Europa League: AEL Limassol v Tottenham Hotspur match preview and team news

A look ahead to Thursday evening’s Europa League play-off first leg at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Cyprus

Poor old Europa League. Unloved, neglected, a nuisance. Well not anymore. Uefa want people to take their second-tier European competition a little more seriously and their latest tactic is to offer a coveted Champions League spot to this year’s winners. It might just work, too. Tottenham, one of the stronger sides in the competition, will be keeping a keen eye on their midweek European adventures as life at the top of the Premier League becomes ever more congested.

That’s not to say boss Mauricio Pochettino won’t be plumbing the depths of his sizeable squad for this pre-group stage play-off. Those on the fringes of the first eleven should be given a run-out with Spurs the overwhelming favourites to advance given their Cypriot opponents’ relative lack of pedigree. AEL did, however, beat Zenit St. Petersburg 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier. They went on to get overturned in Russia in the second leg but the result proves they can be a threat to big teams on home soil and will warn Pochettino against over-complacency.

This is the Argentine manager’s first taste of European football and he’ll be keen to make sure he doesn’t spoil Spurs’ record of reaching the group stages in each of the last three seasons. They should be able to get the job done in the return leg but a decent result and a couple of away goals would no doubt be most welcome.  

KICK-OFF: Thursday, 5pm

CONFIRMED TEAMS...

AEL: Fegrouch, Nicolaou, Sielis, Tavares Carlitos, Cadu, Edmar, Bebe, Guidilleye, Sardinero, Gikiewicz, Diego Barcelos.

Subs: Pulpo, Espana, Tagbajumi, Stavrou, Miguel Carlitos, Eleftheriou, Nadeau.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Vertonghen, Dier, Naughton, Davies, Paulinho, Holtby, Townsend, Bentaleb, Soldado, Kane

Subs: Friedel, Rose, Lamela, Dembele, Dawson, Chadli, Sandro.

PAST MEETINGS…

The sides have never played out a competitive fixture. They did, however, meet in a friendly all the way back in 1968 when Spurs ran out 7-1 winners.

STATS…

Spurs have lost just one of their last seven European away fixtures.

AEL have made it through to the group stages of the Europa League once before (2012-13)

Spurs’ previous two away Europa League qualifying games have ended in 5-0 wins.

Tottenham have faced Cypriot opposition once before in European competition, beating Anorthosis Famagusta 6-1 at White Hart Lane before drawing 1-1 away.

This will be the first time AEL Limassol have faced English opposition in European competition.

 

ODDS…

AEL to win: 6.5

Tottenham to win: 1.44

Draw: 4.5

 

TV:

Not televised

Suggested Topics
Sport
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
Life and Style
The reindeer pen at the attraction
lifeLaurence Llewelyn-Bowen's 'Magical Journey' and other winter blunderlands
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Tana Ramsay gave evidence in a legal action in which her husband, Gordon, is accusing her father, Christopher Hutcheson, of using a ghost writer machine to “forge” his signature
peopleTana Ramsay said alleged discovery was 'extremely distressing'
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Windsor and Aljaz Skorjanec rehearse their same-sex dance together on Strictly Come Dancing
TV
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'