Tottenham have been handed a sizeable fillip on their mission for three Europa League Group C points with the news that Partizan Belgrade will be without prolific striker Petar Skuletic.
The 24-year-old had been in formidable nick for the side whose fans known themselves rather delightfully as the Grave Diggers, hitting nine goals in 11 games this term across Super Liga, Champions League qualifying and the Europa League, assisting three more.
For a Spurs side whose defensive fragility cost them victory in last weekend’s 2-2 draw against Sunderland his absence will make chiselling out a win in Serbia at odds of 18/25 that much easier.
Partizan, who will also be missing defensive midfielder Darko Brasanac, are 17/5 outsiders for all three points at the JNA Stadium, with the draw rated a 14/5 shot.
Out of action with a fractured rib, Brasanac was another key player in the bid to qualify for the Champions League, playing in all four eliminators for the hosts and laying on three goals for his side.
It’s further good news for Mauricio Pochettino, who has assumed control of a Lilywhites outfit that were very effective on the road in Europa League action last term.
Defeat was avoided in all bar one of Tottenham’s six away games in the 2013/14 competition, with the team winning their first four outings by an aggregate score of 11-0.
That the thread hasn’t been dropped under the new gaffer has been advertised by the 2-1 victory in Limassol which helped book their place in the group stage.
Despite being a goal down approaching the last quarter of an hour, neither manager nor team panicked and they were able to make their superior class tell thanks to two moments of quality from the hooves of Erik Lamela.
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