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Real Madrid v Spurs, 05.04.11

My thanks go to Declan Mulcahy for this report while I was in Madrid

TUESDAY 5 APRIL 2011
8:45p.m. (local time), 7:45p.m. (UK time)
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER FINAL, FIRST LEG

REAL MADRID (1) 4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (0) 0

Scorers:-
Adebayor 4, 57
Di Maria 72
Ronaldo 87

Real Madrid (4-4-1-1): Jose Mourinho
1 I Casillas (c); 4 S Ramos, 2 R Carvalho, 3 Pepe, 12 Marcelo; 22 A Di Maria (8 Kaka 77), 14 X Alonso, 23 M Ozil, 24 S Khedira (10 L Diarra 61); 7 C Ronaldo; 28 E Adebayor (20 G Higuain 75)

Subs Not Used: 13 A Adan, 17 A Arbeloa, 11 E Granero, 19 E Garay

Booked: Adebayor (12 foul on Assou-Ekotto), Pepe (36 foul on Bale)

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-1-1): Harry Redknapp
1 H Gomes; 22 V Corluka (19 S Bassong 80), 13 W Gallas, 20 M Dawson (c), 32 B Assou-Ekotto; 14 L Modric, 30 Sandro, 8 J Jenas, 3 G Bale; 11 R Van der Vaart (18 J Defoe 45); 15 P Crouch.

Subs Not Used: 23 C Cudicini, 6 T Huddlestone, 21 N Kranjcar, 9 R Pavlyuchenko

Booked: Crouch (8 foul on Ramos), Van der Vaart (20 dissent), Defoe (74 foul on Carvalho)

Sent off: Crouch (15 Second Bookable Offence foul on Marcelo) Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Attendance: 80,000

Referee: Felix Brych
Assistant Referees: Thorsten Schiffner, Mark Borsch
Fourth Official: Peter Sippel
Additional Assistant Referees:
Christian Dingert, Marc Seemann (All officials from Germany)

TH Navy blue shirts, shorts and stockings
RM White shirts, shorts and stockings

TEN-MAN TOTTENHAM SUFFER REAL BLOW

At the outset it looked like Tottenham would field their strongest possible team. Unfortunately Aaron Lennon was taken ill in the tunnel just before the match started (He had been suffering from influenza this week). Jermaine Jenas was elevated from the substitutes to replace him. Initially it was thought that Lennon would drop to the substitutes bench but UEFA ruled that this was not permissible so Spurs had only six substitutes. With the last minute change there were three changes from the team which drew with Wigan as Gallas, Bale and Crouch replaced Bassong, Defoe and Pavlyuchenko. Real Madrid did play Cristiano Ronaldo although he had been in doubt before the game. Higuain, who had returned from injury at the weekend, did not start but was among the substitutes.

Tottenham did not make a great start. After four minutes they conceded a corner which Ozil took on the right. Adebayor, on loan to Real from Manchester City, was allowed a free header. He directed it towards the left post. Although Modric was stationed there he was unable to prevent the ball entering the net.

Crouch was booked after only seven minutes for a needless foul on Ramos. Soon afterwards Adebayor was also booked for a foul on Assou-Ekotto. Disaster struck after only fourteen minutes. Crouch committed another needless foul on Marcelo. He received a second yellow card and was sent off. It was a very stupid error on Crouch's part. Marcelo the player fouled was seen to be unsportingly celebrating the red card. Mourinho to his credit did give Crouch a pat as he trudged off.

Bale had started on the right wing in Lennon's absence and had seen nothing of the ball. After sixteen minutes he switched to his normal left wing position and stayed there for the remainder of the game. Van der Vaart was booked soon afterwards for kicking the ball away and Gomes made a save from Ronaldo.

Madrid were exerting quite a bit of pressure on Tottenham. When the latter had possession there was no front man to aim for after Crouch's red card. Consequently Spurs had to try and pass the ball towards the Madrid goal and they inevitably lost possession.

Tottenham had only two opportunities in the first half. They came in quick succession both involving Bale the first after 27 minutes. Bale made a run down the left but the ball was deflected into touch. Bale quickly sent a long throw in the box where he found Van der Vaart but the latter was unable to put in a shot on target. Almost immediately afterwards Dawson played a good pass which set up Bale. He ran into the box and was just about to shoot when Ramos closed him down and Bale's shot hit the side netting.

Shortly after the half hour mark Madrid created a good opportunity. Ramos on the right of the box produced a diving header from a ball which was almost at ground level. It looped towards the far post where Adebayor rose but was unable to connect with the ball. Shortly afterwards the Madrid central defender Pepe was booked for a foul on Bale and will miss the return leg.

There were three incidents in the Spurs box in the last five minutes of the half. Di Maria unleashed a shot from just outside the box. It hit Dawson's raised and out-stretched arm inside the box. Spurs could have had no complaint if the referee had awarded a penalty. A minute later Adebayor went down in the box under pressure from Gallas but replays shows that it was a fair tackle. Then Ronaldo went down on the edge of the box after coming together with Corluka but it was an obvious dive. In the last minute of the half Ramos should have been booked for a blatant foul on Bale.

At the interval Redknapp replaced Van der Vaart with Defoe. A change was not surprising since Spurs had conspicuously lacked any presence up front after Crouch's sending off. Unfortunately the move did not pay dividends. Defoe saw very little of the ball as Madrid totally dominated the second half.

The second half began with Madrid advancing on the Spurs goal in waves. Initially Spurs did well defending once the ball reached their box. After 56 minutes following a short corner the ball reached Marcelo on the left. He crossed the ball to the right of the box. Gallas found himself with two players to mark and moved towards the nearer one Khedira. This left Adebayor unmarked and he scored with a header to the far post. This was Adebayor's tenth goal in ten matches against Tottenham (some reports say 10 goals in thirteen games).

In the 65th minute Gomes tipped an Adebayor header over the bar. Shortly afterwards Bale needed treatment for an injury. Initially it looked like he might have to be replaced but he returned.

In the 72nd minute Di Maria jinked into the box on the right and unleashed an unstoppable shot to the upper left hand corner. It was the best goal of the game. The question now was whether Spurs could hold the deficit at three giving themselves some hope for the return leg or would Madrid extend the margin out of sight.

Soon afterwards Defoe was booked for a foul on Carvalho. Then Gomes beat away a shot from Ronaldo. Corluka had to be substituted with an ankle injury. Assou-Ekotto moved to right back and Corluka's replacement Bassong slotted in at left back.

With four minutes left, Kaka, a Real substitute, on the left of the box, crossed to Ronaldo on the right. The latter hit a volley towards the near post. Gomes appeared to have it covered but the ball deflected off him and squeezed in at the post. It was typical of the occasional wobbles he has had this season. Unfortunately the fourth goal probably puts a Tottenham recovery in the return leg out of reach.

Tottenham's record against Spanish teams in Europe is not good. They beat Atletico Madrid in the 1963 Cup Winners Cup Final but have failed to win any of the eight subsequent games against Spanish teams. In addition two of the three home European defeats have come against Spanish teams Real Madrid in 1985 and Getafe in 2007. This is the third time that Tottenham have gone four games without scoring a goal, the other two occasions being in 1980-81 and 2000-01.

At this stage it looks like the European adventure is over. It was hugely enjoyable for as long as it lasted and was an enormous credit to the club. The team and manager now need to focus on the remaining eight league games and try and gain as many points as possible

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