UEFA Europa League: Your Running Commentary

JuanMatavsRubinKazan (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Rafael Benitez’s managerial run with Chelsea hasn’t exactly been a pleasant one, but like last season, the club is making a run in a European competition.

Chelsea takes a 3-1 lead in their tie with Rubin Kazan (12:00pm, Fox Soccer Channel) to Moscow, Russia to face a team that’s knocked off the defending champions, Atletico Madrid, in the round of 32.

Tottenham travel to St. Jakob Park to face FC Basel (3:05pm, Fox Soccer Channel) without their talisman Gareth Bale. Bale injured his ankle in last Thursday’s 2-2 draw, and Spurs will face a difficult test against the pesky Swiss side.

St. James Park meanwhile will play host to Benfica when Newcastle welcomes the Portuguese giants into northeast England (3:05pm, Fox Soccer Plus). Benfica controls the tie, winning 3-1 in Lisbon in the first leg, but Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is hoping his charges can overcome the deficit and keep hope of a European title alive.

Finally, Lazio hosts Fenerbahce at the Stadio Olimpico (3:05pm, Fox Soccer 2Go) just three days after a 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Roma. Fenerbahce won the first leg 2-0, but will be without key players Moussa Sow and Emre for the return leg, giving Lazio hope to mount a thrilling comeback in the tie.

If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below. For a rundown of information on today’s quarterfinal action, you can check out our preview after the jump.

Enjoy the action.

RUBIN KAZAN vs. CHELSEA

12:00pm, Fox Soccer Channel

Players to Watch: RUBIN KAZAN – Salomon Rondon, Gokdeniz Karadeniz, Roman Eremenko, Bibras Natkho; CHELSEA – Fernando Torres, Oscar, Edan Hazard, Victor Moses.

FC BASEL vs. TOTTENHAM

3:05pm, Fox Soccer Channel

Players to Watch: FC BASEL – Marco Streller, Alexander Frei, Mohamed Salah, Valentin Stocker; TOTTENHAM – Emmanuel Adebayor, Clint Dempsey, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jan Vertonghen.

NEWCASTLE vs. BENFICA

3:05pm, Fox Soccer Plus

Players to Watch: NEWCASTLE – Papiss Cisse, Yoan Gouffran, Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye; BENFICA – Oscar Cardozo, Nicolas Gaitan, Ola John, Nemanja Matic.

LAZIO vs. FENERBAHCE

3:05pm, Fox Soccer 2Go

Players to Watch: LAZIO – Hernanes, Miroslav Klose, Antonio Candreva, Senad Lulic; FENERBAHCE – Pierre Webo, Dirk Kuyt, Raul Meireles, Mehmet Topal.

——

What do you think of today’s matches? Which matches are you most interested to watch?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

145 Responses to UEFA Europa League: Your Running Commentary

  1. Mig says:

    Happy Times for this Chelsea fan. Torres scoring, heading to the semis. They are still Champions of Europe and I suppose this year, we will have to be happy with a shot at (Minor League) Champions of Europe.

    • Kodi says:

      I agree. It’s been an underwhelming year. And we still are sitting in a UCL spot for next year and still in the FA Cup and Europa. Ill take it.

  2. 46463633773373 says:

    Fernando Torres. People may have given up on him but remember He helped Spain win both the European cups and was a star at Atletico Madrid and Liverpool.

  3. John says:

    Dempsye needs a breakout performance, stepping up with Bale injured. Come on Duece!

  4. 46463633773373 says:

    Dempsey better show up TODAY

  5. Cristian says:

    I think its funny that Chelsea is playing full tilt on a FieldTurf field, arguably inferior to that used by the Timbers at Jeld-Wen, and yet there isn’t even a quarter of the controversy that follows MLS or CONCACAF games played there or in Seattle.

    • ChiTown says:

      UEFA actually forced them to use fresh laid grass turf for the 2008 UEFA Champions League at this stadium. And this pitch is already a secondary pitch decision as Rubin Kazan’s own pitch wasn’t up to standard, and there were complaints all over the Chelsea press that the players had never played on a pitch like that and didn’t want to.

      So they had to switch at the last minute to this field even though Rubin Kazan promised their home stadium would be ready.

    • Grunt says:

      Yes, there is. ChiTown is correct.

      If Chelsea could make them lay sod — the way Seattle does for them — they would.

  6. Nate Dollars says:

    alright, whose brilliant idea was it to make torres wear a mask? 3 goals in 3 games? it’s always the last thing you try…

    love that they’re calling him ‘Zorres’ now. hope he wears the mask from now on, just because.

  7. Mig says:

    You gotta hand it to Rubin Kazan, they are playing a monster game. Chelsea turned off and it has become at least a bit of close run thing.

  8. ChiTown says:

    I’m thinking Dempsey really needs to score today for the sake of his footballing career at Tottenham.

    • 46463633773373 says:

      we all need to pray

    • Mig says:

      Actually, I think it is more important that he is good and gels well with the players around him. AVB is a ‘tactics guy’ and if Dempsey is useful is the scheme, then his future at Spurs should be solid. Goals wouldn’t hurt either, of course, but in AVB-world…it’s complicated.

  9. Dinho says:

    Dempsey starting for Tottenham….big game. He’s a big game playa’ (see what I did there)

    • ChiTown says:

      Honestly, he’s starting because Tottenham is running out of offensive players.

      Bale, Defoe and Lennon are all out with a knock.

  10. HOH says:

    Gimme the deuce!

  11. kmac014 says:

    Dempsey!!!!!! rounds the keeper and puts it in the open net! beautiful, and what a pass by vertonghen

  12. Vic says:

    Dempsey off to a good start.

  13. David JS says:

    Deuce! Right place, right time, right guy for Spurs… 1-0 (3-2 agg) in the 24th minute.

    • David JS says:

      aaaand not to be outdone, Dembele equals the suicidal defensive blunder count at 1-apiece. Unconscionable idiocy.

  14. Francois says:

    Clint! Good job to continue his run, rounds the keeper and then finish it. Good goal by Clint!

  15. ChiTown says:

    Deuce needed a little stroke of luck and he got it. What an awful clearance.

    • beachbum says:

      Dempsey more than lucky today, as good a Spurs player as is on the field. Adebayor otoh, another nightmare, the only bigger nightmare being Spurs leaky defense, and Dembele was totally outplayed today and I dig his game but weak today

  16. jones says:

    All of the people who were freaking out about Dempsey and his drought seemed to have forgotten that he was coming back from injury, then travel and sickness for a while and is having to adjust to a very different lineup at Spurs now then when he left it (early on he was playing with Lennon, Bale and Defoe and not as much with Adebayor, Sig or of course Holtby). I’m sure he will continue to improve and adjust if he stays healthy.

  17. Nick4235 says:

    So I think it’s safe to say that both teams have gifted eachother their first goals. Even tho the score is still tied (Basel still thru on away goals) this actually helps Tottenham becuse now they only need 1 more goal to tie Basel in away goals.

  18. TomG says:

    Deuce will be fine regerdless of how many goals he scores today. He is a proven international calibre goal scorer who finished third (I think) in scoring in the BPL last season. I know we all get pumped for games and say crazy things but the Deuce doubting is ridiculous IMO.

    • jones says:

      So true.

      I’ve noticed that many who post here have the memory of a 90-year-old. Big picture, people, take a step back and calm down.

    • ChiTown says:

      It is not in any way, shape or form ridiculous. If you don’t think Tottenham would dump Clint you have another thing coming.

      He was tied for 4th with 3 other players-including Adebayor. There’s something to be said about being big man at a small club versus expecting consistency at a big club. He got freedom to do what he wanted at Fulham and just wander the field. Not the case at Tottenham and the better teams.

      Wayne Rooney was dropped from the starting lineup and the leading scorer of the premiership at the point when it happened — berba — was dropped from United’s squad entirely.

      At this level–you put up or shut up. And the season is almost over and Dempsey has 5 goals in the EPL compared to 17 last year.

      • Monty says:

        Yeah 9 goals in 40 appearances is not a great return for a player known for his finishing.

        • ChiTown says:

          Yup.

          This season he’s scoring at a rate of .26 goals/game.
          Last season he scored at the rate of .5 goals/game.

          People who claim to look at the big picture need to look at that. And if not, just go read actual Tottenham press talk about him. The only people that rate Dempsey well in the EPL right now are biased Americans.

          Being a fan of the USMNT doesn’t mean being blind.

          • Nate Dollars says:

            especially if a player isn’t a consistent starter, goals/minute is always a better measure of how often a player scores.

            and sure, spurs would dump him if he was underperforming (or for whatever reason they want), but that’s highly debatable. he went from top scorer at his ‘small club’ to *gasp* 3rd-highest scorer at his ‘big club’, all in substantially less minutes.

            and, in my case, being a usmnt fan has nothing to do with it. i’ve always thought he was overrated (unless his team is structured around him).

            • Monty says:

              Well the problem is that Dempsey doesn’t bring much else when not scoring. Sigurdsson is a good crosser of the ball and can be an exceptional free kick taker, Holtby hasn’t shown it yet for Spurs but, he was a fantastic playmaker for Schalke and while Lennon has some flaws his quickness makes him occasionally unstoppable. So the lack of goal scoring is a problem when he isn’t bringing much else to the table.

              • TomG says:

                It’s arguable, but I would disagree. It depends on his role. When Deuce plays on the wing or cm, he is an excellent ball winner and he’s a very creative passer, though he sometimes misses the easy pass and turns it over while he’s trying to find something special to do with the ball. You definitely can’t have 3 players on the pitch that play like him bc your attack would bog down, but every team would benefit by having a bit of Deuce.

              • atd says:

                Do we really think he hasn’t brought much to the table? I think he’s put in good defensive shifts, has made Bale more effective by occupying defenders/clearing space, and makes Spurs more tactically flexible because he can shift to any of like four positions.

            • ChiTown says:

              I agree he’s overrated. In fact, he’s incredibly overrated.

              He does one thing–score random goals. He is a below average passer. He has little vision. He is a black hole in the passing game. He can’t cross to save his life and his off ball movement leaves much to be desired.

              But legends are born when you save teams from relegation or earn spots in big tournaments with last second golazos from 30 yards.

              But he scores crazy, wild out of nowhere goals.

              • Gary Page says:

                Your comments about Dempsey are delusional. You must be one of those US hating trolls I see all the time at Goal.com. You spout opinions but have no facts to back them up. In addition to third in goals scored for Spurs, he is third in assists, all with limited games due to late arrival and two injuries.

          • TomG says:

            For a guy who frequently plays midfield and often comes off the bench? That is an awesome, awesome rate. You are completely off base.

            • jones says:

              yes.

              And people think managers only care about goal stats? Especially AVB. It isn’t up to the fans or the media.

              • TomG says:

                Exactly. If you want to argue that Deuce’s work rate has declined or that he’s not conforming to the system, you’d at least have an argument, but you can’t poke holes in Deuce as a goal scorer.

          • soccerhorn says:

            oh we’re supposed to trust the English press for an accurate assessment of an American player? That’s funny.

      • jones says:

        I see what you’re saying, but did you remember the part where he was out injured and sick for a while and then came back to a very different Spurs attacking lineup (used due to the injuries of many of the players he had started forming chemistry with)?

        I do agree with you about not being surprised if Spurs unload him, but I was referring more to the people saying that Clint would never see the field again for Spurs or regain his scoring form. He’s still working back up to it, so we’ll see what happens to him in the long run.

        • Gary Page says:

          There were people at the beginning of the season that said Dempsey would never get off the bench for Spurs. Those people are US hating trolls who attack Dempsey simply because he’s the best US player. I see this all the time. I think the best thing is to ignore their ignorant rants.

  19. jones says:

    Dembele having a mostly rotten game so far

  20. HOH says:

    You can’t compare his time at fulham to his time with spurs to date because he is in a completely different role. At fulhma he was the hub of the offense where now he is simply a spoke on the wheel. His job isnt to be the main scoring threat like it was at fulham because there are so many other talented players around him. He’s not having an amazing season but you cant fairly compare it to when he was a cotager.

  21. ed - houston says:

    not looking good for the Spurs, Basel just scored

  22. ed - houston says:

    nice cracking shot, Friedel up for the save, too bad about Bale and the other injuries.. it seems he gets injured frequently -possibly due to his fast style of play… dude is awesome though

  23. ChiTown says:

    Friedel is a beast.

  24. beachbum says:

    Adebayor an absolute nightmare over and over and over again…bad

  25. NC Jeff says:

    I see so many fouls called on the offense on corner kicks, and very rarely ever see a foul called on the defense. Is that really representative of actual play, or are refs. just that loathe to make foul calls on the defense, when the result would be a PK?

  26. beachbum says:

    Dempsey again…dude is clutch

  27. G.Bean says:

    Texas Deuce

  28. Gareth Bale says:

    FCOYS, jesus weezus

    • Keeping_The_Brek_Shea_Faith says:

      Spurs are a one man team.
      (couldn’t resist)
      Before you answer, ask yourself why Spurs lost today, and your answer better not include the phrase “Because Bale is injured/wasn’t playing.”

  29. lefty says:

    Deuce is the tits

  30. NC Jeff says:

    Demsey … AGAIN!

  31. ChiTown says:

    That’s how you solidify your spot.

  32. Francois says:

    Deuce gets the Deuce wearing the deuce!

  33. NC Jeff says:

    We’re all tied up … away goals would mean nothing now (well, unless they both score an equal number of goals in ET).

  34. NC Jeff says:

    Well, FCB … what to do now? Still want to sit back and defend?

  35. Riggity says:

    Im sorry but even if you take away the two goals, Dempsey has been the best player on the field for Spurs and it hasn’t even been close. Spurs trying to close it out!

    • beachbum says:

      he’s done it the entire game, clearly Spurs best player all night amid some otherwise horrible performances for that team

      like his partner Ade who, again, screws up the play by being offsides, again. Ade alone has stopped their attacks by himself probably 15 times tonight, maybe more

      • Riggity says:

        Yes, he has been atrocious but we cant talk about bad performances and not throw Holtby in the conversation. When Ade and Holtby try to connect its like a black hole.

  36. Riggity says:

    Adebayor is getting under McBride’s skin…mine too

  37. ed - houston says:

    yeah game on! let’s see some OT, PK drama perhaps

  38. Riggity says:

    O sweet child of mine vertohngen

  39. jones says:

    aw crud. 10 men and there could be an extra half hour.

  40. ESPN Gamecast Feed says:

    86′:Yann Sommer takes a direct freekick with his right foot from his own half. Outcome: open play
    85′: Emmanuel Adebayor commits a foul on Joo-ho Park resulting on a free kick for FC Basel. Outcome: Horrible
    85′: Brad Friedel makes an outstanding save (Catch)
    84′ :Marco Streller hits a good header. Outcome: save
    83′: Clint Dempsey hits the ball with his foot. Outcome: goal
    82′: Markus Steinhofer crosses the ball. Outcome: shot
    81′: Yann Sommer (FC Basel) takes a goal kick.
    81′: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Tottenham Hotspur) hits a shot but it goes off target: Normal

  41. Dinho says:

    no question that’s a red, vertonghen with a horrible decision to try and tackle rather than run with the forward….yikes.

  42. Riggity says:

    SHOW THEM THE DEUCE FACE!!

  43. NC Jeff says:

    ET … but for Spurs, they have to play 10 vs. 11.

    • malkin says:

      Obviously a bit biased in this circumstance, but isn’t it unfair to have the man-down carry over into extra time that is based on the result of two separate games?

      • soccerhorn says:

        huh? it was a straight red.

      • Kevin_H says:

        I think that’s a good point… I suppose the fair way to handle extra time would be instead to have a replay on neutral ground. What a hassle that would be, though.

      • Riggity says:

        So you are proposing they allow them back on for ET? Then wouldnt everyone hack anyone near the goal and hold off for extra time? I can understand the argument of getting rid of the away goals in ET, but thats just silly.

        • MidWest Ref says:

          Spurs got by Inter on an away goal in extra time. . . this seems to be a bit of things evening out over time

        • malkin says:

          I’m only (half-seriously) making the comment on the assumption that the extra time is essentially a third game. If somebody gets a red card in the first leg, they suffer less than if somebody gets a red card in the 2nd leg.

          It’s the same concept with the complaints about away goal rule. Although that can be argued it’s a mitigating factor to the unfairness that one team gets to play 30 minutes extra at home. In the Inter games for example, there were, what, something like 9 goals scored by the home side and 1 by the away side? Seems more unfair to give home side extra time than away side the benefit of a tie-breaker.

        • Juest says:

          You can split the difference if the ejected player gets to come back on, but can only kick the ball with one foot (and head the ball with one side too, I guess).

      • MidWest Ref says:

        Malkin’s point assumes that the extra time is a new mini game. But it is not, recall that Spurs got past Inter due to an away goal that was scored in exta time after things were all squared after the two 90 minute legs. Things have a way of evening out.

  44. soccerhorn says:

    I can’t wait to see how the Daily Mail and the rest of the British press criticizes Dempsey’s lackluster play tomorrow.

    • Joamiq says:

      You’ll be waiting a long time, since it won’t happen. We Americans sometimes try so hard to play the victim that we lose all perspective.

  45. ed - houston says:

    nice american football tackle on Deuce.

  46. NC Jeff says:

    FYI (in case it wasn’t obvious) – if they both score an equal number of goals in ET, ‘Spurs move on (away goals rule).

  47. Riggity says:

    Beautiful waste of possesion in the attacking corner for Adebayor

  48. XPK says:

    Please don’t go to penalties!

  49. Josh says:

    I think I’d take my chances with Friedel in a penalty shootout.

  50. beachbum says:

    Walker and Dawson worked their tails off

    does Clint get a PK? wouldn’t call it a big strength of his game, he looked tired at the end too, beat up

  51. Basel Fan says:

    BRONC. Good job Tom. Good news Spurs fans, you can rest up for a top 4 Prem finish now.

  52. David JS says:

    Basel score first, Huddlestone then gets turned away by Yan Sommer. 1-0 after 1st rd.
    And Basel’s 2nd is good, now 2-0 with Gylfi heading to the spot… and he puts in down the middle, 2-1 after 2nd rd.

  53. beachbum says:

    fitting end for Adebayor today

  54. David JS says:

    and of course Adebayor puts it 5 ft over the bar. 3-1 Basel after the 3rd rd…

  55. ChiTown says:

    I want to make Adebayor jokes… but that does it for me.

  56. QuakerOtis says:

    Sucks to be a Spurs fan. Dempsey haters can’t say a thing though.

  57. jones says:

    Basel all took theirs very well, Spurs lost it themselves.

  58. James says:

    Adebayor has been awful all season. Fitting end for him. I can’t imagine he’s around next season

  59. XPK says:

    Gutted!
    Well, there’s always next year…or perhaps the Champion’s League?!?!

  60. ChiTown says:

    How do you lose 4-1 on penalties? Jeez.

    • Dr. O'Neill says:

      Step 1. Find the equivalent of Shannon Boxx and Tobin Heath on your team.
      Step 2. Let them take PKs.
      Step 3. Enjoy

  61. soccerhorn says:

    And Dempsey never even gets to take a PK. Brilliant. Give the crucial 3rd kick to Adebayor – he’s had such a phenomenal year.

    • Jacknut says:

      Deuce’s record in game deciding PKs isn’t much better. AmIRite DCU fans. :)

    • Gary Page says:

      Worse was when Portugal lost on penalty kicks in the Euro Cup without Ronaldo ever getting to take a shot.

  62. Karol says:

    Basel, the club from which Barca got its colours from, prove themselves to be a formidable side after losing their two best players to the Bundesliga (Xhaka and Shaqiri). Respect!

  63. Indigo Montoya says:

    Sucks for Demps/Spurs to get knocked out after that effort – but an English club losing on penalties in a quarterfinal tournament match isn’t setting any precedent.

    Also, I didn’t want to see Demps take a penalty – as a Fulham supporter, I can recall some really poor penalties by him at Chelsea/Swansea over the past couple of years.

    COYW

  64. biff says:

    Gotta say that Dempsey was the best player for the Spurs today building on his solid performance Sunday against Everton. Two beautiful goals and some nice passes and he worked his a** off. I am sure that Clint now has a very warm spot in AVB’s heart.

    The only other offensive player to come within a mile of Dempsey today was Sigurdsson, who I am finally starting to like and who has been looking good in recent weeks. Adebeyor could not have been much worse and at times looked like he didn’t care. And what in the heck happened to Dembele, worthless performance. Holtby is not yet ready for prime time at Tottenham.

    News reports that Tottenham is going after Pablo Osvaldo of Roma.

  65. biff says:

    Just want to add that the troll up above sarcastically spouting off before the game in a couple posts that Clint needed a brace to make everyone forget Bale must be feeling foolish right now. ha-ha. Poor guy. He’s slithered off.

    And Clint’s goals like a gift from heaven to put a stop to the incessant rantings and ravings from that one poster who just goes on and on and on about how bad Clint is and how if he doesn’t score a goal today the his career is over. ha-ha.

    • atd says:

      +1. But do you think he did enough to salvage his footballing career at Tottenham?? (<–heavy sarcasm)

      • biff says:

        ha-ha. Good one.

        I think most of the people attacking Clint on the SBI are disgruntled Fulham fans who are angry that he wanted to move on. But recently I have wonder that maybe some of the attacks come from fanboys of another certain player on the USMNT and they want to try to knock Clint down a few notches in an effort to bolster the reputation of their guy.

  66. Joamiq says:

    I’d argue that Walker and Dawson were Spurs’ best players today – really, they were just incredible – and that Tom Carroll put on a masterclass display in his 60 minutes (they don’t play the same position, but Carroll’s emergence as an incredible passer and a bulldog in central midfield is not going to do anything to help Deuce’s minutes). But you could certainly argue that Dempsey was Spurs’ best attacking player today. His goals weren’t exactly beautiful, but he sure does seem to have a knack for being the garbage man. He put in good defensive work and didn’t do badly going forward. He was active, wasn’t bad in possession, and combined fairly well with his teammates today.