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Friday 28 February 2014

Europa League: Adebayor double rescues Spurs

Togo striker scores twice as Spurs recover from two-goal deficit; Swansea edged out by Napoli

  • Emmanuel Adebayor levels the tie on aggregate with his first goal of the evening

  • Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring Napoli's second goal against Swansea

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (3-2 agg.)

Emmanuel Adebayor came to his side's rescue as Tottenham Hotspur battled back from a two-goal aggregate deficit to overcome FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in their UEFA Europa League round-of-32 tie at White Hart Lane.

"I was delighted with the character – it's Tottenham. You probably all thought we were dead and buried"
Tim Sherwood

Spurs went into the match trailing 1-0 from the away leg and they were left with it all to do when Roman Zozulya doubled the visitors' advantage with the opening goal of the evening three minutes after the interval. However, Christian Eriksen reduced the arrears with a 56th-minute free-kick and the hosts were handed a further lifeline when Zozulya was shown a straight red card six minutes later for violent conduct.

Tim Sherwood's men took full advantage of their numerical superiority as Adebayor connected with Eriksen's cross to level the tie on aggregate and then produced the al-important third by bringing down Zeki Fryers' diagonal ball and flicking it nonchalantly past Denys Boyko.

"I was delighted with the character," said Sherwood, whose side face Benfica over two legs in the next round. "It's Tottenham. We find a hard way to do it. You probably all thought we were dead and buried."

Napoli 3-1 Swansea City (3-1 agg.)

Swansea City were 12 minutes away from winning their first knockout match in Europe before their bold challenge was brought to an end by Napoli.

After Lorenzo Insigne had given the Serie A side a 17th-minute lead at the Stadio San Paolo, Swansea replied on the half-hour, when Jonathan De Guzman converted one of several chances created by the Welsh side.

Indeed, the match story of the match might well have ended differently had Liverpool loanee Pepe Reina not denied the Swans with a string of excellent saves, but Garry Monk's charges were nonetheless heading for the last 16 on the away-goals rule until Gonzalo Higuain lashed in a half-cleared Dries Mertens cross. Reina then tipped Dwight Teindalli's header over the bar in a dramatic finale before Gokhan Inler struck at the other end in the dying seconds to end Swansea's resistance.

UEFA Europa League round-of-32 results

Napoli 3-1 (3-1 agg.) Swansea City (De Guzman)
Tottenham Hotspur (Eriksen, Adebayor 2) 3-1 (3-2 agg.) FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk

UEFA Europa League round-of-16 fixture

13 March
Tottenham Hotspur
v Benfica

Return leg to be played 20 March

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Key Points

  • Emmanuel Adebayor scores twice as Tottenham Hotspur reach last 16 of UEFA Europa League
  • Spurs rally from two aggregate goals down to set up meeting with Benfica
  • Swansea knocked out by Pepe Reina-inspired Napoli