Tottenham travel to Portugal to face Pacos Ferreira on Thursday night in the first leg of their Europa Conference League playoff tie for a place in the competition’s group stage.
Pacos qualified for the competition’s third qualifying round after finishing the 2020/21 season fifth in the Primeira Liga and have started the current campaign in mixed form. Domestically, the Portuguese outfit have so far won and lost in their opening two league matches and progressed to the third round of the Taca de Portugal via a penalty shootout.
Tottenham, of course, have only played one competitive fixture so far in 2021/22 and came out 1-0 winners over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. They’ll play their first match in the maiden Europa Conference League on Thursday night, having finished seventh in the league last term to go straight into the playoff round.
Here’s 90min’s preview of the tie.
When is kick off? Thursday 19 August, 19:30 (BST)
Where is it being played? Estadio Capital do Movel, Pacos de Ferreira
What TV channel is it on? Premier Sports 1 (UK), fuboTV (US)
Who’s the referee? Maurizio Mariani
It was recently revealed that, despite previous reports, Harry Kane will not be travelling with the Tottenham squad for this tie.
Otherwise, Nuno Espirito Santo has a full squad to choose from although will likely make widespread changes, as he’s revealed no player who started Sunday’s win over Manchester City will do so again on Thursday.
This could mean full debuts for signings Pierluigi Gollini, Cristian Romero and Bryan Gil, while Giovani Lo Celso could be given a starting role on the night.
Pacos manager Jorge Simao made four changes to his starting lineup by the 70th minute of his side’s 3-0 victory over Boavista in their last outing, meaning he could opt for a lineup close to full strength to face Spurs.
Helder Ferreira, Ze Uilton, Joao Pedro and Douglas Tanque are all in line for starts for the clash.
Pacos de Ferreira: A Ferreira; Fonseca, Ramos, Baixinho, Antunes; Carlos, Eustaquio, Santos; H.Ferreira, Denilson, Silva.
Tottenham: Gollini; Doherty, Romero, Rodon, Davies; Winks, Lo Celso, Sissoko; Clarke, Scarlett, Gil.
In reality, anything but a win would be a disappointment for the Spurs squad and their fans.
Having put in a good collective display against last season’s dominant Premier League champions, it’s safe to say things look a little rosier right now than they did before the start of the campaign – even if Kane’s situation remains unresolved.
Of course, Pacos Ferreira are at the same stage of this competition by their own right, having beaten Northern Irish outfit Larne 4-1 on aggregate in the second qualifying round. It’s only the club’s fifth venture into European football since their formation in 1950, and Simao’s players will be chomping at the bit to cause Tottenham another upset.
However, with the squad depth and quality Santo has at his disposal, there should only be one winner here.
Prediction: Pacos Ferreira 0-3 Tottenham