Europa League preview: Spurs face Swiss hurdle
By Football News
Tottenham will have to overcome injuries to key players when they take on FC Basel in the second leg of the Europa League quarter-finals.
Forwards Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon are all expected to miss the crucial contest in Switzerland, with the tie finely balanced after Basel managed two away goals in a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane last Thursday.
The Swiss side surprised Spurs by scoring twice in the first half through Valentin Stocker and Fabian Frei, before Emmanuel Adebayor and Gylfi Sigurdsson restored parity, keeping Andre Villas Boas' side in the tie.
Adebayor will again be a pivotal figure for Spurs, leading the line on his own in the absence of Defoe, while fullbacks Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker must provide the width with wingers Bale and Lennon missing.
Basel coach Murat Yakin will be hoping for more of the same from his players, with powerful Switzerland striker Marco Streller capable of unsettling any defence.
Also on Thursday, an away goal for Fenerbahce at the Stadio Olimpico would make things tough for Lazio, who are fighting to overcome a 2-0 deficit after the first leg in Turkey.
The Italian side suffered a setback in that clash, with Ogenyi Onazi shown a second yellow card after 47 minutes.
Fenerbahce took advantage with two second-half goals to take control of the tie.
Lazio will need to score at least twice to keep their hopes alive, but it is also essential they prevent the Turkish side from finding the back of the net.
Chelsea are in good shape to progress to the semi-finals, despite facing a tough trip to Russian Premier League side Rubin Kazan.
Fernando Torres scored twice in a 3-1 victory for the Blues at Stamford Bridge last week and coach Rafael Benitez will be confident of getting the away goal they need to make it difficult for the Rubin.
But the Chelsea defence will be without Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill through injury, with Ryan Bertrand deputising at left-back and either John Terry or Branislav Ivanovic to partner David Luiz in the middle.
Newcastle United must attempt to overcome a 3-1 deficit as they welcome Benfica to St James' Park.
The Portuguese side went behind to an early Papiss Cisse away goal in the first leg in Lisbon, but recovered superbly to swing the tie back in their favour.
A 2-0 victory will be the scoreline Newcastle coach Alan Pardew is aiming for, and the clean sheet kept against Fulham on Sunday will give them hope that they can prevent Benfica scoring to give themselves a chance of progression.