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Europa League Rewind: Dempsey’s double can’t save Spurs, Chelsea advance, & more

ClintDempseyBasel (Getty)


Tottenham gave everything they had on Thursday night. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t enough.

The North London side fell to FC Basel 4-1 on penalty kicks, after 120 minutes tied at two in the Europa League quarterfinals. Clint Dempsey had both goals for Spurs on the night, giving the team an early lead before coming back to save them late in the match.

Earlier on Thursday, Chelsea fell 3-2 to Rubin Kazan in Russia, but moved on thanks to a 5-4 aggregate lead. Newcastle drew at home against Benfica 1-1, putting the Portuguese club through 4-2 on aggregate. And playing in front of an empty Stadio Olimpico, Lazio drew 1-1 with Fenerbahce, who go through to the Europa League semifinals on a 3-1 overall score.

Dempsey opened the scoring for Spurs in the 23rd minute, latching onto a through ball and rounding the Basel goalkeeper Jan Sommer, before slotting home with his left foot. Four minutes later, dynamic winger Mohamed Salah provided a quick response for Basel, finishing into the near post off quick shot that wrong footed the Spurs ‘keeper Brad Friedel.

Four minutes into the second half, Friedel made another crucial mistake, pushing a flicked corner kick into the path of Basel defender Aleksandar Dragovic, who slammed the loose ball into the net. But luckily for Spurs, it was the American Dempsey who came to the rescue, controlling a long cross and finishing with an toe-poke style shot that squirmed under Sommers arm and rolled across the line to tie the score at two.

Having used all their subs, the English side were given a massive blow in 90th minute injury time, when defender Jan Vertonghen was shown a straight red card for clattering into Basel captain Marco Streller, who was clear on goal.

Down a man, Spurs gutted out all 30 minutes of extra time, but failed to find enough left in their legs to win the eventual penalty shootout. Gylfi Sigurdsson scored, but Tom Huddleston, and Emmanuel Adebayor both missed before Basel substitute Marcelo Diaz scored the match-winning penalty.

The Europa League semifinal draw will occur on Friday morning.

Here’s a look at all the scores from Thursday’s Europa League action:

Basel 2, Tottenham 2 (4-1 on Penalties, 4-4 on aggregate)

Rubin Kazan 3, Chelsea 2 (4-5 aggregate)

Newcastle 1, Benfica 1 (2-4 aggregate)

Lazio 1, Fenerbahce 1 (1-3 aggregate)


What did you make of today’s matches? Impressed with Basel’s performance? Think Chelsea can win the competition? Who do you see lifting the trophy?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Yes, in the past, it always seemed like Dempsey played with passion for Fulham, but was lazy with the US team. But a lot of that had to do with tactics and him getting touches on the ball. Dempsey has been playing more of a central mid / attacking mid and is getting a lot of touches for the US so he seems very active and involved. For Spurs, he’s not the focal point (like at Fulham or the US team). Maybe AVB will make Dempsey more of the focal point in these next matches? I’m sure when they review tape, they will say, “look, Dempsey is open several times in the game but no one passed the ball to him … we need to pass the ball to him!”.

  2. On further reflection after Dempsey’s excellent performance yesterday against Basel, I am certain that AVB liked what he saw and will make Clint a major component in these last six games of the PL season as Tottenham strives to finish in the Top Four for a Champions League spot. Clint played like a man possessed yesterday and the only offensive player to come close to his heartfelt performance was Sigurdsson.

    As for Adebayor, impossible to know what was going on his mind but he does have a reputation and he played like a guy who was trying to lose. Worst of all, after he missed the penalty kick by a mile he had a (Stuff Eating Grin) smile on his face and in my mind that says it all. He should demoted to the second team for the rest of the season.

    And as long as Defoe is out Clint should be put up top and the attackers should be ordered by AVB to start actively seeking out Dempsey as the go-to man. Several times last night Dempsey was waving for the ball or was open in space and he was not getting service.

    • “Several times last night Dempsey was waving for the ball or was open in space and he was not getting service”

      I’ve noticed that also in many games. Spurs tend to rely on the pure speed of Bale, Lennon and Defoe. They are less adept at finding targets (Clint) in good positions.

    • “Several times last night Dempsey was waving for the ball or was open in space and he was not getting service”

      saw it too, then the through ball for the first goal and that changed things. Holtby and Ade were quite poor yesterday

  3. I don’t think Friedel can be faulted for the second goal. With those near post flick ons, you don’t have any time to react. He got a hand on it and just had to hope it didn’t fall to a Basel attacker, which it did. He definitely positioned himself very poorly on the first goal though – beaten near post, when his defenders were cutting off the far post shot.

  4. I think this was brought up on another post, but these home and home cup ties are not fair when they go into extra time. Unless extra time is eliminated or some type of ranking is developed for the higher seeded team to always get the return leg of the tie, there will be a 30 minute home advantage. I’m not saying at all that is why spurs lost, it is just an annoyance I’ve never really understood.

    • That’s true but away goals still count in extra time which can be just as annoying for the home side. If Tottenham had scored in the 30 mins Basel would have needed 2 to move on.

  5. Want to have a lot of fun? Tell a Spurs fan they’re a one man team. Ignore their bluster and ask them why they lost today.
    I predict you’ll get a great reaction…

      • Excuse my ignorance. Lennon was also missing. Also missing was you, grasping the point of my chicanery….

    • He has always been that way. His first season at a new club is fantastic, but he grows cocky, disinterested, or bored and doesn’t play well after.

    • Dude… DVR. If you are already paying for a channel that shows Europa League matches, I’m sure you can afford the $5-10 extra/month.

      Unless, you meant “tape” figuratively. In that case, protip: Always set games with the potential to go to PKs to end 1 to 1.5 hrs after scheduled end.

      I always set any match to end 30 min after, just in case there’s a weird delay.

    • Sad but true, just read spurs forums, even with 2 goals today, he still is getting dragged through the mud. Anti-americanism at its best.

      • BPL ultra forums are mostly occupied by fecal flinging monkeys with keyboards. Be careful. You risk getting dumber just by reading them.

      • I’m not sure it’s necessarily anti-americanism. Truth to be told, Dempsey is just a bad fit for the Spurs. Watching Clint play could be infuriating even when he is scoring — he sometimes appears uninvolved, disinterested, lazy… At Fulham they understood his strengths and real or imaginary weaknesses and let him be who he is. At Tottenham, he often looks like play bypasses him. It also must be hard to be an attacker on a team that has Bale and Defoe — both of them are very individualistic players who often ignore teammates. Clint frequently appears to be ignored by teammates.

        Having said all that, Adebayor has had a much worse season than Dempsey, yet the fans don’t seem to be against him nearly as much, and he keeps starting for the team.

      • First, Clint and Defoe have played really well together. I dont know why people continue to say Clint appears disinterested and uninvolved. Just because he doesnt run around everywhere like a chicken with his head cut off, like Holtby, getting in everyone’s way, doesnt mean he is disinterested. Dempsey did his job expertly on both sides of the ball yesterday. However, Attabuymeformore was terrible, talk about appearing to not care, yet people still think he is world class. What the above posters are talking about is totally anti-Americanism. Just ask any American player in England

      • I’m sure there is some anti-Americanism, but, for example, if you read what the Villa fans are saying now about Guzan, you’d think that he’s the best keeper of all times.

      • Truthfully, for the last five or so years, until Donovan’s self-induced exile, many US fans felt the same way about Dempsey. He does goes missing and he does seem disengaged at times, but he just gets on the end of balls and scores important goals so he can’t be ignored.

        Depending on what you read, Spurs will be looking to offload almost their entire strike force – Dempsey included. I think he’s worth keeping around, but as a US fan, I want him playing 90 – not acting as a super sub. At least the gaffer trusts him.

      • And from the 2009 Confederations Cup game v Egypt on, most US fans would be wrong about Dempsey. Also, none of Dempsey’s coaches or teammates would agree with this assessment by USA fans.

      • Eh, he looked pretty out of it a few times later in the hex in my opinion. For the most part I’d agree.

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