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PSV Eindhoven v Spurs, 12.03.08

(aet. Score after 90 minutes 1-1 on aggregate Spurs lost 6-5 on penalties)

Berbatov, 81

Referee: - Mr. M. Trefoloni (Italy)

PSV (4-1-4-1):- Gomes; Kromkamp, Marcellis, Salcido, Alcides; Simons (Capt.); Farfan, Culina, Mendez (sub Bakkal, 111), Afellay (sub Dzsudzsak, 81); Koevermans (sub Lazovic, 72)

Subs not used: - Roorda; Zonneveld, Rajkovic; Aissati

Booked: - Simons

Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Chimbonda, Woodgate, King (Capt) (sub Lennon, 60), Lee (sub bent, 46); Jenas, Huddlestone, Zokora, Malbranque; Berbatov, Keane (sub OíHara, 85)
(Armband to Keane, then Jenas)

Subs not used: - Cerny; Dawson, Tainio; Boateng

Booked: - Jenas, King, Malbranque, Huddlestone, Zokora

Having performed quite heroically to emulate PSVís result at White Hart Lane and earn extra time in this tie thanks to a supreme goal by Berbatov, Spurs were eliminated from this seasonís UEFA Cup in the most agonising way, on penalties. Paul Robinson had saved Lazovicís second penalty kick for PSV, and Spurs had held the lead until Jermaine Jenas stepped up, took a short run and fired a softish spot kick at the right height for goalkeeper Gomes to make himself a hero for the home crowd. When Pascal Chimbonda took Spurs seventh kick, we were 6-5 down, and he didnít even test the keeper pulling his shot outside the post. Penalties might be a lottery, but in my view Jenas should have done better with his kick.

Juande Ramos made an interesting strategic decision, by leaving Aaron Lennon on the bench and playing a more narrow diamond shape midfield, in an effort to counter the packed PSV midfield style. As a result, the first half was almost a stalemate with very little to excite the palate, except for three good chances for Spurs, who were clearly the better team on the night, and more deserving of success. PSV started with the same line-up as at White Hart Lane and their captain Timmy Simons managed to stem most Spurs attacks. For most of the first half the width for Spurs was to be offered by the full backs, and their delivery was not good enough, although it was Chimbonda who fired in an excellent 81st minute cross to supply Berbatovís goal.

Huddlestone and Zokora were tending to hold the midfield fort, whilst Jenas and Malbranque had licence to roam across the midfield. Tonight, I felt that Jenas failed to make the most of his possession, and that penalty miss, makes him the anti-hero in my eyes on the night. Generally though, the entire team deserves credit for a dominating performance, and plenty of adventure in the second half.

The first half will have excited nobody though, as it was a chess match of managerial strategy. Spurs dominated the early possession, winning a couple of free kicks, not too well taken, and bringing no attempt upon goal. Jenas failed to take advantage of a good ball down the right channel by Huddlestone after 16 minutes, but Berbatov won the ball back through a challenge down the right flank, passing inside to Malbranque who fired a shot over the bar, when he really should have hit the target. The next chance followed a corner conceded as a result of a mix-up between Gomes and Salcido. They didnít always communicate too well, but both had good games overall. From the corner, Ledley King hit a near post glanced header wide across the goal. Jenas got a booking which would have seen him suspended from the next game, had Spurs got through. He took a free kick after 39 minutes, which fell to Huddlestone, whose shot was deflected out for a corner. Berbatov was coming deep and was well involved in the creative elements of a good move which ended with a short ball inside by Lee and a fine rising shot by Malbranque saved well by Gomes who tipped the ball over the bar. Ledley King suffered a very rare booking just before the break.

Young-Pyo Lee, playing against his last team, was replaced by Darren Bent, who played beside Keane, with Berbatov in the support role. Zokora took up the left back slot at this stage. Bent had a chance almost with his first chance, as Malbranque fed Keane who passed inside for Bent whose left foot shot was hit with insufficient power to worry Gomes, although he did take two touches to hold it.

The home crowd had been very quiet, but were at last given reason to shout a bit, when Koevermans failed with the goal at his mercy after a ball by Culina. Mendez then hit a free kick just over the bar. Keane was fouled at the other end, and Huddlestone took the kick, headed wide of the keeperís right post by Berbatov, who once again was quite immaculate with his holding skills and creativity Ė never mind his spectacular goal! Jenas picked up the ball after a defensive failure when the keeper failed to clear properly. Jermaine went on a great run into the box, but then almost fell over. He seemed to suffer a knock at this point, but stayed on whilst Ledley King was replaced by Lennon. Now Zokora replaced Ledley, and Steed Malbranque covered at left back, with Lennon starting down the left side.

PSV realised there was a game on here, and did threaten the Spurs goal with more consistency, as the Spurs strategy became more and more attacking and spaces were left Ė particularly down the left flank. Zokora and Jenas suffered a loss of the ball due to a rebound between them, and Afelly took advantage, hitting a shot that Paul Robinson parried. Robinson was in pretty good form all night, I felt, reading the situation well, and often making good advances to claim incoming balls.

Woodgate also had another good game, but when he committed a foul just outside the box after 67 minutes, Farfan hit his free kick over the wall, but over the bar. Berbatov did well to retrieve a ball nearly lost by Chimbonda, then fed Huddlestone whose shot from 25 yards went over. Bent then had a great chance with a run into the area, but finished with a weak effort that was neither a shot or a pass, which could have been made to Robbie Keane. Keane flicked a header from Huddlestoneís free kick onto the top of the net.

After 73 minutes, Malbranque and Huddlestone did well to bring the ball out of defence, and Huddlestone made it to the other end of the pitch to provide a pass for Keane who could not quite control the ball. After another goalkeeper-Salcido mix up, Spurs enjoyed more pressure, and Jenasís cross ended with a Berbatov effort that was saved. With 9 minutes of normal time left, Chimbonda hit a powerful low cross that Berbatov picked up beautifully from 25 yards striking a low volley that beat the keeper to his left corner. Spurs were now the clear favourites to win the tie.

However, Robbo was down to a shot by substitute Dzsudzsak, and then also saved from Mendez, who picked up a cross from Dzsudzsak. Jamie OíHara replaced Robbie Keane and moved to left back, once again allowing Malbranque to get further forward. Spurs had another great chance as full time approached with Berbatov passing to Lennon, who chipped in a cross that Bent met with a header that was tipped over the bar by the keeper.

Unsurprisingly, Spurs seemed to tire more than the home side as they went into extra time, and there were less chances. Bent did try and early shot from a Berbatov ball, but it passed outside the post. Berbatov tried a scissor kick after a flick on from an OíHara free kick but that went wide too. Bent had a shot deflected for a former from a Huddlestone chipped pass. With one minute left, Bent touched on the ball for Lennon, who teed up Malbranque for a great chance. Steed hit another great rising shot, but that man Gomes, who probably qualifies for the man of the match award saved again, and we had to face penalties.

PSV had the honour of shooting first, and Simons and Berbatov both scored with aplomb. Paul Robinson went the right way for the only one of the kicks he faced to save from Lazovic, and OíHara, Huddlestone and Bent ensured that Spurs held the advantage, until Jenas took that short run and hit his kick at a good height for a save to the keeperís left. Bakkal, then (of all people) Zokora scored and Marcellis made it 6-5 before Chimbonda suffered the pain of pulling his attempt wide.

Spurs have played 19 cup matches this season and lost just three of them. It is of course ironic that they did perform like heroes and win the game tonight, but as they say, thatís football, but we will be back in Europe next season!

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