Wednesday 20 October 2010, 7.45pm
(8.45pm local time)
UEFA Champions League Group A – Match 3
INTERNAZIONALE (4) 4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (0) 3
Zanetti 2, Eto’o 11p, 35, Stankovic 14
Bale 52, 90, 90+1
Internazionale (4-2-3-1): (Coach Rafael Benitez)
1 J Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 25 W Samuel, 26 C Chivu (27 G Pandev
61); 4 J Zanetti (capt), 5 D Stankovic (39 D Santon 50); 88 J Biabiany
(2 I Cordoba 75), 10 W Sneijder, 29 Coutinho; 9 S Eto'o.
Substitutes not used: 12 L Castellazzi (gk), 11 S Muntari, 19 E
Cambiasso, 23 M Materazzi.
Booked: Chivu (17 foul on Lennon)
Tottenham Hotspur (4-1-4-1): (Coach Harry Redknapp)
1 H Gomes; 2 A Hutton, 13 W Gallas, 19 S Bassong, 32 B Assou-Ekotto; 6
T Huddlestone (Capt) (12 W Palacios 80); 7 A Lennon, 8 Jenas, 14 L
Modric (23 C Cudicini 10), 3 G Bale; 15 P Crouch (10 R Keane, 67).
Substitutes not used 4 Y Kaboul, 5 D Bentley, 9 R Pavlyuchenko, 21 N
Booked: Palacios (89 foul on Lucio)
Sent Off: Gomes (8 foul on Biabiany)
Keane took over the Captain’s armband when Huddlestone was substituted.
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro), Milan, Attendance: 70,520.
Referee: Damir Skomina.
Assistant Referees: Primož Arhar, Marko
Fourth Official: Boris Toseski.
Additional Assistant Referees: Matej Jug, Dragoslav Peric (All Officials from Slovenia).
Bale The Hero At San Siro
Ed:- I am exceedingly grateful to my good friend Declan Mulcahy for providing this match report, to which I have been able to add little. he even spotted the fact that Inter fans were desperate for the final whistle, which in the circumstances, was the greatest tribute I can offer to our Bale-inspired team
This game will long be remembered in the rich history of Tottenham
Hotspur’s European exploits. It was a match which had seven goals, a
sending off, a penalty and a most unexpected ending. At half time
Spurs were in utter disarray and looked to be heading for a record
European defeat. At the end it was the Inter supporters who were
baying for the final whistle and although Spurs lost, they had staged
a morale-boosting late come back.
Spurs faced the most challenging of their group games away to the
current Champions League champions Internazionale of Milan. Spurs had
played a competitive game at the San Siro Stadium, against the red
half of Milan, AC Milan, in April 1972 gaining a very creditable 1-1
draw in the semi-final on their way to winning the UEFA Cup.
Harry Redknapp made four changes from the team which had secured a
good away win on Saturday against Fulham. Three were enforced and one
tactical. Bassong replaced the injured King. Van der Vaart was
suspended and Lennon who had played well against Fulham came in
instead. Sandro is not in the Champions League squad and was replaced
by Jenas. Finally Crouch was preferred up front to Pavlyuchenko.
Cambiasso and Milito were injured for Inter.
Spurs made the worst possible start falling a goal behind after only
seventy seconds. Coutinho passed to Eto’o who set up Zanetti who was
on the left side of the box. Gallas made a desperate attempt to stop
him but he scored with a diagonal shot to the far corner of the goal.
It was only Zanetti’s second goal in the Champions League and at the
age of 37 years and 71 days he became the oldest player to score in
Five minutes later Spurs' predicament became considerably worse.
Sneijder hit a superb long diagonal pass from just inside Spurs half
towards the right corner of the penalty area. Biabiany gathered the
ball goalward of Assou-Ekotto and entered the box. Gomes advanced
towards him and had little option but to bring him down. The referee
pointed towards the penalty spot and brandished a red card at Gomes.(Ed:- In the ground we thought that the referee had shown Gomes the card twice, but I understand that he initially sent off Ekotto, but was corrected by the goal-line official)
The Spurs management team then had to make the difficult decision as
to which player to bring off so that a substitute goalkeeper could be
introduced. Modric was the unlucky player sacrificed as Cudicini came
on. Cudicini’s first act was to face Eto’o’s penalty. He correctly
moved to his right but Eto’o lifted his shot over the diving keeper.
It took only another three minutes for a third disaster. Maicon played
a through ball to Stankovic on the left of the box. Although Stankovic
was surrounded by three Spurs players he scored with a shot between
Huddlestone and Bassong to the near post. Spurs’ dream was truly in
ruins. Only fourteen minutes had elapsed and they were 3-0 down.
Shortly afterwards the black helmeted Chivu was booked for illegally
Inter came close to a fourth after 24 minutes. Spurs failed to deal
with a Sneijder corner. An Inter player at the far post set up
Stankovic in a more central position. Stankovic’s volley deflected off
Bale and Cudicini had to make a diving save.
Three minutes later Spurs had their best opportunity of the half.
Lennon crossed from the right. Crouch had a free header but put the
ball over the bar when he should have scored.
The remainder of the first half belonged to Inter. Hutton made a good
block from a Sneijder shot. However a minute later Coutinho set up
Eto’o on the edge of the box with a nice through pass. Eto’o advanced
in the box and despite Gallas’s despairing tackle unleashed an angled
shot which went through Cudicini’s legs into the far corner. Spurs
were now four down after 34 minutes.
Inter had further goal attempts in the minutes before half time.
Coutinho, who was a constant threat, hit a shot from outside the box.
Cudicini spilled it but gathered the ball on the second attempt. Then
Maicon received the ball on the right side of the box. Cudicini
parried his first effort and stopped the second one. Finally a nice
run by Coutinho just before the half time whistle resulted in a shot
which hit the side netting.
My thoughts at half time were, would Spurs suffer their worst ever
European defeat beating the current 4-1 record and would Eto’o score a
Redknapp made the brave decision at the interval, not to shore up the
defensive element for the second half and try and hold the score at 4-0.
Six minutes after the restart Spurs gave a dramatic indication that
they would not just lie down. Bale gathered the ball in his own half,
made a searing run down the left wing and cut into the box leaving
several Inter players in his wake. He unleashed a diagonal shot which
beat Cesar, scoring at the far post. It was a goal of outstanding
individual brilliance which will live long in the memory. In addition
it gave Spurs a psychological boost.
For the next ten minutes Inter responded. The substitute Santon hit a
low shot which Cudicini did well to save at the near post. A minute
later Sneijder wriggled into the box and luckily lost his balance
which allowed the Spurs defenders to clear the ball. Soon after
Coutinho attempted to put Eto’o in the clear down the left side but
Gallas made a good saving tackle. Then Coutinho shot narrowly wide
from the edge of the box.
After 66 minutes Assou-Ekotto crossed from the left towards Crouch.
Crouch went down a little too easily under the attention of an Inter
defender. While he raised his arms to claim a penalty it was never
going to be given. Almost immediately he was replaced by Keane who did
not see a lot of the ball for the remainder of the game.
With ten minutes remaining Palacios replaced Huddlestone who had not
enjoyed one of his better games. Keane took over the captain’s
armband. Three minutes later Bale went on another good run down the
left. However he outstripped his team mates and despite providing a
nice cross there wasn’t a Spurs player in the box to finish off his
good work. With three minutes remaining Hutton made a good run. He
advanced to the edge of the box and then shot too high.
With a minute left Bale picked up the ball just in the Inter half and
went on another great run before turning into the box. Zanetti tried
to intercept him but was beaten by Bale’s sheer pace. He unleashed an
angled shot similar to the first one, again scoring at the far post.
Suddenly the score was starting to look respectable!
A minute into injury time Lennon embarked on a mazy run down the
centre of the pitch. On reaching the edge of the box he slotted the
ball to Bale just inside the box on the left. Once again he aimed a
shot to the far post to complete his hat-trick. The Spurs faithful
were delirious with joy.
The game resumed for another minute and it was the Inter supporters
who were exhorting the referee to end the match. It if had lasted
another three or four minutes who knows what might have happened.
So ended an action-packed game. Spurs had a dreadful first half
conceding four goals and being reduced to ten men. However there are
some positives to take from the day overall. It was an achievement, to
score three goals without reply in the second half, against the
Champions League champions on their own ground, while being a man
down. Werder Bremen and Twente drew which was the best possible
result. Spurs remain two points ahead of both of them with a far
superior goal difference. They should still qualify for the knock out
stages of the competition. The home game against Bremen will be the
Champions League Group A
P W D L F-A GD PTS
1.Inter Milan 3 2 1 0 10-5 5 7
2.Spurs 3 1 1 1 9-7 2 4
3.Fc Twente 3 0 2 1 4-7 -3 2
4.SV Werder Bremen 3 0 2 1 3-7 -4 2