Monday February 12 2018
Tottenham have history in Italy

Tottenham Hotspur's previous meetings with Serie A sides have always been intense and uncertain affairs, notes Giancarlo Rinaldi, so Juventus beware.

It is a story which begins with a strike from one of Italian football’s original hard men. Romeo Benetti (younger readers - imagine Rino Gattuso but without the gentler qualities) opened hostilities between Tottenham Hotspur and Serie A with a thunderous hit for Milan at White Hart Lane in April 1972.

It started a series of punches and counter-punches which will continue when Juventus enter the ring this week. And there are lessons there from history for both sides, if they care to study them.

That first encounter in a UEFA Cup semi-final would be turned on its head by a Spurs youngster on his way to becoming a club legend. Steve Perryman scored twice with two screamers to give the London side a precious first leg advantage.

Not even the great Gianni Rivera - who converted a penalty in the return match - could help the Rossoneri to progress after Alan Mullery opened the scoring at San Siro. “We have to recognise that we were beaten by a great side,” reckoned that inimitable Coach, Nereo Rocco.

If round one had gone to Tottenham, it would be a long wait for round two - some 36 years - and without the glamour of playing quite such a giant of the Italian game. The UEFA Cup group stages would see Serie A gain some measure of revenge with Toto Di Natale - who else? - and Simone Pepe the scorers in a 2-0 triumph for Udinese.

That might sound like an embarrassing result on paper for the English side, but the boys from the Friuli could boast Samir Handanovic, Fabio Quagliarella and Alexis Sanchez in their ranks. Suddenly, it doesn’t read like quite such a shock outcome.

But the fireworks really erupted in this story, it would be fair to say, when Inter came on the scene. The two sides produced a pair of ding-dong battles in the group phase of the Champions League in 2010-11 with Gareth Bale doing his best to single-handedly produce an amazing comeback from 4-0 down at San Siro.

His hat-trick in defeat was impressive, but he got revenge in the home fixture as another masterclass delivered a 3-1 win. Spurs had shown they could go toe-to-toe with the reigning European champions and produce the goods. For good measure, they would go on to knock Milan out of the competition thanks to a single Peter Crouch strike over two legs.

Two years later, Inter and Spurs would meet again, this time in the Europa League, but not before two forgettable 0-0 draws between Tottenham and Lazio. With the Nerazzurri, however, the goalscoring magic was rekindled, as the Londoners crushed the Milanese giants 3-0 at home to set up what looked like a formality in the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

However, the place still clearly had a magical effect, as the Italians came within a whisker of a famous recovery. Antonio Cassano, Rodrigo Palacio and a William Gallas own goal sent the tie to extra time. It took an Emmanuel Adebayor goal to decide the outcome and make a late Ricky Alvarez strike futile.

That heralded the start of the Fiorentina era and the final episodes of this gripping melodrama. The Viola would triumph in the Europa League in 2015 with Mohamed Salah and Mario Gomez securing a 2-0 win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi after a 1-1 draw in England. A year later, however, Tottenham would turn the tables in style with a 3-0 success at home after a 1-1 result in Florence. It was enough to take their record against Italian sides into credit, if only just.

The truth is that these past clashes show a glorious equilibrium when those famous white shirts come to Italy or host Serie A outfits. Whenever they have met in knockout matches, it has rarely been anything other than intense - even when a first leg result looked like it might have made things straightforward.

If the best sporting encounters are those in which the outcome is uncertain until the end, the omens are that Juventus and Tottenham should dish up a treat.

The Bianconeri should be warned that their opponents are rarely down and out, even when the odds seemed stacked against them. While Spurs, for their part, will have to be on their guard against the European nous that Italian teams can offer, which can often be their undoing.

This should be exquisite fare over 180 minutes - or possibly more - of Champions League intrigue. The White Hart Lane wannabes against that veteran Vecchia Signora. Somewhere - I like to imagine underneath his trademark moustache - Romeo Benetti will be licking his lips at the prospect.

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Have your say...
@ Vik I heard if you want to sign Donnarumma, you must also sign his brother, his sister, his father, his mother, his grand father, his grand mother, his girlfriend, and his dog. Hahahahahahaha... Nope, we don't need your GK!
on the 15th February, 2018 at 11:12am
Hahahaha... Excuse me, with all Clown Bonucci's fatal blunders, how can you say: "they have doing great so far..."????

on the 15th February, 2018 at 11:08am

First, nobody here ever said that Juve are "conquering Europe"..
Why do you keep imagining things that nobody has said??

Second, having won eleven UEFA trophies and the first club to win the EU treble, only club to win all 6 UEFA trophies is not exactly "zero", is it?

Hate Juve all you want, or don't. I don't care.

But don't try to ignore numbers and erase history, it's ignorant and disrespectful.
on the 14th February, 2018 at 5:34pm

I'm pretty sure you would swap Wojciech Szczęsny in a heart beat for Donnarumma.
on the 14th February, 2018 at 2:55pm

You mean Italy's future goalie, and the future captain?


They have been doing great so far... Not sure why you would laugh at losing one of your best players, but hey... People never stop to suprise.

Good luck away against Spurs away, You'll need it, since VAR is not an option.
on the 14th February, 2018 at 2:50pm

Clearly you are NOT LISTENING to what im saying.

At NO point have i hated against Juve, BUT they are NOT as good as they are in EUROPE as they are in Italy.

Pretty simple??

I have NOTHING against Juve, but I do NOT enjoy people claiming Juve are conquering Europe when in fact they are conquering ZERO. Ok?
on the 14th February, 2018 at 1:20pm
Hahahaha... Oh Vikky, how's Bonucci doing?

Is "the highest paid clown in Milan" preparing new tricks for Milan fans like you? Tbh, I can't wait for his new jokes, he makes me laugh so hard. HAHAHAHAHA.... Bonucci and Donnarumma... Hahahahahaha... 2 leeches!
on the 14th February, 2018 at 12:20pm
@ viktor

Where did I talk about knock out stages?

I'm talking about trophies.
Juve still 4th team in Europe in terms of EU TROPHIES.

And we were talking about the CL here, you said Juve won it in '93, then you say oh no I mean the cup...
And yes in '93 Marseille won the CL.

Who was talking about the cup??
Own up to your mistakes.

Anyway, you can never say that Juve is not one of the leading clubs in the world historically.
Only a bitter hater will say that.

And no we are not on par with Porto
Juve has 11 trophies, Porto has 7 same as Manchester Utd.

And don't be proud then.
You always have something childish to say about Juve.
You're nothing but a bitter hater.
So be it.
on the 14th February, 2018 at 8:17am
Juve's Major International Honors

2 CL 85 & 96
1 CWC 84
3 Uefa Cups 77, 89 n 93 I think?
2 World Club Cups 85 n 96.

It's widely regarded that Juve r the most successful side domestically n that traditionally Milan do well in Europe 7 CL wins n I know Milan won the CWC too but Juve's record ain't bad by anyone's standards. I don't think Porto can match it Internationally anyway? Juve have also reached what is it 7 CL finals now on top of winning it twice too? That must be a record in itself!
on the 14th February, 2018 at 12:19am
2-2. Sounded like a great game. Juve have a mountain to climb now but they do put in some good performances away from home in the CL! As far as Juve being a top European club. As a neutral I'd say that's indisputable. I think there's only Juve,Barca,Ajax n maybe 1 other but I'm not sure? who managed to win all 3 European comps. Juve won Uefa cup in 93 n CL in 85, 96. Look at all European Finals they've been too as well as 2 World Club cups won so Juve r one of most successful sides in world!
on the 14th February, 2018 at 12:06am

I dont care if you combine, second, third knock outstages bunch of not relevant placement.

You won it 96 that is correct, and ONE time before that. At 93 you won the cup NOT marseille.

I clearly stated that you superior in Italy a long with Napoli but outside that you have been on pair with Porto. -FACT-

I should be proud that a rival to Milan do this and that? This is a matter of clubs and not national teams. So no, I'm not proud of Juventus doing well. Why should I be?
on the 13th February, 2018 at 2:43pm
Juve are most definitely one of the leading teams in the World as Italy is one of the top 3 World Cup nations and historically they supply the backbone of the Azzurri.
The magnificent Italy's side in the 1978 World Cup consisted of 10 Juventus players plus Antognoni of Fiorentina, just as an example.
Also clearly they are the side that has won, by far, more Italian Titles and in addition more Coppa Italias than any other Club. The great, great Latin sides, historically, used to be Real,Juventus,
on the 13th February, 2018 at 9:03am
@Viktor, ditto!!!
If we go by what they (Juve) have won, one could argue Porto are as equally one of the leading teams in the world.

Porto: League Titles 27 Cups 16 SuperCups 20 CL 2 EUFA Cup 1
Juve : League Titles 33* Cups 12 SuperCups 7 CL 2 EUFA Cup 2

PS. Porto won the CL a lot more recent, 2004.

However, they have gone deeper into the CL in recent years, most notably losing the final twice in three years, and 5 times the bridesmaid since their last victory in 96.
on the 13th February, 2018 at 2:15am
@ viktor

- Juventus was the first club and remains the only one to have won all six official UEFA tournaments.

- Juventus are also the first club to win all 3 major European competitions. The "European Treble".

- Juventus are the first European club to win all international trophies.

- Juventus was ranked 7th in the FIFA's historic ranking of the best clubs in the world (best Italian position).

- Juventus has the record for an Italian club in leading the UEFA rankings.

- Juventus ranks 4th in the number of total UEFA trophies.

Is that enough world history for you?

And by the way, it was Marseille who won it in '93. And even then it was called the CL. Juventus won the CL in '96, and yes it was also called the Champions League.

You clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

As a fan of Italian football, you should be proud that another Italian team holds those records.

Since when did Milan fans become so bitter and ignorant?
on the 13th February, 2018 at 1:33am
Italy doesn't seem to produce Benetti-type players any longer...
on the 12th February, 2018 at 7:24pm
on the 12th February, 2018 at 6:42pm
@CARPE DIEM I agree. Juve are definitely favourites. I think a minimum of a draw is 85%. Juve's defence is back to the top level.
on the 12th February, 2018 at 4:50pm

How are Juve historically one of the leading teams in the world??

last time they won it was 93.. when it was called UEFA CUP.

They are clearly with Napoli superior in Italy but far from "historically one of the leading teams in the world..
on the 12th February, 2018 at 1:38pm
It is fair to think, on a level playing field, that on pure value, on paper, Juventus MUST be favourite on a level of 65% positive against a 35% in favour of Spurs.
Juventus are one of the leading Clubs in the world, historically, and the Londoners, quite simply, are not.
However nothing is clear cut in football, and like always anything can happen.
For instance, Real Madrid are much better than Tottenham, at least 80% to a mere 20%, yet the North London side beat them twice in the CL. So.....
on the 12th February, 2018 at 8:26am

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