Spurs and Aston Villa Look Set to Meet in The Last 16 of the UEFA Cup

Willie GannonSenior Writer IDecember 19, 2008

Aston Villa and Tottenham will meet in the last 16 of the Uefa Cup should they knock out CSKA Moscow and Shakhtar Donetsk respectively in the last 32.

Spurs drew 2-2 against Spartak Moscow, a result which was good enough for them to finish the group stages in second place.

Spartak took an early two-goal lead though strikes from Artem Dzjuba after calamitous defending by the Spurs back four. Gilberto, in particular, had a nightmare, and looks like he could have played his last game for Spurs after he was substituted at half time.

Harry Redknapp confirmed as much in his press conference after the match, saying "Gilberto was quite happy to come off. There's not really a way back for him here. The boy doesn't want to play here. He's a nice guy but just doesn't feel confident playing here."

His replacement, Aaron Lennon, was instrumental in Tottenham clawing their way back into the match, and only an outstanding display by Pletikosa in the Spartak goal kept the scores level.

Luka Modric bagged his first goal in Tottenham colours while the ever improving Tom Huddlestone scored a header to equalise.

Aston Villa had a night to forget as a Hamburg side managed by ex-Spurs boss Martin Jol took them apart. The resulting 3-1 scoreline flattered the Midlanders as it could easily have been six. And just to cap off a disastrous night for Villa, Steve Sidwell got himself sent off after he collected two yellow cards.

"I think it's a really difficult game for us and we could have had easier ties, if there is such a thing," said Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill of his club being drawn against CSKA Moscow and then facing the prospect of taking on Spurs.

"But we're into the final 32, which is where we wanted to be when we set out, and we'll go there with plenty of confidence."

Club secretary John Alexander also said that Tottenham could have been handed an easier route to the last 16.

"I think of the teams we could have come across, the long trips to eastern Europe would have been further down our list," he said of the trip to face Shaktar Donetsk.

"But we've gone on a good run since Harry joined the club and the more positive results we can get it just breeds confidence, and hopefully it can help us in our quest to get more Premier League points."

Ironically and despite the current standings in the Premier League, Tottenham will go into these matches as slight favourites, and will be confident of reaching the next phase despite the tough opposition that Villa and Shaktar will provide.

Last 32 draw (first leg 18-19 Feb/ second leg 26 Feb):

Paris Saint-Germain v Wolfsburg
NEC Nijmegen v Hamburg
Sampdoria v Metalist Kharkiv
Braga v Standard Liege
Lech Poznan v Udinese
Olympiakos v Saint-Etienne
Fiorentina v Ajax
Aalborg v Deportivo La Coruna
Werder Bremen v AC Milan
Bordeaux v Galatasaray
Dynamo Kiev v Valencia
Zenit St. Petersburg v Stuttgart
Marseille v FC Twente
Shakhtar Donetsk v TOTTENHAM

Last 16 draw (first leg 12 Mar/ second leg 18-19 Mar):

Werder Bremen or AC Milan v Olympiakos or Saint-Etienne
ASTON VILLAor CSKA Moscow v Shakhtar Donetsk or TOTTENHAM
Lech Poznan or Udinese v Zenit St Petersburg or Stuttgart
Paris Saint-Germain or Wolfsburg v Braga or Standard Liege
Dynamo Kiev or Valencia v Sampdoria or Metalist Kharkiv
Copenhagen or MANCHESTER CITY v Aalborg or Deportivo
Marseille or FC Twente v Fiorentina or Ajax
NEC Nijmegen or Hamburg v Bordeaux or Galatasaray