A much changed Spurs side almost overhauled a two-goal deficit against
Shakhtar Donetsk with some chances that flew narrowly wide and a couple
of nailed on penalty claims, but a late Ukrainian goal put the visitors
through to the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup.
The expected slew of youth team players
in the starting line-up did not arise, with only Jon Obika making his
first start, among a host of fringe players who were included in the
UEFA Cup squad and others who are not eligible to play at Wembley on
With some good movement, Spurs opened up
well and Jamie O'Hara returning from his hip injury was soon testing
Pyatov from well outside the box, although it was fired straight in on
the keeper. A couple of minutes later Jadson made a nice move on
the right to hit a cross in, but Heurelho Gomes could only get a
stretching hand to push it out, but the ball fell to Willan, who could
only scuff his effort wide of the goal.
The Italian referee was to prove lenient
in the extreme and as in the first leg, Shakhtar got away with some
heavy challenges, although Lewandowski got booked for a foul on
Campbell. When the Donetsk side moved the ball about, they did so
nicely, with some smooth passing, but Spurs were matching their
work-rate, although they failed to close down Fernandinho, who got the
ball 25 yards out and hit a low shot to Gomes' right hand and the
Brazilian keeper got down to it to push the ball out for a corner.
While not first team match fit, Gilberto
did show some decent touches, but did give the ball away too easily a
couple of times and failed to continue with his runs when other players
passed to where he should have been. O'Hara was passing well and
also got stuck in, but his tackle on one of the midfielders after the
ball slipped a little too far away from the Spurs man, earned Jamie a
Just before the half hour, screams for a
penalty when Rat darted in to trip Fraizer Campbell were all in vain,
with the official waving play on, but as the ball was returned to the
edge of the area, Jon Obika struck his shot just a couple of feet wide
of the post. It was ironic that a lot of fouls outside the box
were given, while the ref chose to ignore one player falling on Campbell
and another kick him in the stomach as the loan forward fell down.
Then Rat popped up at the other end to fire in a long range drive that
had Gomes keeping it out at the foot of his post.
Obika took an O'Hara pass outside the
box, moved the ball out of his feet and hit s shot that once more went
close to the upright, but was on the wrong side as far as Tottenham were
concerned. Five minutes before the break, a free kick on the edge
of his own area saw Tom Huddlestone take it quickly and fire a perfect
pass to Gareth Bale, who had snuck forward into the Shakhtar area.
He had to take the ball inside as a defender got across to him and this
put it on his weaker right foot, with the resulting shot a weak one
right at Pyatov, who was central in the six yard box. A yard
either side and it could have been 1-0.
Spurs were having the better of the half
as it came to a close and Chimbonda rose to meet O'Hara's cross with a
towering header, but could not beat the visiting keeper, who dived to
make a good stop on his line.
The appearance of Academy Manager John
McDermott and his successful youth side who went to Mexico for a
tournament they finished third in, must have provided inspiration for
one player in the Tottenham line-up. A youngster himself and not
one who often gets a look in, Giovani Dos Santos made this match
memorable for him, if it would not be one that lived long in many of the
Tottenham had opened up the Shakhtar
defence when Gareth Bale slid a low ball across the middle of the
penalty area from the left and Obika went sliding in and failed to
connect by inches. The Academy striker also made a chance for
himself, but Pyatov dropped on the ball to deny Campbell a half-chance.
However, with 54 minutes on the clock, a
similar move to that which opened the first half saw Campbell go in for
it and the ball ran through to Giovani just inside the area and fired
the ball high into the roof of the net past Pyatov. The young
Mexican had been bought as one with a lot of promise, but has failed to
have the chance, as a struggling team is not the best stage for a talent
to flourish, but he celebrated his goal with gusto and looked like he
felt a weight lifted off his shoulders.
It was game on now, with only one more
goal needed to take the game to extra time, but scoring might have been
the worst thing to happen, as Spurs went off the boil after it and
failed to put pressure on the Ukraine side.
Gilberto fired a low cross in for
Campbell and Obika and neither managed to get the vital touch to it,
then Campbell was taken down from behind in the area by Ischenko, but
the referee failed to see anything wrong with it again. The fact
that Campbell stayed down for a long time afterwards and then proceeded
to continue to limp on after the incident implies that contact and big
contact took place.
From about the hour mark, Shakhtar
started to move the ball about more confidently. Fernandinho shot
at Gomes, Moreno was released through on goal in the area after some
good passing, but his shot was not good enough to beat Gomes and in the
81st minute Jadson fired in a long shot that the Spurs keeper made a
very good save from. In between, there was only the respite of a
free kick (see he was still giving them outside the area) that Bale
struck well, but slightly too high with Pyatov rooted to the line.
Then it happened. Four minutes from
time, Spurs conceded another late goal to go with the two let in in
Dontesk. Jadson passed to the left side of the penalty area, where
Fernandinho ran onto the ball and side-footed a curler around Gomes and
into the far corner of the net. It was a well created goal and
showed the importance of having a decent final ball.
Shakhtar almost added a second in injury
time, but Gai hit a defender with his shot as he came in from the right
side of the area.
So, Harry got his wish and Spurs can now
concentrate on the league ... after Sunday's Cup Final that is.
That will require another reshuffle, with players cup-tied and injured,
there will not be as many of the youth team involved (here there were
some of them who warmed up but were not even on the bench) and a more
recognisable Tottenham team will take on Manchester United.
Having lost to the second best team in
Ukraine, we now face the best team in the world.
Should be a forgone conclusion for a
Spurs win then !!