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Spurs v Sporting Braga, 14.03.07

I am especially grateful to Ray Lo, of the Spurs List for providing us with this report on last night's record-breaking win in Europe, as Spurs won their 8th successive game in a season. Ray reports that Braga's dayglo yellow shirts should have made them especially easy to see coming, but of course, Spurs still managed to make things a little difficult for themselves at times.

UEFA Cup Round of 16, 2nd Leg
White Hart Lane, Tottenham, N17
Wednesday 14th March 2007, k.o.8.15pm

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(2) SC BRAGA 2(1)
Aggregate 6-4

Tottenham (4-4-2) (All White) :- Cerny; Stalteri, Chimbonda, Dawson, Lee; Lennon(Ghaly 80), Huddlestone, Zokora, Malbranque; Berbatov, Keane(C)(Defoe 65).

Unused subs:- Alnwick; Tainio, Mido, Taarabt, Lee

Scorers:- Berbatov 28, 42, Malbranque 76

Booked:-Berbatov 30(Kicked ball away), Malbranque 88(Simulation)

SC Braga (4-3-1-2) (Yellow/Black):- Santos; Filipe, Rodriguez (Nem 39), Jorge, Fernandes; Madrid, Andrade, Frechaut; Joao Pinto (Cesinha 73); Ze Carlos (Maciel 73), Wender.

Unused subs:- Mallo, Castanheira, Chaves, Gama

Scorers:- Huddlestone og 24, Andrade 61

Booked:- Andrade 53, Pinto 69, Filipe 85

Referee:- L. Duhamel(F)
Assistants:- V.Texier, S.Duhamel, P.Kalt - All French

Attendance – 33,761

Another Berbatov master class.

Spurs started this game with Radek Cerny in goal for the injured Robinson and Chimbonda at the back for Gardner alongside Dawson. Stalteri took his place at right back, with Y P Lee continuing at left back. Huddlestone came in for Tainio, who was on the bench, to play alongside Zokora with Lennon starting on the right for a change and Malbranque on the left. First choice pairing of Keane and Berbatov led the attack.

Spurs kicked off attacking the Paxton Road goal, and showed their intentions quickly with a chance for Keane in the second minute. It was all Spurs for the opening 20 minutes, with Cerny threatened only twice. Then, against the run of play the visitors scored. Winning a simple free kick out on the left, Andrade’s kick was headed past Cerny by Huddlestone, defending at the front of the area. This had two effects as Spurs pushed forward more, and Braga also opened up a little.

Within three minutes Keane missed a Lennon centre before setting up Berbatov for the equaliser. Surounded by three defenders Robbie waited for Berbatov before playing the ball through for a simple finish. Another ball behind the defence found Berbatov in space 8 yards out but he could not control the ball and nor could Keane when it ran to him.

Another centre from Lennon found Keane at the near post. He turned the ball on for Malbranque, whose attempted back-heel was cleared. Spurs were so on top that the second goal had to come and it was another great strike from Berbatov. Spurs won a simple free kick just inside the visitors' half, which Huddlestone took quickly catching the Braga defence sleeping. Dimitar was on his own on the penalty spot when he controlled the ball on his chest before hitting the dropping ball past Santos.

It was tempting to believe that the tie was over but Braga came out for the second half in a more determined mood, and despite Chimbonda going close from a corner the visitors equalised. Lennon was penalised for a nothing foul just outside the box. Spurs had a large wall, but Braga put three players into it. This gave Andrade a place to hit his free kick, which gave Cerny little chance.

The Portuguese were on a high and pushed players forward everytime they got the ball as well as looking for free kicks around the box. Jol brought on Defoe to run at the defence as they pushed up and Braga put on fresh players in search of the goal that would level the tie.

Malbranque and Lee had been working the left side successfully all evening and when Steed laid the ball into Berbatov he was presented with the perfect return pass to slip the ball past Santos to allow us to regain the lead and the upper hand.

With Braga needing two goals Jol was able to take Lennon off. Huddlestone nearly redeemed himself when he collected the ball and forced his way into the box finishing at the near post, but the ref ruled it out for a handball. Filipe was booked for a late challenge on Chimbonda, who was lucky not to be punished when he kicked out at the Braga player as he lay on the ground.

We still had time for Malbranque to be booked for diving in the box.

Most people expected an easy victory tonight, but we came near to another Newcastle result as again we conceded soft goals despite dominating the game for long spells. We did score another three well worked goals of quality. I heard a gooner on the radio on the way home saying how they had a bigger gate for their youth cup game than we had for our match. I think that that just goes to show they have given up on the league and are looking for any cup victory. It's not much if the biggest competition is the youth cup.

Now we are still in Europe and wait for Friday's draw. The tour continues.

Ray

· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· Read the preview for this game.

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