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Spurs out to finish job at Lyon

20 February 2013, 10:58

Paris -  Tottenham Hotspur are confident they have the attacking power needed to press home a 2-1 first-leg advantage and ease into the last 16 of the Europa League at Lyon's expense on Thursday.

The Premier League club are in fine form domestically at the moment, but they were given a tough time by their French opponents in last week's first leg at White Hart Lane, and needed an inspired Gareth Bale to give them the win.

Bale's brilliant last-gasp free-kick – his second thumping dead-ball strike of the game – allowed Spurs to go to the Stade de Gerland with the lead, although an equally stunning effort from Samuel Umtiti means Lyon remain in the tie.

They will still have to chase the game, though, and Spurs' goalkeeper Brad Friedel reckons that will work in the visitors' favour.

"The second goal was very important because 1-1 going to Lyon might tip the balance to them, but at 2-1 it gives the balance to us," said the veteran Friedel.

"They are going to have come out and try to score and hopefully that will leave it a bit open at the back and could leave chances for us."

The Tottenham manager, Andre Villas-Boas, who won this competition with Porto in 2011, insists there is no danger of his team simply sitting on their narrow lead.

"We are a team that normally scores goals away from home," said the Portuguese.

"We will do the same thing, attack to try and score and cancel out the away goal they got in the first leg."

The North London side are unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League games and had the benefit of a free weekend between the two legs of the tie because of their early elimination from the FA Cup.

In contrast, Lyon travelled straight from England to Bordeaux for a testing Ligue 1 game on Sunday looking to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions.

They came away with a remarkable 4-0 win, a result that allowed them to move back to within three points of Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table, and boosted confidence after a lacklustre start to 2013.

"I'm going to be a bit of a spoilsport, but we got a lot of breaks," tempered Lyon coach Remi Garde, a former Arsenal player.

"We were in front at halftime without really having posed any problems to our opponents. The scoreline must not turn any heads.

"We were not rewarded for our efforts against Tottenham, but the tie is only at its halfway stage," he added.

Lyon, who knocked Spurs out of the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup in 1967, but have not won at home to English opposition since, are missing the injured Yoann Gourcuff.

However, Steed Malbranque could face his former club after sitting out the Bordeaux win due to illness.

For Tottenham, an ankle injury rules out Jermain Defoe, while Friedel could start in goal again.

That would mean former Lyon 'keeper Hugo Lloris having to settle for a place on the bench for the return to his old stomping ground.

For the winners, a possible last-16 tie with Inter Milan lies in store if the Italians, 2-0 up from the first leg, finish the job against CFR Cluj of Romania.

- Sapa - AFP


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