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Tottenham 1-3 Manchester United, 4 March

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Tottenham Team
Friedel; Walker, King, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Sandro, Livermore, Modric; Saha, Adebayor
SUBS: Cudicini, Dawson, Nelsen, Rose, Kranjcar, Giovani, Defoe.

Man Utd Team
De Gea, Jones, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Scholes, Carrick, Nani, Rooney, Young, Welbeck.
SUBS: Anderson, Giggs, Park, Hernandez, Fabio, Rafael, Amos.
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Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham, 26 February

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Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs (Jenkinson 75’), Song, Arteta, Walcott (Oxlade-Chamberlain 82’), Rosicky, Benayoun (Gervinho 88’), van Persie.

Unused subs: Fabianski, Park, Chamakh, Miquel.

Tottenham Hotspur: Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, King (Dawson 82’), Assou-Ekotto, Kranjcar (Van der Vaart 45’, Parker, Modric, Bale, Adebayor, Saha (Sandro 45’).

Unused subs: Cudicini, Lennon, Defoe, Rose
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Manchester United 3-0 Tottenham, 22 August

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Tottenham 3-3 Arsenal

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A flurry of five first-half goals lit up the north London derby as Tottenham and Arsenal played out a wonderfully attacking and thrilling game which provided a glut of goals and fantastic entertainment at White Hart Lane. Goals from Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie for the Gunners and Rafael Van Der Vaart and Tom Huddlestone for Spurs were enough to seal what could be the game of the season in the Premier League.

The draw, in reality, doesn’t help either side in their respective aims as Arsenal fails to make the most of Manchester United drawing on Tuesday with Newcastle and Spurs needed the win to keep the pressure on Manchester City, but those in attendance will have not have thought of this fact as they made their way home after a fantastic display from both sides.

The importance of tonight’s game was paramount for both sides. Tottenham was coming off the back of its exit from the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid and Arsenal was keen to expel the Liverpool result from its collective system.

With the need for this purging, Arsenal came out of the traps with purpose and positivity. The game began in a style often expected of local derbies, fast, fluid and bombastic and within five minutes the opening goal had rocked White Hart Lane. Cesc Fabregas, so often a tormentor of Spurs, made the most of a Tom Huddlestone error to feed Theo Walcott with the kind of pass forwards dream of. The through ball delivered by the Spaniard left Michael Dawson in the dust and Walcott did the rest with a burst of speed and a deft right foot finish.

The frantic tempo of the game didn’t subside and within three minutes Spurs had wiped out the Arsenal advantage through a delicious long, looping pass from Vedran Corluka which Rafael Van der Vaart controlled magnificently and hammered beyond Wojciech Szczesny to level things up.

Arsenal didn’t take kindly to this affront from its local neighbors and once again showed the undeniable quality it does possess, but often, frustratingly fail to impose. Samir Nasri was left unchecked and this flaw in the Tottenham defence was punished as the Frenchman made Gomes look ordinary as he beat him low to his right.

Theo Walcott had a chance to increase the lead to two but his low daisy cutting drive took the lightest of deflections of the right hand of Gomes to slide wide of the right hand post.

Walcott’s influence on the game stretched to more than just scoring the goals. With a terrific chipped cross on the byline, Walcott crafted a goal for Robin Van Persie which made the scoreline 3-1 and the stadium couldn’t catch breath with the blistering display playing out in front of them.

Credit to Tottenham for exhibiting the tenacity required to keep this close and once again Harry Redknapp’s side bounced back through a Tom Huddlestone goal which atoned for his earlier error. A header from Peter Crouch was poorly cleared by Fabregas and Huddlestone smashed the ball back into the danger area leaving Szczesny a forest of legs to look through as he tried in vain to deal with the shot.

As the half drew to a close, it could have been all square when Luca Modric’s run was halted by Johan Djourou. Martin Atkinson said no and and it would have been harsh to have given it.

The second half didn’t slow down and there were chances aplenty as both sides continued hell for leather. Van Der Vaart had a chance for a second but it wasn’t until substitute Aaron Lennon speed beat Szczesny and the Polish ‘keeper brought down the winger to give Spurs the chance to level it up once more.

Van Der Vaart stepped up with confidence and hammered the ball in to give Spurs a way back and deal another blow to Arsenal.

Tottenham had more chances to take the lead with Modric forcing a brilliant save from Szczesny and Peter Crouch heading over the bar. Neither side was willing to give an inch as both were fighting to hold supremacy in their patch.

The game will be remembered for many years as the goals, commitment and sheer entertainment were something not likely to be seen anytime soon. But the truth remains that both sides needed to win this encounter and because they failed to do this, both Manchester sides would have been very pleased with the result.

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Tottenham 0-1 Real Madrid


Real Madrid set up a Champions League semi-final date with Clasico rivals Barcelona, professionally seeing off the challenge of Tottenham Hotspur by defeating the English side 1-0 on the night, completing a comfortable 5-0 aggregate success.

Cristiano Ronaldo sealed Spurs’ fate soon after the game restarted following a goalless first half. Taking aim from 25 yards, the Portuguese hit a sweet shot goal-wards that was horribly fumbled into the net by Heurelho Gomes, leaving his side requiring six to go through.

If a comeback was to be made possible, the hosts appreciated that they would need to make ground back in the first half, but despite a largely up-tempo and positive period from the London club, they failed to make any headway into the nine-time champions’ advantage.

Wingers Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale offered the main sources of optimism for the Premier League team as an attacking threat, with the Welshman’s low drive on five minutes forcing Iker Casillas into a smart save low to his left. From the rebound, Luka Modric gathered the ball and hit the turf under a clumsy challenge, optimistically claiming for a penalty, but it would be Roman Pavlyuchenko’s failed appeal later in the period that gave the home side most cause for frustration.

Moments before the Russian was denied a spot kick, he only had himself to blame for failing to open the scoring as he lofted a shot well over from the edge of the box, rendering Lennon’s burst down the right wasted.

In general, Jose Mourinho’s side were containing their hosts well, preventing any regular danger to their goalkeeper. Tom Huddlestone squeezed a shot from a tight angle wide of the near post before the break, and Pavlyuchenko would draw a block from Casillas, but the Spaniards rarely looked like buckling.

Indeed, they had started the match in good form themselves, creating the best chance after three minutes, only for Ozil to side-foot tamely at Gomes.

Ten minutes before the interval, the Brazilian goalkeeper was stretched to a much greater degree, using every inch of his not inconsiderable frame to touch away a header from Sergio Ramos that appeared to be looping into the net. Emmanuel Adebayor was quickest onto the rebound, but the difficult follow-up was shot wide.

There was an air of satisfaction from Spurs at half-time, but the crowd were certainly quietened by Ronaldo’s strike some four minutes after the restart.

A measure of pride could have been restored just before the hour mark, though Pavlyuchenko’s header was a foot too high, with Casillas appearing to have the effort covered in any case.

Much of the first half’s intensity was lost with the opening goal, but chances remained frequent – at least initially. Substitute Jermain Defoe struck a stinging shot from 25 yards that Casillas got a strong wrist to parry clear, and Spain’s No.1 would later get across his goal well to deny William Gallas at the back post.

Four minutes from time, Rafael van der Vaart, who cut a quiet figure for much of this game, found space at the corner of the box but bent his shot too high.

At the other end of the field, Gomes nearly allowed a curling effort from Kaka to sneak under his hand and into the net. Thankfully for the shot-stopper, an already forgettable night wouldn’t get any worse as he got just enough on his countryman’s attempt to divert it wide.

A second goal would have flattered the Primera Division side on an evening in which they were never seriously pushed. Though there will undoubtedly be joy in the Spanish capital over their side’s progress to the semi-finals, the real test awaits in the semi-finals against fierce rivals Barca, whom they will soon meet four times in less than three weeks.

If the Catalans are overcome in Europe, Mourinho’s side will be hot favourites to finally lift their 10th European crown.

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Real Madrid 4-0 Tottenham Hotspur

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An Emmanuel Adebayor brace helped take Real Madrid within touching distance of their first semi-final appearance in the Champions League for eight years with a 4-0 first leg victory over 10-man Tottenham Hotspur at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid took the lead in the second minute through Emmanuel Adebayor’s headed effort, inflicting the worst possible start for the English side which had already seen the withdrawal of Aaron Lennon from the starting eleven before kick-off.

Tottenham’s evening deteriorated further when Peter Crouch was sent off for two bookable offences inside the opening 20 minutes.

Madrid doubled their lead soon after half-time when Adebayor was left unmarked in the area to head home his and his side’s second goal with noticeable ease.

Angel Di Maria scored the goal of the night when his venomous effort screamed into the top corner to extend Madrid’s lead to 3-0.

Ronaldo added insult to injury in the dying minutes when his half-volley crept under Gomes’ outstretched hand gifting Madrid their fourth goal of the night.

Los Blancos forced an early corner after good work from Mesut Oezil. The German midfielder proceeded to swing in a corner for the unmarked Adebayor to head home despite Luka Modric’s last ditch efforts to clear it off the line.

Tottenham navigated the next ten minutes looking to steady the ship and they had successfully managed it until Crouch lunged in recklessly earning himself his second yellow card.

Madrid showed their class within minutes of Spurs being reduced to ten men with Angel Di Maria lifting a ball into Oezil with world class precision only for William Gallas to recover admirably.

Whenever Spurs managed to get on the ball Madrid used their extra man to squeeze the game forcing the Londoners into the mistake.

Tottenham did manage to find a sudden burst of energy when Heurelho Gomes released Gareth Bale down the left; the Welshman didn’t need a second invitation to stride forward at pace.

Xabi Alonso came across to put the ball out for a throw which Bale took immediately. The throw found Rafael Van der Vaart, who controlled it giftedly in the six yard area before Carvalho nicked the ball off his toe.

Revitalised by the chance for Van der Vaart, Michael Dawson sent a wonderful diagonal ball into Bale’s path. The winger took it down on his chest with ease and cut across Sergio Ramos but could only hammer his shot into the side netting.

Real Madrid looked to re-establish their assertiveness on the game and they came within inches of doubling their lead. Sergio Ramos crept in unnoticed at the far post and directed a wonderful half-volley header to Adebayor who was a whisker away of putting the ball into the net.

Los Blancos played simply beautiful football before the half-time whistle, perhaps being guilty of attempting one too many passes. Marcelo opted to lay the ball off for Adebayor after Madrid had played some scrumptious one touch football but the striker’s shot was blocked valiantly by Dawson.

The defender was in the thick of the action moments later when he appeared to block Angel Di Maria’s shot with his arm in the penalty area but the referee remained unmoved, much to the amazement and disappointment of the Bernabeu faithful.

The second-half began as the first ended, Real Madrid camped in the Spurs half. Jermaine Defoe was introduced at half-time for the tiring Van der Vaart but the Englishman first touch didn’t come until the 53rd minute, illustrating the Spanish side’s dominance.

Los Blancos doubled their lead soon after when they worked a quick corner-kick. Marcelo sent in a beautiful cross which Adebayor diverted past a wrong-footed Gomes with a looping header in the 57th minute to score his 10th goal in 10 games against Spurs.

Tottenham’s best chance of the second half fell to Bale who latched onto Pepe’s poor control but the Welshman failed to get his shot away.

Adebayor looked to complete his hat-trick of headers when he reached a deep cross only to see his dipping header palmed over by a brilliant save.

Gomes was called into further action when Ronaldo fired a shot towards goal which the Brazilian unorthodoxly parried away to safety.

The ‘keeper, though, could do nothing to keep out Di Maria’s wonderful strike moments later. The Argentine cut in from the right flank onto his preferred left foot and rifled an unstoppable shot into the opposite corner.

Defoe looked to profit on a Pepe mistake late on but the defender recovered well before the opportunity could develop.

Ronaldo’s half volley epitomised Tottenham’s night when his skidded effort evaded Gomes’ weak hand to put los Blancos four goals to the good ahead of the return leg at White Hart Lane in a week’s time.

Tottenham, the miracle workers will not resign this tie until the full-time whistle but Harry Redknapp’s men will realise more than a miracle is required if they are to progress further in the debut season in the Champions League.

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Tottenham Hotspur 0 AC Milan 0

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Guts brought the glory. One of the greatest evenings in the long history of Tottenham Hotspur saw a performance not rooted in traditional crowd-pleasing flair but in resilience, in a determination to resist AC Milan’s constant attacks.
Spurs protected the goal Peter Crouch scored in the San Siro with their lives, defending with resolve and intelligence to survive an often nervy 90 minutes.
Even when Pato began to test the strength of their back-line, Spurs stood firm. Even when Alexander Merkel came on to remind Europe of his rich potential, Tottenham refused to yield.
When Milan did manage to get past the indefatigable Sandro, a marvellous resistance movement in midfield, they ran into the indomitable Michael Dawson and William Gallas. They ran into a human wall that would not be moved.
Make no mistake; this was a fierce examination of Spurs’ qualities. This was a Milan far removed from the static, unimaginative, fractious first-leg hosts. This was a Milan who remembered their heritage, who played with belief and adventure, particularly when the ball was at the clever feet of Pato.

There was more vim in Milan’s movement, more belief. Clarence Seedorf, who looked 50 in the San Siro, looked 20 here and bossed midfield for long periods.
Still Spurs would not wilt. A team that has scored 25 goals in its previous nine European games this season can never be accused of being negative; last night simply showed their other traits, their mettle, their togetherness.
Never can a stalemate here have been so rapturously celebrated. This was Spurs in dream-land, in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
As the players swapped shirts, respect etched in every handshake, tens of thousands of fans with cockerels on their chests crowed: “Are you watching, Arsenal?” Probably not. Too painful. Particularly with Gallas so prominent.
As Arsenal deal with the toxic fall-out from their meltdown by the Med, Spurs took a stride closer to the Wembley final.
Nobody can begrudge them their progress. Winning at San Siro, a deserved victory, was an impressive feat. Winning through to the last eight with their best player, Gareth Bale, on the pitch for only 24 minutes was a reminder of their strength of resources in personality and personnel.
If the praise for this will be spread amongst Redknapp and his players, and the chairman Daniel Levy in bankrolling the building of such a strong squad, then Tottenham fans should also take a bow.
For with 10 minutes remaining, and with Milan waxing and Spurs waning, the home supporters lifted Redknapp’s tiring players with a rousing rendition of “Come On You Spurs”. It was sung with a visceral intensity, a deep belief that their team could come through this late Milan storm.
The players responded to the exhortations. Benoit Assou-Ekotto put in an immense tackle on Pato. Dawson continued to relish his duel with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Sandro nicked the ball and triggered quick little counters. Vedran Corluka looked exhausted, yet he rallied, lifted by the supporters.
As team and terraces combined, Tottenham’s manager looked on proudly. This European odyssey really is an astonishing achievement by Redknapp, a journey into the Champions League unknown that has brought the best out of him and his players.
Talk about a rollercoaster. Spurs have been 3-0 down to Young Boys Berne and 4-0 down to Inter Milan yet here they are, the first Premier League side into the last eight. Tottenham’s hunger for Europe is unmistakable.
On a very special night at the Lane, the noise was deafening from the first whistle, slipping into brief lulls as nerves bit deep, but still the support was strong. Invective filled the air at times, particularly when the ball was close to Mathieu Flamini, who felt Spurs’ wrath for his Arsenal connections and for almost snapping Corluka in two at the San Siro.
The scale of Spurs’ evening work was soon evident. Flamini, Seedorf and Kevin-Prince Boateng patrolled midfield, cramping Rafael van der Vaart’s style. Upfront, Milan’s three attackers, Robinho and Pato nimbly supporting Ibrahimovic, began to live up to their famous names.
And so it began, part siege, part carnival. When Robinho fell under Assou-Ekotto’s challenge, far too easily for local tastes, Sandro reacted sharply to clear Pato’s poor free-kick. Then Ibrahimovic unleashed a 35-yard free-kick, demanding a save at full stretch from Gomes.
Spurs were under sustained pressure, Sandro fighting fires in the centre. Spurs willingly sustained pain in pursuit of the ball, Gallas accidentally caught in the head by Ibrahimovic’s boot.
Still the visitors flowed forward, streaks of red and black across the green of White Hart Lane. Robinho darted down the right, slipping the ball in to Pato, whose shot was blocked by Dawson.
When Pato then dribbled down the inside-left channel, Gomes ran out, Brazil versus Brazil. Pato won, leaving his compatriot on the deck with the goal vulnerable.
Pato cut the ball back to another Brazilian, Robinho, whose shot caught Assou-Ekotto and dropped goalwards only for Gallas to clear from under the bar.
Opportunity did knock for Spurs, albeit quietly. Van der Vaart enjoyed their best two chances of the half, a free-kick that flew just over and then a low drive that thudded into Christian Abbiati’s midriff.
Milan also had a marvellous chance, the ball shifting between Robinho and Ibrahimovic before Pato almost beat Gomes.
Spurs began the second half in far more assertive fashion. Aaron Lennon was quick to show, lifting spirits and crosses. Lennon’s threat was now obvious, soon confirmed when poleaxed by Marek Jankulovski. Flamini then caught Assou-Ekotto, triggering much glee when he was booked.
The tension was unremitting. Robinho, Pato and Robinho again tested Gomes in a mad scramble. Then the Cardiff cavalry arrived, Bale greeted with a huge cheer by the Spurs fans and with a late challenge from Flamini.
With 14 minutes left, Merkel also came on, linking well with Pato, whose shot found the side-netting. As the last few minutes seemed reluctant to go, some Spurs supporters almost could not bear to watch. But they could sing.
And then came the chant, sweeping Spurs on a tide of emotion into the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Great night.

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15.02.11 Ac Milan – Tottenham

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Prizes come in many forms. Tottenham Hotspur, above all, have a fine prospect of stepping into the last eight of the Champions League following this first-leg result. Beyond that there is the pride in overcoming a club of Milan’s renown, although the current side fell far from the standards once expected of them. The second-half winner from Peter Crouch was merited for Spurs’ showing over the span of the night.

Milan took it so badly that the midfielder Gennaro Gattuso seemed to butt the Tottenham coach Joe Jordan at full-time. There was real harm done earlier, however, by a terrible two-foot challenge from Mathieu Flamini that ended Vedran Corluka’s night. He had done much to bring vitality to Tottenham’s play by cutting loose on the right when the contest wasstill taking shape. The referee, Stéphane Lannoy,somehow saw fit merely to book Flamini.

Even with Corluka hurt so severely, there was cause for Tottenham to be encouraged as Jonathan Woodgate emerged to make his first appearance in a competitive game since injuries engulfed him last, in November 2009. Milan were right to be wary of a team on the rise who are seeing events run to their benefit. Nobody missed even the injured Gareth Bale, who had notched a hat-trick at this ground against Internazionale in October.

The Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri understood the risk he faced and was conservative in putting the Brazilian forward Pato initially among the substitutes. His strategies still malfunctioned as Clarence Seedorf, now 34, looked too venerable for attacking midfield duties and he was necessarily substituted. Tottenham had swagger and also a blend of talents, with Sandro and Wilson Palacios adding a crucial solidity to the midfield.

Luka Modric, a couple of weeks after having his appendix removed, came off the bench eventually, but the initial line-up probably suited Tottenham for this type of encounter.

They looked settled from the outset. Crouch could not make much of Corluka’s cross in the fifth minute, but he settled the outcome eventually. The winner was slick as Aaron Lennon went past Mario Yepes to set up the goal.

Milan were off-balance throughout and had distractions such as the loss of the goalkeeper Christian Abbiati after he seemed to hurt his head while challenged by Crouch for a cross. Half an hour passed without his Spurs counterpart Heurelho Gomes being involved in a notable way.

The one frisson of alarm had come when Sandro felled Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 23rd minute, but the contact was just outside the area and the referee saw no offence in any case. The inconspicuous striker did not catch the eye until putting the ball in the net only after shoving Michael Dawson in stoppage time. They did not want to be drawn into an unstable, incident-strewn game. The potential consequences of such an evening had been illustrated in Tottenham’s 4-3 defeat at San Siro in the group stage. It might as well have been Inter who had been beaten that night, however. They took full points from the match, but also carried an inferiority complex with them. Harry Redknapp’s side qualified ahead of them for this phase of the competition.

There is supposed to be a prize for that in the encounter with a club that could only come second in its group. In Milan’s case the situation is more complex since they had been gathering momentum until now in Allegri’s first season. The manager seemed to feel that Tottenham would be toppled eventually in this tie because they are an unbalanced team. There was no indication of that.

Tottenham were still in the ascendant when, four minutes from half-time, the replacement goalkeeper Marco Amelia tipped over an effort from Rafael van der Vaart. As the away side, they had also taken some precautionary measures, but briefly made a greater effort to exploit Milan.

Gomes did well to reach a header by Yepes and put it behind for a corner. Tottenham were under stress and the centre-half Yepes caused alarm more than once with aerial prowess that called for superb reactions and agility from the goalkeeper. Having commanded at times, Redknapp’s men showed they also knew how to cope and eventually to prosper.

The losers were desperate, with Ibrahimovic applying a very obvious shove to Dawson before netting in stoppage time.

There are various punishments ahead for Milan. Some will now see the club’s position at the head of Serie A as an indictment of Italian football. That is too extreme a conclusion to draw from a single evening at San Siro. It is enough to say that Milan fared badly when compelled to meet a keen and rising force such as Tottenham.


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