If you fell into a coma at half time you’d have spent your lost hours dreaming of divers, time wasters, cheats and charmless arseholes with no self respect and no ambition (that’s Dnipro by the way). If you’d done the opposite however and been brought out of a dreamless sleep by the halftime Jermain Defoe love-in you’d vow to make sure you did everything you could to never miss a half of football again.
The first forty five minutes was an exercise in frustration as we had all the possession but were unable to muster much of a threat with only Christian Eriksen looking capable of lifting us out of the sucking quagmire created by the Dnipro players lack of interest in making a game of it. The second forty five though had just about everything and lived up to what we all hope European nights at the Lane are supposed to be. The balding Zozulya took advantage of the Defoe induced post-coital snooze to tilit the finely balanced game firmly in Dnipro’s favour just after the break. Eriksen dipped a beautiful free kick past the keeper at the near post to give us a way back, Dnipro hit the post, Vertonghen then made the most of Zozulya’s handbag of a headbutt (if you can have such a thing) and the referee bought it, just as he’d willingly signed up to much of the play acting in the first half. Adebayor decided to join in the fun by first of all sliding Eriksen’s cross home and then doing an impression of Drogba at his peak to chest Fryers long ball into space and casually flick over the keeper. For the second goal his celebration salute was performed on the run on the way back to the centre circle, for the strike that put us ahead he milked it in the corner and deservedly so, it was a quality effort.
Dnipro now tried to play football and showed that even with ten men they possesed a threat and Hugo did well to keep them out. Their behaviour in the first hour meant any sympathy was misplaced though – they’re no loss to the competition.
A very large doff of the cap needs to go to the flag waving, noisy and boisterous Park Lane who kept the support going all evening and looked like they were having fun doing it. I’ve no doubt they helped turn the tide and gave the players the lift they needed when things looked black. Well done #1882thfc.
The main thing is that we won of course and now face a mouth watering couple of games against Potuguese league leaders Benfica. One loss so far after 20 games. It’d be wrong to say that the win completely wiped away the performance at Norwich, if it means that Eriksen has done enough to get his name pencilled for every remaining game this season though, then that’s a very big bonus. COYS.
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