A dire first half was followed by a second half with a bit more action
and the game ending 1-1 involved a few more moments of excitement with
Paul Robinson making a fine save to keep the ball out and earned he draw
that takes Spurs through to the last 32 of the competition.
The leaving of Younes Kaboul at home left
Ramos with few defensive options and he chose to play Didier Zokora
alongside Michael Dawson in the middle of the back four flanked by Lee
and Chimbonda. Jenas returned in midfield, while Bent partnered
Robbie Keane up front in a standard 4-4-2 formation. It should
have given Tottenham a firm basis to build attacks from, but their
wastefulness in possession in the first half saw the game lose any
direction it might have had.
An early Malbranque effort drifted away,
while Huddlestone put a delightful pass onto Robbie Keane's foot as he
ran into the far post area, but the Irishman's touch let him down and
the ball went off or a goal-kick. Tottenham had a real let-off
after five minutes, when Deschant played a fierce low ball fizzing
across the goalmouth, with no purple shirt in a position to knock the
bal into an open net. It was something Spurs were not to learn
With moves breaking down on both sides,
it was a dreadful spectacle as the rain dropped heavily on the pitch and
the wind swirled it around the ground. Jenas brought the first
save from Zitka on 23 minutes, with a low drive that forced the
Anderlecht keeper to dive to stop the effort, which did not really
threaten to beat him. Some crosses were played in by the home
team, but they were met by Chimbonda or Dawson's heads, with some good
defending by the midfield. Unfortunately, with the ball, Tottenham
were not so good and Chimbonda and Keane were the most guilty parties in
giving the ball away needlessly.
Dawson seemed to have mis-judged the
pitch and his lack of grip lost his footing a few times in the first
half and one slip let in Frutos, who knocked a ball to the far post
where Lee did well to prevent Hassan getting a shot on goal. Then,
just a couple of minutes before the break. a free kick conceded by Jenas
lead to Wasilewski moving into the box and firing a shot low to
Robinson''s left to where he dived to block the effort, before quickly
recovering put Frutos off the rebound, which he managed to get off for a
throw-in on the other side of the pitch.
At the break, the replacement of
Keane by Berbatov did not happen, but Spurs did start with a good
passing moves as they attacked the goal in front of their fans, leading
to Chimbonda getting a low ball into the area in front of Keane to
shoot, but his effort was neither hard or accurate enough. As the
play switched to the Tottenham goal, a ball through to Frutos put him in
on goal at the left hand corner of the box, from where he tried to flick
the ball past Robbo with his right foot, but ENO managed to keep out the
Argentinian's attempt. Two minutes later, Mpenza was freed in the
same position, but Zokora raced back and his well-timed tackle deprived
the Belgian of a shot and even a corner, as the ball was touched off him
before going out. This incident started the frustration creeping
into the Belgian side and their fans too. Almost every subsequent
decision brought a chorus of howls of derision, regardless of the
validity of the award.
In the five minutes before the hour,
Anderlecht brought on Thereau for Frutos and Spurs substituted Keane
with Berbatov. The Bulgarian started to hold the ball up well and
started to string passes together and to his own team-mates, while
Thereau added more to the home team's attack, with his red boots
regularly receiving the ball. Polak's frustration boiled over when
he fouled Jenas, but did not agree and ranted in the referee's face.
Such antics were not doing anything to calm the crowd down.
Berbatov was now dictating much of what
went on out on the pitch, as he took control of a free kick and fired
one in from 30 yards, which would have just gone under the bar, had
Zitak not managed to push it over the bar, not all that convincingly.
The corner was cleared, but as it was played in, Michael Dawson was
Tottenham's furthest player forward and a long clearance saw him out of
position to defend the counter attack. By the time he had regained
his position, Thereau was out on the right and played a seemingly
innocuous ball into the heart of the penalty area. Unfortunately,
Dawson left it and Jenas behind him was back on his heels, leaving Goor
to run in and strike the ball into the net past a helpless Robinson.
It was a slack goal to concede and one which came when Tottenham were
just beginning to force the game into Anderlecht's box.
The lead only lasted for two minutes, as
a neat one-two on the edge of the Belgians' area saw Jenas burst through
the middle and van Damme hauled him down, leaving the ref no option but
to point to the spot. What discretion he did have was exercised in
not sending the Belgian defender off, as it was almost certainly a
goal-scoring opportunity, but saw fit to administer a yellow card.
The real punishment came from the boot of Dimitar Berbatov. After
some desperate attempts to delay the taking of the kick, which the
referee let them get away with, the Anderlecht players could only stand
as watch as Berba coolly stroked the ball in the opposite side of the
goal to the one into which Zitka dived.
At 1-1, it was hoped that Spurs might go
on to step up the pressure, but it was Anderlecht with the next biog
opportunity, as Thereau nearly caught Spurs out in similar style to
their goal, ghosting in at the far post as Chimbonda, once more, lost
his marker and his bearings, while the Anderlecht forward drifted in
behind him to hook the ball goal-wards. Luckily, RObinson was
alert to it and dived full length to scoop the shot out before it went
near the goal-line. The home supporters behind the goal claimed it
had gone over the line, but the ref was not interested and more pain was
inflicted on them,
With Defoe already on for Bent and
Boateng warming up for what seemed like forever to come on and shore up
the midfield, YP Lee crashed to the floor in our own penalty area, with
treatment not successful, so he left the field on a stretcher.
Great. Just what we needed another defender injured !!
Boateng never did get on, as the injury brought Paul Stalteri into the
play. A lot of his involvement was in attack, but he did get back
to make good tackled when required.
A goalmouth scramble saw the ball pinging
around and it dropped invitingly for Thereau, but he could not keep his
shot down and it few well over the top. At the other end, Defoe
brought two saves from Zitka and Berbatov also hit a low effort which
the keeper saved well.
So, a point on the night, which proved
sufficient to take us through. All we can do now is await to see
who we get in the next round and see if we can improve between now and