing in this tournament, the Belgians have a pretty special record. Anderlecht have advanced to the round of 32 in all four of their previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns. They most recently featured in this cup in the 2011-12 season.

Here is where we will be encountering all the action tonight, the Constant Vanden Stock in Brussels:

Time for some team news now...

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STARTING XI: Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dembele, Dier; Lamela, Eriksen, Townsend; Njie

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR SUBSTITUTES: Vorm, Rose, Wimmer, Alli, Onomah, Winks, Kane

ANDERLECHT STARTING XI Proto; Deschacht, Obradovic, Mbodji; Praet, Defour, Gillet, Tielemans, Dendoncker; Ezekiel, Okaka

ANDERLECHT SUBSTITUTES: Roef, Nuytinck, Heylen, Acheampong, Conte, Sylla, Kawaya

So the major news for Spurs is that Clinton Njie has been handed his first ever start for the club after seven appearances off the bench. The lone frontman is to be supported by a deeper-lying three of Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Andros Townsend. At the back, Danny Rose moves to the bench and Ben Davies starts. The visitors are to be anchored by an industrious pairing of Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier.

For Anderlecht, the in-form Stefano Okaka starts in attack alongside fellow striker Imoh Ezekiel. The hosts have also decided to bring in young midfielder Youri Tielemans to start, who will sit alongside the creative presences of Guillaume Gillet and Steven Defour.

Spurs have quite a few Belgians in their squad and the pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen at the back tonight could provide the visitors with an air of calm as they return to the country where their footballing careers began.

Tottenham have sometimes struggled when facing Belgian opposition. As it stands, Spurs have won two, lost three and drawn one against sides from Belgium.

In order to win tonight, Anderlecht will have to overturn some pretty torrid form in Europe of late. The Belgian club last won in 2014 when facing Galatasaray. They have not won in their last five games, drawing three and losing two.

Many of Anderlecht's goals domestically have come via frontman Stefano Okaka, but he is still waiting to register in Europa this term. Spurs will need to be careful as he has a real eye for goal.

It is a big ask for Njie up top tonight, but he will not be shy given that he has come off the pitch in both of Tottenham's two previous group games. Pochettino does have Harry Kane on the bench if things do not work out for the youngster.

Lamela has posed a real threat in the tournament thus far for the North London club. The Argentine playmaker has two goals in two games in the group and can be a handful with his strength and pace.

Three points tonight for Spurs will stand them in good stead going forward, maybe even a point would be celebrated. Anderlecht will probably take some points of second-placed Qarabag, potentially leaving Spurs to move further clear at the top.

Here is a quick snap of some of the players warming up in Brussels:

We have just under 10 minutes until kickoff and it is time for us to make a prediction. This Spurs side looks particularly good on paper, and they have also brought some quality on the bench too. Tottenham have not done too well away in Europe of late, but I fancy them to earn victory tonight: 2-1 to the Lillywhites.

The players are just making their way out of the tunnel as we await the start of the contest in Belgium. Can Spurs steal three points on the road this evening?

Not one smile on the faces of the Anderlecht players during the Europe League anthem-type thing. Do they mean business? We'll soon see...

KICKOFF! Anderlecht get things going with a ball deep into the corner, where Ezekiel crosses long to leave Lloris to top things away for a corner.

CHANCE! Spurs come away on the counter at real pace, where the ball breaks free to Eriksen. The midfielder breaks beyond the last defender, but he slips at the vital moment just as he goes to shoot.

Spurs have settled quickly and they aim to come down the right through an on-rushing Townsend, but Trippier cannot make the final ball and Anderlecht win the throw.


Spurs have a lead already. It comes rather strangely as Kara can only clear straight into the path of Dendoncker, leaving the ball to drop in behind kindly to Eriksen. The playmaker makes no mistake with his finish by lashing down into the bottom corner with his left.

CLOSE! Eriksen goes close again as he tees up from a free kick. His effort takes a deflection and flies just wide of the hosts' post. The visitors are unable to make use of the resulting corner, though, leaving the home side to head clear at the first opportunity.

Tottenham try something from deep this time as Njie aims to break off the shoulder of the last defender, but he is ruled out for offside as he attempts to latch onto Dier's through-ball.

CHANCE! Anderlecht are being made to sit real deep already and Spurs are knocking things about at great pace so far. Dier goes short to Eriksen, who picks out a superb pass to find Lamela in behind the home defence. The Argentine finds himself one-on-one, only to shoot straight at a grateful Proto in the Anderlecht goal.

Davies comes forward now down the left and he aims to break away and deliver for Njie in the centre of the box. The full-back beats his marker once, although Mbodji gets back in to recover and make an important challenge.


Wow, where exactly did that come from? Anderlecht win a corner over on the right, leaving Defour to cross into the box. Neither side is able to get a head to it and the ball falls to Gillet, who gathers with one touch and then rifles powerfully beyond a helpless Lloris in the Spurs goal.

Spurs lump a hopeful ball forward and it drops kindly for Townsend to break free inside the home half. Thankfully for Anderlecht, Dendoncker shows some great reading of the game to get over in time and clear away the danger.

Things have just dropped off a touch after a very fast opening. Spurs are aiming to keep the ball at the moment after being pulled level by that quality strike from Gillet.

CLOSE! Anderlecht have just started to assert a bit of control after breaking down two Tottenham attacks with ease. Ezekiel moves into space on the right and he turns in a great ball for Okaka, who is expertly denied by a standout tackle from Alderweireld who still has it all to do at the front post.

Interesting! Njie does really well to draw in the attentions of three Anderlecht players before slipping a ball in behind to meet the run of Townsend. The winger advances into the box, where he is seemingly shoved off the ball by Tielemans, leaving the referee to wave play on despite calls for a penalty.

SAVE! Anderlecht almost find a second goal now as Okaka reacts quickest to a knock-down inside the area. The frontman produces some quality with his volley, leaving Lloris to pull off a standout reaction save down towards his bottom corner.

CLOSE! Vertonghen ventures forward and he produces an almost-telling run towards the Anderlecht box. He rides one challenge, before slipping a through-ball into Lamela beyond the defence. The playmaker is able to slot his finish past the home stopper with the outside of his boot, but he is ruled out for offside.

Anderlecht get the chance to move forward down the left hand side of the pitch, where Praet rolls a pass into the path of Obradovic. However, the full-back fails to look down the line and is flagged for offside.

Hmm... Alderweireld sees his name in lights, but his long-range effort is dragged across the face of goal and wide. He probably had a few better options around him there.

SHOT! Okaka finds himself with some room just short of the Spurs box and he pulls back to drive a low effort towards goal. His shot is straight at Lloris, though, who gets down low to gather without too much bother.

Spurs might be a little frustrated at how things currently stand. They appeared in really good shape in the opening minutes and they have failed to seize proper control of this encounter. Pochettino will have a lot to say at the break.

Spurs aim to thread something together as Njie lays one off for Lamela, who seeks to find his teammate with a return ball over the top. Anderlecht are thankful to Mbodji, however, who gets across to cut out the pass just inside the area.

CLOSE! Spurs should be in front. Eriksen does all the work in the middle, leaving Townsend to find the ball in space towards the right side of the box. He has Njie in the middle in space, but instead opts for a curled shot that goes wide of the far post.


Anderlecht will not mind that first half and they still find themselves well in the game. Spurs looked fantastic out of the blocks, but they soon faded after their opening goal.

It seems as though the visitors let things drift away during the middle part of that first period. Tottenham started brightly and looked fantastic in the final third of the pitch. The goal seems to have knocked their confidence a touch, but they were improved in the closing minutes of the half.

Spurs controlled much of the ball in that half with 66% of possession. The fact that they have only managed to test the keeper three times will probably annoy Pochettino. Despite Anderlecht only hold 33% of the ball, they have had a good number of chances in front of the Tottenham goal. Lloris has made a couple of saves from Okaka that his teammates will be thankful for.

Replays for the Anderlecht goal show two players aiming to block Gillet, but with their hands behind their backs. We saw that in the Champions League last night and it surely is not the way to defend as Gillet's goal ultimately proved.

Spurs may not make a change at the interval, but Pochettino will be demanding that his side step things up a little in the second period. Anderlecht will be pleased with how things stand and will aim to put Tottenham under further pressure once we get back underway.

KICKOFF! Spurs get things moving again with a ball into Lamela, though the move is cut out by the head of Obradovic in the centre of the Anderlecht box.

CLOSE! Eriksen curls a ball into the middle, where Njie does brilliantly to take control and turn his marker. Deschacht does really well to recover, though, as he steals in to get a toe on the ball and prevent the Spurs man from shooting.

Anderlecht make their first forward move of the half through Praet, who makes some impressive progress down the left flank. Okaka is the target in the middle and he peels away towards the back-post, but the ball into the box has too much on it and Spurs escape unscathed.

SHOT! Gillet does well this time to find some space out on the right and he opens up to send a smart, low shot down towards the bottom corner, leaving Lloris to get down quickly and smother.

Dembele has been quiet tonight and this time he gives up the ball in the middle of the Anderlecht half. The hosts break away on the counter and the ball finally moves to Ezekiel, whose shot flies wide despite Lloris having to scramble to make his ground.

YELLOW CARD! Njie goes into the book for a late tackle on Dendoncker just inside the Anderlecht half.

Okaka aims to put Vertonghen under pressure at the back, but the Belgian centre-back is excellent with his movement and he rolls the striker to keep possession of the ball. We have had very little to write home about from Tottenham forward line so far in the second half.

YELLOW CARD! Anderlecht's Praet goes into the book now after bringing down Trippier. I think he was a touch embarrassed by a nut-meg.

SUBSTITUTION: Spurs decide to bring on Harry Kane to replace Njie, who has not offered much up top on his starting debut for the club.

Anderlecht still have eyes on a victory given how things have played out so far. Ezekiel's run is a promising one and he is able to earn a corner off Trippier. The resulting kick sees Mbodji climb highest, only for Lloris to react well and make a comfortable save in the centre of goal.

Spurs break away on the counter through Townsend, and he finally switched the ball across the box into the path of Eriksen. The midfielder aims to get a shot away just inside the area, only to be thwarted by a block from Obradovic.

SUBSTITUTIONS: Dembele comes off in place of Dele Alli in the middle for Spurs. As for Anderlecht, they bring on Frank Acheampong for Ezekiel.

CHANCE! Kane comes into the fore for the first time and he makes a good run to get in behind Kara. The striker gets a good shot away, although Proto does just as well to get down low and prevent the goal.

Dier finds himself with a bit of space just short of the Anderlecht goal, but he cannot threaten with a shot that goes high and wide of the target without troubling Proto who stands unmoved.

Okaka has remained a threat throughout here and now he tries to put Alderweireld under some pressure with his strength and pace. The Spurs man does well, though, by holding his ground and making a defensive pass back into the feet of Lloris.


Brilliant work from Anderlecht to take the lead. Acheampong gambles to move in to receive a ball fed in behind the full-back and he advances into the box, before cutting a perfect pass across the middle for a lurking Okaka. The striker makes no mistake with a finish beyond Lloris, despite the striker being left without a boot in the build-up to the goal.

CLOSE! Acheampong has changed this fixture and he moves again down the left, before his ball into the middle is cut out at the vital moment. Just a couple of seconds later, Kara leaps highest in the box, but he cannot make the required connection to test Lloris with his head.

Davies holds his run well for Spurs and he gets in behind the defence, only for Defour to steal in and get a tackle in with the full-back ready to cross for Kane in the centre.

SUBSTITUTION: Youngster Joshua Onomah is introduced by Spurs at the cost of Townsend on the right flank.

CLOSE! Guess who? Acheampong breaks free yet again on the left side and he is able to lay a pass back into the box for Okaka. Despite his current form, the striker produces a complete air shot and the chance goes begging.

Anderlecht are full of confidence now as Praet opens his body up inside the area before trying to test Lloris with a curled effort. The shot flies over the bar, though, and Tottenham escape again.

Acheampong is everywhere in the closing stages. This time he jinks past Lamela before being brought down by the winger. Defour puts the free kick into the middle, where Lloris comes off his line to gather. Can Spurs muster something to get back into this game?

Gillet has been outstanding this evening and he is at it once more to prevent a Davies ball from reaching a number of men in the middle of the Anderlecht area.

SHOT! Acheampong breaks free and he produces an almost identical ball across the box for Praet, who takes one touch to beat his marker before seeing his shot somehow kept out by Lloris.

Three minutes of added time for Spurs to find a leveller...


Spurs will be thoroughly disappointed with that. They started superbly, but faded and failed to offer much going forward in the second half despite the introduction of Kane. Anderlecht will be delighted with how they responded to going behind and they have now earned their first win in the group. That is going to be all from me tonight, thanks for joining us!

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Ben Davies of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane on September 20, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.
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Davies looking forward to Anderlecht clash

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