With Ledley King and Michael Dawson restored to the middle of the back four, it looked a more solid defence that would face the Turkish side. Keano paired Berbatov up front and Ghaly had recovered from his hamstring problem, while DIdier Zokora's fever meaning that Tom Huddlestone had another chance to show what he could do in front of the back four.
Spurs showed a calm approach to the tie, keeping possession in the early stages and Hossam Ghaly got the first shot in anger, when he came inside from the right and hit a shot that was blocked by a defender. In fact, he tried this on a number of occasions, the second being in the 11th minute, when instead of shooting, he set up a shot from Danny Murphy, who's effort was kept out by Runje, but Dimitar Berbatov was on hand to stick the rebound into the net. Unfortunately, he had strayed offside when Murphy hit his original shot and the goal was disallowed.
What seemed like an obvious handball in the Besiktas attack was not whistled for and in his anger Pascal Chimbonda went a little too far by nagging at the referee and earned himself a yellow card.
A wide shot from Fahti was followed at the other end by Benoit Assou-Ekotto blazing a cleared corner high over the bar from forty yards. Burak almost capitalised on King's block, but he could not gather the ball cleanly and the moment passed for the home side. Then Sedef had an opportunity when Toroman pulled a cross back for him. It looked like Besiktas were getting the upper hand, but then Spurs scored. Robbo kicked long and Berbatov took the ball and played in Hossam Ghaly, whose dash into the penalty area was well-timed, but he failed to get his shot away quickly. When he did shoot, he hit the advancing Runje, but had the rub of the green as the ball bounced back onto him and lifted over the goalie and nestled in the net to give Spurs the lead.
Having gone ahead, Spurs had to face a Besiktas come-back and Brazilian Marcio Nobre tried to fire the ball in at goal, but it went wide. On 36 minutes, Dawson was surprised when a free-kick was given against him about 35 yards out and Burak strode up to hit a powerful drive at goal, which Paul Robinson could only push up into the air and then hurriedly got up on his feet to knock the rebound away with a punch. Berbatov held play up and then set Murphy in on goal and his shot went across the goal from a narrow angle, then with a minute left to half-time, Nobre struck a shot firmly, but off target of the Spurs goal.
The half-time break seemed to unsettle Spurs, who were just finding their rhythm. Berbatov was lively and harassed the Besiktas defenders, firing a volley wide seven minutes into the half, with the keeper being required to save it.
With a lot of games to play to win the UEFA Cup, it would be nice to keep a settled side, but when Hossam Ghaly flicked the ball away after a free-kick had been given against him, a yellow was guaranteed. Such cheap bookings might not seem so frivolous in a few months time. However, on this night, Dimitar showed a classic example of the goal-scorer's art with Tottenham's second goal. King played the ball through to Berbatov, who cut the ball inside his marker with his right foot on the edge of the box, then took the ball to the right of the keeper with his left before rolling the ball into the net before a recovering defender tried to cut it out. It was a well taken goal and was one he needed after not scoring for a few weeks.
While Besiktas had not really threatened Spurs, the opposite was not true and within minutes, Berbtov robbed the central defender as he was inside his own area and chipped a cross to Keane, who volleyed past the keeper, but it bounced up and hit the bar before coming out again. Then the same combination linked up to release Keane, but his shot coming in from the left side was rushed and too high. Another opportunity was spurned when Berbatov's pass to Ghaly saw him lay the ball into Keane first time and he stroked a tame effort right at Runje.
Berbatov's energy was causing the defence a lot of problems. As he chased down Mercimek, he took the ball off him again, this time breaking into the area and the Besiktas defender took s tap at his ankles and brought him down, but the referee just waved play on, whereas, it might have been given at the other end, with 26,000 home fans howling for everything. They were singing throughout the game, including a ten minute version of "Jingle Bells" after we got the first goal, but they were singing in vain, with their side, desperately disappointing as they forced only one real save from Robinson and that came four minutes from the end, with Burak hitting a half-volley straight at Robbo. Brazilian substitute Bobo had a clear header, but could not find the target either.
Lennon's brief cameo feature done run that left the full back for dead and with time to cross, he hit the first defender when he should have done better, then one of the other subs, Ziegler did the same from the other side. Then the third sub, Defoe completed the hat-trick, when Assou-Ekotto got down the right wing and put in a well placed low ball to the near post, where Jermain came in and side-footed wide from a yard out. While he appeared to be offside, the officials did not indicate it was an offence, so a goal would have counted.
It was a fine performance in the face of the unknown and the two goals were well created and well taken, despite the slice of good fortune we have been sought since the start of the season. With three more games to go, the three points get Spurs off to a great start, with Leverkusen and Brugge drawing to leave Tottenham top to start off with. The need to get through the group is the next aim and with Brugge next up at home, although their result today shows it will be a tough task, it is one Spurs might expect to get something from.
MEHSTG TOP MAN - DIMITAR BERBATOV