Real Madrid (Spain)  (Away)
Champions League - quarter final first leg

Tuesday 05th April 2011

This is one of those games that you look forward to for years and when it comes, everything seems to be going to pot.  Injuries, lack of goals and on a poor run of form, Spurs go to Spain to take on Real Madrid in their Bernabeu stadium.  A first quarter final in their first campaign, Tottenham face a Real side who have reached this stage for the firs time in a number of years and so it is confusing as to who might be the most pleased or the most nervous.

Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has tried the psychological approach, with rumours about who will miss the match, but Harry Redknapp is too long in the tooth to get taken in by that and has a few mind games of his own with the injured Spurs players making a Lazarus style recovery to make the match.

But whoever plays for either side, it will be a fascinating meeting of two top managers and two teams who have lit up the Champions League this season.  For one thing there will be goals, as even though Spurs are on a run of one defeat and three draws in the last five games, with few goals back home, they have been free-scoring in Europe.  And while they have also let goals in, they have frightened other European sides, more accustomed to teams taking a cagey approach to these games.  Whether they can do the same with Madrid remains to be seen.

The key will be to press all over the pitch and hold onto the ball when Spurs have got it.  Barcelona put Real to the sword in La Liga, with a performance of great skill and great effort.  Tottenham will have to match that as Real have quality players all over the pitch.

Xabi Alonso will be fresh after missing Saturday's league game through suspension and Gonzalo Higuain will be looking to prove a point in taking the injured Karim Benzema's place after over-coming injury himself.  With Marcelo getting over his bruised ribs and Kaka a knee injury that has ruled him out for over a month, Real's squad is taking on a look of galacticos once more.  With the defence of goalkeeper Iker Casillas (who is having a tougher time than he is used to this season) and defenders Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, the cynical Ricardo Carvalho and Alvaro Arbeloa are fairly adept at coping with the rigors of most Spanish league games, they might have a more perplexing time trying to deal with Crouch and van der Vaart up front.  The tired and tested Spurs pairing in Europe will seek to exploit any doubt in the minds of the Spanish side's back four.  It won't be easy, but VDV has an insight into the working of the Real side, so might find the knowledge useful in picking the lock of their defence.  Arbeloa supposedly had a mare on Saturday and Ramos is prone to try to do a little too much on the ball, so Spurs have chances to make them pay for any errors, but need to finish better than they have been doing lately.

Up front Higuain is a master goal-scorer and can knock them in from all angles, so the defenders and Gomes will need to be aware of his position when he gets the ball and with Emmanuel Adebayour staking a claim for a start up front, the remaining fit Spurs central defenders (Dawson and Bassong) will need to put in a performance equal to that of the Manchester City game at the end of last season to keep the white shirted strikers at bay.

The midfield of Real contains such names as Kaka, Lassana Diarra, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, Fernando Gago, and Angel Di Maria, the Spurs midfielders will have their work cut out keeping tabs on them.  Di Maria is a mercurial winger, who ahs come on in leaps and bounds since joining Real and he not only makes goals, but is never happier than scoring them too.  With Ozil a player in the Modric mould, who goes wherever he wants to and makes the opposition uncomfortable doing so, he is the creator in the side, who can run and commit people before playing a killer pass.  Khedira and Diarra put in the hard miles for the team to build a platform for others to play and that includes Cristiano Ronaldo.  Love him or hate him, he is a very skilful player who can cause a great deal of damage, whether through good play or through some of the less savoury parts of his game.

For Spurs, this is a big test and without some key players it will be all the harder, but proper application can overcome the greatest opponents and I think that they will return for the second leg with something still to play for ...

PREDICTION : -    Real Madrid     2     Tottenham Hotspur    1


REAL MADRID  :  -   Marcelo (doubtful - ribs); Karim Benzema (doubtful - thigh); - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Younes Kaboul (out - thigh); Wilson Palacios (out - knee); William Gallas (hopeful - knee);  Ledley King (out - groin); Steven Pienaar (out - groin); Niko Kranjcar (doubtful - foot); - (-); 


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Real Madrid    4    Tottenham Hotspur   0      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Champions League Quarter final First leg
Venue :  -  Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
Tuesday 05th April 2011
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   80,000
Referee :  Felix Brych (Germany)
Weather :  -   Very warm, dry
Teams : - 
Real Madrid  :

  1  Casillas

  4  Ramos
  3  Pepe  
  2  Carvalho
12  Marcelo

14  Alonso
24  Khedira  (10  Diarra  66)
23  Ozil
22  Di Maria  (  8  Kaka  77)

  7  Ronaldo
28  Adebayor 
     (20  Higuain  74)

Unused subs: 
13  Adan
17  Arbeloa
19  Garay

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka  (19  Bassong 80) 
20  Dawson (c)
13  Gallas
32  Assou-Ekotto

11  Lennon  (  8  Jenas 1)
  3  Bale
14  Modric
30  Sandro

11  van der Vaart       (18 Defoe 46     )

15  Crouch                

Unused subs: 
23  Cudicini

  6  Huddlestone
21  Kranjcar
  9  Pavlyuchenko 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Real Madrid  

  Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Real Madrid  

Adebayor  4
Adebayor  57
Di Maria  72
Ronaldo 87

Tottenham Hotspur


Cards : -  
Real Madrid  

Adebayor (foul)  12
Pepe (foul)   36


Tottenham Hotspur  

Crouch (foul)  8
van der Vaart (kicking ball away)  20
Defoe (foul)  74  

Crouch (second yellow - foul) 15 

Match Report : -  
How ironic that the man whose goals got us into the Champions League and have kept us there, may be the man who ends our involvement in the competition by producing a fine imitation of Gazza in the 1991 FA Cup Final.  By getting sent off in the 15th minute and leaving ten Spurs players to play Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, Peter Crouch can only salvage his and Tottenham’s season by scoring league goals to help the team to a top four finish. 

But that now seems unlikely, with the team unable to win in the last six games and not having scored for the last four, the tired players will have to face up to the physical rigours of a Premier League game against Stoke City on Saturday after being caned 4-0 by Real. 

The score-line was unimportant in the end, with more damage likely to be felt by the injuries to Bale, Corluka and Gallas.  The defence had so much to do and now we have so few to do it that the remaining eight league matches look like eight too many ... even though five of them are at home. 

Meeting Real in the quarter final of the Champions League was a bit of a dream come true and we knew how hard it would be, especially with Madrid being coached by Mourinho, who understands English football.  The reality of the Real game was that we barely got started.  Well, Aaron Lennon didn’t, not even making it up the tunnel as he had a sore throat and felt like he had no energy.  The remainder of the players (Peter Crouch aside) felt that same after 90+ minutes running around chasing the ball. 

Two moments of headstrong impetuosity cost Spurs the game and left Real the simple task of knocking the ball about.  While Spurs defended manfully, every time the ball was cleared, it came straight back.  There was no respite.  And while Dawson put in a great shift, two of the goals we conceded were poor and two could not be stopped, even though Gomes might have done better with the fourth. 

In the end, the number of attacks was just too much for Spurs.  They could stop some of them, but not all and by the end, even players who normally hold the ball well (Modric, Bale) were so tired physically and mentally that they turned the ball over easily. 

The game started badly, with Lennon unable to take to the field with illness and Jermaine Jenas appearing in the camera shots of the line-ups for the Champions League anthem like Lennon on stilts.  Obviously, being thrown into the team at the last minute is not ideal preparation for anyone and the first corner Real had saw him picking up Adebayor, leaving the ex-Gooner with an easily won header that Gomes got a hand to and that touch foxed Modric, who could not get behind it to keep it out on the line.  The ball literally trickled into the side netting. 

Four minute sin and a goal down, but nothing to worry about too much as Spurs had been in that position of being behind before this season and had come back to get something.  However, what they hadn’t accounted for was the rush of blood that Peter Crouch had in sliding in to kick Sergio Ramos up in the air to get a yellow card and then eight minutes later launching Marcelo into orbit in a similar fashion with the same result, leading to his departure from the play. 

Three red cards in this campaign have been shown to Spurs players and this is the one that will really hurt when we look back on the Champions League run. 

Leaving only a not totally mobile Rafael van der Vaart up front meant that there was no out ball.  Rafa did OK, but with Spurs setting up two banks of four in front of Gomes, the midfield was finding it hard tog et up and support him.  Bale was just finding it hard, as every time he got the ball there was Ramos blocking his way by fair means or foul.  But he did get on the end of Dawson’s raking pass to chest it down, but just take it too far to his left to get his shot on target and it hit the outside of the side-netting.  Another piece of quick thinking saw Alonso concede a throw and Bale took it quickly to van der Vaart in the heart of the penalty area, but the ball would not come down for him and Carvalho managed to nick it away at waist level as he shaped to shoot.  

And really that was all Spurs could get going forward in the first half.  Everything else was backs to the wall.  Jenas was almost anonymous, Sandro was too busy chasing Real players with the ball and Modric could not find anyone available to take his passes when he got hold of possession.  The back four were penned back in their own last third and had to be careful not to dive in and concede free kicks in and around the box. 

Ronaldo continually tried his luck with not much troubling Gomes, as his shots nearly all went wide.  Adebayor was fairly quiet apart from getting a booking for a late slide in on Assou-Ekotto and Ozil prompted and probed around the edge of the area.  Neither Ozil, Alonso nor Di Maria were outstanding, but then they didn’t have to be.  It was just a question of waiting their opening and they didn’t have to force the game. 

The only bit of luck Spurs had was when a volley from Di Maria flew up off Michael Dawson's thigh and hit his hands when he was inside the penalty area.  Luckily, referee Brych waved play on.

The second half looked like it would be much more of the same until Spurs fell asleep at a Madrid corner and Marcelo lifted a ball into the middle of the Spurs penalty area and Adebayor rose to head the ball back the way Gomes had just come to make it 2-0.  Khedira was also there and Gallas was little off the two of them, with no other Tottenham defender within five yards of them.  Having done so well in the first half, the conceding of a second goal in such sloppy fashion early in the second half set Spurs a tough task in the second leg. 

But worse was to come.

As Spurs tried to hold the ball, with Defoe's introduction for van der Vaart designed to put this into practice, they tired and many players started to cramp up.  Spurs offered little in attack and had to get as many players behind the ball when Real came forward.  It left them physically drained and the two goals that followed were a result of the effort Spurs had put in.  The ball was worked across the pitch to De Maria, who took Assou-Ekotto on in the box and  cut inside from the right wing onto his left foot and struck a curling shot that Gomes could not get near and entered the goal close to the far post to end a fantastic finish.

As the ball was almost the unique preserve of Real Madrid by this stage, a fourth goal was harsh, but had been coming.  Kaka had a yard of space and picked out a cross from the left across the box to where Cristiano Ronaldo was standing and he shaped his body to strike a volley past Bassong and Gomes could only get a weak hand to it as it went in low at his near post.  It was a soft goal for a keeper to let in, but he didn't have a clear view of the shot, had just come across from the other side of the goal, so wasn't properly set and it would be difficult to be too critical, as he had made a fine reaching save to push a header over the bar from Adebayor that would have given the Gooner a hat-trick had it gone in.  So things could have been worse !!

Tottenham's only effort of the second half worthy of note came from a cleared corner that Benoit hit straight back, but his shot was a yard wide and has Casillas scrambling, but not panicked.

On the other hand Gomes had to make two saves from Ronaldo and Ozil, while Ramos struck a fierce shot over the bar from an acute angle.

4-0 hardly flattered Real as they had little resistance in the latter stages and picked Spurs off with clinical efficiency.  4-0 was harsh for Tottenham who gave a lot and ended up with little.

If they end up back in the competition, hopefully, this will be another lesson learned.


Keith Mendament


Fan Reaction : -



"When things goes wrong, it really goes wrong" ... so sung Godley and Creme.

How did they know about nights like this ?

We have seen Spurs manage to stuff things up before, but not so early in a game when they might have been more of a match for Real Madrid had they had the full complement on the pitch. 

I don't know what got into Crouch.  I have never seen him so much as tackle and although he gets an unrealistic proportion of free-kicks given against him, these were two bad tackles and deserving of two yellow cards.  But they were neither in positions of danger nor did he have much chance of getting the ball.

After that, and being a goal down, it was never going to be our night.

While we got three goals back against Inter with ten men in a vain attempt to get something out of a match we found ourselves one man and four goals down in, this was different.  We saw tonight that Schalke got after Inter at the San Siro and won 5-2.

Real did what they had to do with Mourinho like pragmatism.  Ronaldo tried a few flicks and tricks, but they rarely hurt Spurs, while the more logical practicality of the Germans in the side kept plugging away until Kaka came on and De Maria scored a super goal.

Disappointed, yes.  Proud of the effort we put in, yes.  Happy that we might be on our way out of the competition ?  Not like this.

We have a chance to regain some further pride at home in the second leg, but knowing Spurs we will get the five goals we need ... only to let a last minute goal in and allow Real to get through.

Steve Harknell

Dear Mr Peter Crouch,

Thank you for saying sorry to your team mates and manager for your rush of blood to the head and getting sent off last night after just 14 minutes, but you have forgotten to apologise to one other lot of people ......THE FANS remember those, yes that's right the ones who pay your highly inflated wages !!

P.S.  Memo to Aaron Lennon who didn't play because he had a sore throat  ..  aaahhh diddums -- Graham Roberts played in the 1981 FA Cup final with a gashed head and two front teeth knocked out , but then that was in the days when players were proud to wear the white shirt of Spurs


I watched the game on TV3 – an Irish channel as I live in Northern Ireland and don’t (won’t) subscribe to SKY. Rafael Van der Vaart was interviewed straight after for TV3 and was TOTALLY unhappy, to put it mildly, at being taken off against his former club. That was glaringly obvious, came over loud and clear and then, when asked about the second leg at the Lane, instead of giving the usual “We’re in bother, mountain to climb but we’ll give it our best shot …. etc etc” business said we have “No chance, no chance at all.”

I agree with him, as I’m sure many Spurs fans do, but I’ve never heard a pro footballer saying that sort of thing publicly, even though it may be true.

I think he won’t be at the Lane past Summer and I also have questioned in the past why we got him so cheaply from Real.

I think I see why now.

Gordon McGilp




Other quarter final first leg scores :
Internazionale (Italy) 2 Schalke 04 (Germany) 5 Tuesday
Chelsea 0 Manchester United 1 Wednesday
Barcelona (Spain) 5 Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) 1 Wednesday


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