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APOEL gear up for Tottenham test

APOEL have acquitted themselves well against English opponents in the past, and are likely to need a repeat peformance when Tottenham visit Nicosia in Group H.

Harry Kane marked his European debut with a goal against Cypriot opposition
Harry Kane marked his European debut with a goal against Cypriot opposition ©Getty Images

APOEL FC will need another solid performance against English opponents when Tottenham Hotspur FC visit in the second round of Group H games.

Match background

Beaten 3-0 away to holders Real Madrid CF on matchday one, APOEL will be looking to continue their impressive home form as they bid to revive their chances.

• A 1-0 loss to RSC Anderlecht in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 16 is APOEL's sole reverse in their last 11 European home games – nine of which ended in victory. That Anderlecht defeat featured the only goal APOEL have conceded in their last seven home games.

• APOEL's only previous home game with Premier League visitors was against another London club, Chelsea FC winning 1-0 in Nicosia. The game in England finished 2-2, APOEL substitute Nenad Mirosavljević scoring an 87th-minute equaliser.

• APOEL have not won a game in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final, since beating Olympique Lyonnais 1-0 in the round of 16 second leg on 7 March 2012. Their subsequent record is D1 L8.

• The Cypriot club are in the group stage for a fourth time, having previously qualified in 2009/10, 2011/12 – when they went all the way from second qualifying round to quarter-finals, losing to Real Madrid – and 2014/15.

• APOEL have won through from the second qualifying round to reach this group stage, beating Luxembourg's F91 Dudelange (2-0 on aggregate) and FC Viitorul of Romania (4-1). In the play-offs they overcame SK Slavia Praha 2-0 at home before a goalless away draw.

• Thwarted in the play-offs by FC København 12 months ago, APOEL went on to finish first in their UEFA Europa League group, subsequently ousting Athletic Club 4-3 on aggregate in the round of 32 before losing to Anderlecht 1-0 both home and away in the last 16.

• Harry Kane scored in both games when Tottenham last played Cypriot opposition, in the shape of AEL Limassol FC in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League play-offs. Spurs won 2-1 in Larnaca, Kane getting an 80th-minute winner, before a 3-0 victory at White Hart Lane in which the striker opened the scoring.

• That was Tottenham's second tie against a club from Cyprus, after a 7-2 aggregate defeat of Anorthosis Famagusta FC in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup first round (6-1 home, 1-1 away).

• Tottenham, 3-1 winners at home to Borussia Dortmund in the opening round, have lost their last two European away games. They picked up four points on their travels in the 2016/17 group stage.

• The Lilywhites have won two of their last 11 European away matches (D3 L6).

• This is Tottenham's third time in the group stage and a second foray in as many seasons – the first time in their history they have managed consecutive European Cup campaigns.

• In 2010/11, their UEFA Champions League debut, Tottenham went all the way to the quarter-finals, losing 5-0 on aggregate to Real Madrid. Twelve months ago they came third in their group and moved into the UEFA Europa League, where they fell 3-2 on aggregate to KAA Gent in the round of 32.

Coach and player links
• Mauricio Pochettino faced APOEL in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup first round whilst playing for RCD Espanyol, the Spanish side winning 3-2 on aggregate (2-2 away, 1-0 home).

• Hugo Lloris was in the Lyon side knocked out by APOEL in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League round of 16, bowing out after a 4-3 penalty shoot-out defeat in Cyprus.

• Lorenzo Ebecilio was at AFC Ajax between 2010 and 2013, playing alongside Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.

• Igor de Camargo played alongside Vertonghen, Alderweireld and Mousa Dembélé with Belgium.

• Vertonghen and Alderweireld were in the Belgium side that beat Cyprus 5-0 at home in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying, Giorgos Mekris and Antreas Makris appearing for the visitors. Makris, Vertonghen and Alderweireld also featured in Belgium's 1-0 victory in Cyprus.

• Nektarios Alexandrou, George Efrem and substitute Makris were in the Cyprus team beaten 3-0 by Belgium in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying in September 2016; Vertonghen and Alderweireld played for Belgium.

• Serge Aurier was an unused sub as Paris Saint-Germain won 1-0 in both Cyprus and France against APOEL in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League group stage. Carlão, George Efrem, Vinicius, Nuno Morais, Nicholas Ioannou and Stathis Aloneftis appeared for APOEL.

• Ben Davies helped Wales to a 1-0 UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying win against Antreas Makris' Cyprus in September 2015.

• Boy Waterman replaced Michel Vorm as a substitute for the Netherlands Under-21 side against England on 14 February 2004.

• Efrem is a product of the Arsenal academy.

Match facts

• APOEL have started their Cypriot league campaign with a win and a defeat and a 0-0 draw.

• The Nicosia side have failed to score in four of their last five matches in all competitions.

• Dele Alli serves the second game of a three-match suspension, while Vertonghen is banned following his late dismissal against Dortmund.

• Tottenham are six games unbeaten (W4 D2) since the 2-1 home loss to Chelsea on 20 August.

• Juan Foyth and academy product Tashan Oakley-Boothe, 17, made their Spurs debuts in the 1-0 victory over Barnsley FC in the English League Cup third round on 19 September.

• Harry Kane scored twice in Saturday's 3-2 win at West Ham United FC; having failed to score in August, he has now hit eight goals in six games for club and country in September.