Asteras relishing Spurs visit

Image: SpursWeb

The trip to Asteras Tripolis may be an unwanted distraction for Tottenham, but for the Greek hosts this Europa League clash represents the biggest match in their history.

Few had heard of Thursday’s opponents outside the Hellenic Republic until they secured progress to the group stage of this year’s competition.

It is no surprise given Asteras have risen from the fourth tier of Greek football to pit their wits against Besiktas, Partizan Belgrade and Spurs in 10 remarkable years.

That astonishing progress means the Barclays Premier League outfit’s arrival in the Arcadian capital this week has caused quite a stir.

Lampposts throughout the city centre are covered with Asteras v Tottenham posters and the Theodoros Kolokotronis Stadium is sold-out, as opposed to the 3,000 attendances they tend to get for league games.

“This is the biggest game in the club’s history,” manager Staikos Vergetis said. “This is the biggest name of opponent to come here and play us.

“We have only been in professional football for only 10 years. Asteras have made a lot of jumps as a team in every level.

“One big step is the game tomorrow against a big opponent.”

While Vergetis hails from the city of Tripoli, many of the players come from further afield.

The squad has a notable South American accent, while Spanish midfielder Fernando Usero captains the side.

“I think given the history of Asteras that this will be the most important game ever,” the 30-year-old said in his mother tongue.

“We will try to get through it and get some points.”

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