Manager Harry Redknapp, absent from the dugout after undergoing heart surgery, had continued his policy of playing a mixture of fringe and youth players in Europe to keep his first choice players fresh for the Premier League. If anything the squad that went to Tatarstan was younger and more inexperienced than started against the Russians in the home tie. This showed particularly on the bench, where there was no player of experience to be brought on when the team where under pressure.
Spurs, playing a 4-4-2 formation started well. For the first 20 minutes they looked comfortable and under no real pressure, using a short sharp one or two touch passing style. Spurs kept possession, were patient and when lost the ball pressed high up the pitch. However, there was a lack of cutting edge, with Pavlyuchenko arguably a disappointment throughout.
After the 20 minute mark, Rubin Kazan came more and more into the game, pushing the young Spurs team back and controlling possession through their midfield quartet of Alan Kasaev and G