Once more Spurs proved that they are capable of scoring goals in Europe,
but are just as capable of shipping them at the other end in this
entertaining 3-3 draw, that, coupled with Bremen's 3-0 win over Inter,
left Spurs as top of the group and hoping to avoid some of the big boys
in the draw for the last 16.
the night starting to freeze in the chilling temperatures, Spurs took to
the field with Vedran Corluka, Niko Kranjcar and Jermain Defoe all
starting. But it was Twente who mad ea bright start, with Heurelho
Gomes having to be nimble to dive sharply to his right to push a 25 yard
drive from Brama round for a corner. Spurs broke away and Bale had
a cross cut out for a corner that came to nothing, before a cheap
free-kick conceded outside the box, allowed Janssen to fire one of his
trademark efforts a yard wide and another free-kick from the right saw
the ball skid into the six yard box, with Twente players not getting a
touch, leaving Gomes to claim the ball as it headed for the line.
But, then, in the 12th minute, Spurs went
ahead in bizarre style. With the front men closing down the home
defenders, they were given little time to dwell on the ball, which
prompted captain Wisgerhof the poor pass back to keeper Boschker, but
the ball was directly in front of goal and when it hit a bump with the
keeper already in the process of his kick, it skidded past him to enter
the empty net behind him. It was a shame for the veteran keeper,
who was being given a game in the Champions League for the first time.
Eight minutes later, an equally odd piece
of football saw Twente level. A cross was cleared to the right
side of outside the penalty area. Rosales set himself and
unleashed a powerful volley that may have been hitting the target, but
then Assou-Ekotto turned his back on the ball and lifted an elbow to
protect his face. The ref thought differently and after
disallowing the first goal for encroachment, he allowed Landzaat to step
up (in a stuttering style) to beat Gomes, although the keeper got his
legs to the ball that went straight down the middle to make it 1-1 with
22 minutes gone.
The goal helped settle the Dutch side,
but the freezing pitch made keeping your feet difficult and players
slipped over or slipped passes too far ahead of their intended targets.
A cross by Chadli saw Gomes dive forward to push it out and he was
grateful to Bale and Gallas, who blocked Janssen's follow-up shot.
Then it was Boschker in action, making up for his gaffe with a full
length dive to his left to turn aside a powerful shot from Roman
Pavlyuchenko from 25 yards out. Another rich piece of refereeing
followed, when Jermain Jenas went down with a recurrence of his calf
problem and having called a stretcher for him, the match official was
peeved that he got up to walk off, producing a yellow card for him that
rules JJ out of the first leg of the next round, if injury doesn't do it
Aaron Lennon was the replacement and
Kranjcar moved infield, allowing the little winger to take up his normal
place on the right, but it was the Croatian who burst forward and hit a
shot, but it went well wide. With the game moving from one end to
the other, Twente had a golden chance in the 41st minute, when the ball
dropped to Janko inside the box following a corner, but having taken a
touch, he chose to shoot on the spin and sliced his shot embarrassingly
wide, when he could have paid it on a plate for his captain Wisgerhof,
who was just behind him.
Tottenham came on strong at the end of
the half, when Bale put in a dangerous cross that had Boschker reaching
for it and just getting enough on it to take it away from the Spurs
players behind him and then Palacios played the Welshman away down the
left and his near post cross was met by good movement from Defoe, who
got across his marker and managed to manufacture an effort that flashed
over the bar.
That was the last of the action for the
first half and it was Defoe who had the first meaningful say in the
second half. Just two minutes in, another Bale cross was misjudged
by Douglas and he could only deflect the ball to the far post.
When Lennon took the ball down, it looked as though he was heading into
the middle of the pitch to have a shot, but he produced a clever reverse
pass to Defoe to leave him in on the keeper and as he dived out at his
feet, the England striker coolly stuck it past him to give Spurs a 2-1
Gomes had already had to hit the ground
to grab Douglas' flicked header from a corner before Janssen got away on
the left and he put in a cross along the edge of the box, where Rosales
had timed his run to perfection and rose ineffectually challenged by
Assou-Ekotto and Bassong to head firmly past Gomes to tie it up again at
2-2 in the 56th minute. The header was all the better as there was
little pace on the cross and the midfielder's header had to imply most
of the power to the ball.
The status quo lasted for only two
minutes, with Wilson Palacios poaching the ball off the prostrate
Janssen after he slipped over in his own half and the Honduran fancied a
goal himself. Taking the ball into the box, Wilson hit a low
curling shot that Boschker did well to get two hands to, but his low
save only took the ball back in front of goal and Defoe was on hand to
score the sort of predatory goal that is often his bread and butter.
So, 3-2 to Spurs and plenty of time left.
Five minutes later the score was all
square again, as Lennon caught Janko as he was about to shoot, five
yards outside the left hand corner of the penalty area. With
Janssen and Chadli over the ball, there was a double threat to the
Tottenham goal, so, with Palacios being bumped on the end of the wall
and allowing a gap to develop, Chadli hit the ball over the wall and in
by the right hand post of Gomes' goal to make it 3-3.
Gomes made a fine save reminiscent of the
earlier one from the same player, when Brama hit another drive from 25
yards out, getting his fingertips on the ball which was enough to take
it out for a corner. With 12 minutes left, it was Boschker who was
alert to make a reflex stop from Douglas, who tried to stop a low Bale
cross from the left, but only succeeded in getting it on the target of
his own goal.
With Keane on and Kranjcar picking up an
injury, Crouch's introduction saw Robbie move back to midfield and the
game faded away, with only Tiendalli going close with a shot that Gomes
always had covered.
When news came through of Inter's defeat
and it became clear that the point was enough to put Spurs top of the
group, the draw seemed even better. There was a lot to say for
Tottenham's approach, which, with the knowledge they were already
through, helped them adopt such an attacking style, but the second goal
was well made and the third saw Defoe back to his sharp goal-poaching
The defence is a question that Redknapp
will need to address, as, whoever Spurs are drawn against in the next
round, they are likely not to be as lenient in their finishing as Twente
were. But Tottenham can progress with the confidence of a good run
in the competition so far and not many teams will relish a trip to the
Lane, without packing the midfield to try and stifle the life out of the
But, hopefully, as the team have shown,
they have the ability and style to overcome this now. Roll on 17th
December when the draw is made.