Stunning comeback sees Spurs advance

SOLE SURVIVORS::Spurs, who next face SL Benfica, are the only English Premier League side left in the competition after Swansea lost 3-1 to Napoli


Sat, Mar 01, 2014 - Page 18

Tottenham Hotspur are through to the round-of-16 of the Europa League after a dramatic recovery saw them get the better of 10-man Dnipro at White Hart Lane in London on Thursday.

After losing 1-0 in the first leg of the round-of-32 tie in Ukraine last week, Spurs looked to be heading out of the tournament when Roman Zozulya headed in a delivery from visiting captain Ruslan Rotan two minutes into the second half.

That left the Premier League club needing to score three unanswered goals to go through, but a Christian Eriksen free-kick reduced the deficit on 55 minutes, before Zozulya was shown a straight red card by the French referee following a headbutt on Jan Vertonghen.

Spurs made the most of their man advantage as Emmanuel Adebayor struck twice in the space of four minutes to seal a 3-1 win on the night and go through 3-2 on aggregate.

The Togolese forward later told ITV that he was never worried about his team’s situation.

“Not at all. I know we have quality up front,” Adebayor said.

“We just kept our focus very well and scored that good free-kick that put us on our way. I managed to get two goals for the team and we’re very happy,” he said.

Tim Sherwood’s side next face last season’s beaten finalists SL Benfica, who saw off PAOK of Greece, and they will do so as the only Premier League side left in the tournament after Swansea City went down 3-1 to SSC Napoli in Italy.

Following a goalless first leg, the Serie A side took the lead 17 minutes in at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples when Lorenzo Insigne cutely lifted the ball over Michel Vorm in the away goal.

Jonathan de Guzman hit back for Swansea and for a long time it looked as if they would progress on away goals, but Gonzalo Higuain took advantage of a lucky ricochet in the penalty area to put the hosts back in front 12 minutes from time, before Gokhan Inler made sure of Napoli’s progress in stoppage-time.

Napoli next take on 2010-2011 Europa League winners Porto, after the Portuguese club won a remarkable tie against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Following a 2-2 draw in last week’s first leg, Eintracht looked to be going through thanks to goals from Stefan Aigner and Alexander Meier either side of the interval.

A double from Porto’s France international defender Eliaquim Mangala silenced the crowd of close to 50,000 at the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, only for Meier to put the hosts back in front, but Nabil Ghilas netted four minutes from time to make it 3-3 on the night and take Porto through on away goals, the result easing the pressure on coach Paulo Fonseca.

Elsewhere, there is a mouthwatering all-Italian tie between Juventus and ACF Fiorentina after they eased past Trabzonspor and Esbjerg fB respectively, and there is also be a Spanish derby clash between city rivals Sevilla and Real Betis Balompie in the round-of-16.

Sevilla, who are eighth in La Liga, beat NK Maribor of Slovenia 2-1 on the night to go through 4-3 on aggregate, while Betis, La Liga’s bottom club, were impressive 2-0 winners away to Rubin Kazan in Russia, advancing 3-1 overall.

The 2008-2009 UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk were eliminated by Viktoria Plzen of the Czech Republic, who go through to play French side Olympique Lyonnais.

Ajax of the Netherlands fell by the wayside too, going down 6-1 on aggregate to Red Bull Salzburg, who next face Basel of Switzerland, while Bulgarian champions PFC Ludogorets Razgrad came from behind to knock out SS Lazio, setting up a tie against Valencia.