With a Champions League team dispatched in the last round, PSV Eindhoven
posed a very different proposition and proved it with a 1-0 win at White
Hart Lane. Having only lost once in Europe in 47 years, it is now
twice in the same season.
It is a
blow to the club's aspirations to win another trophy in this, their
125th season, but not all is lost, as there is still the second leg to
come. Although, it will need a considerable improvement in their
performance for the Spurs team to progress.
Having said that, while PSV were
undoubtedly the better team on the night, they quivered under pressure
at the end, as Tottenham pressed for an equaliser and a faster tempo in
the return from our side will help push the Dutch side to the end.
Both sides were feeling each other out in
the opening stages, with the first shot on goal coming from Mendez, but
it lacked power and Robbo picked it up comfortably, while a Woodgate
header from Jenas' free-kick floated up for Gomes to pluck out of the
air with over a quarter of an hour gone. Tottenham picked up a few
free-kicks outside the PSV box, but they were all wasted.
New Brazilian signing Gilberto was making
his first appearance and looked comfortable on the ball, with a good
left foot, but when Zokora let a long ball bounce before heading it and
it got past him and then Jefferson Fanfan got away, he showed that he
may not be fully match fit, as he had to foul the Peruvian as he ran
past him. Gilberto picked up a booking for his troubles.
Around the half hour his day got even worse.
Firstly, he got the ball back from Steed
Malbranque and hit a right foot shot well over the bar and then, when
play was on the edge of our own box after our free-kick broke down, he
tried to take the ball out of defence on the right hand side of the
area, he was robbed of the ball by Farfan and the striker stepped
forward to drive his shot past a helpless Robinson. It was a slack
piece of defending and perhaps he needed to hoof it rather than be a
little bit more classy. He will have to learn he needs to pick and
choose when he plays football in that area.
Jermaine Jenas raced away up the left,
got beyond the defence, but as he reached the penalty area, he lost his
balance as he was deciding what to do and the ball ran off for a
goal-kick. As soon as Spurs broke forward again, a minute later,
the ball came to Malbranque, who struck a shot that came off Kromkamp
and bounced up, causing Gomes to flap at the shot and get it out for a
corner. The same result came from a Berbatov cross that Steed
brought the keeper into action once more.
With the ball being kept around the PSV
area, a Jenas cross found a free header for Jonathan Woodgate, but his
slid his header across the face of the far post. Steed was quiet
involved in this part of the match and when a neat passing movement saw
the ball drop to him off Lennon, he struck it first time, but the angle
he was coming in from did not suit a right foot shot and it went a long
way wide. The visitors did break out and Mendez fired in a shot
from distance to make Paul Robinson save, without any worry and then
just before the break, the Spurs keeper launched a high ball upfield and
Keane took it down with great skill. With two PSV defenders for
company, he took them on and broke into the area, where he claimed he
was being pulled as he got a shot away and Gomes did well to fling an
arm up to his right to keep the ball out.
Turning around at 0-1 down, Ramos brought
Jamie O'Hara at left back for Gilberto. It was a risky move, as
Eindhoven seemed to single him out for balls played over his head for
Farfan to run onto. But with the side pushing forward, this kept
PSV away from Robbo's for a while. The keeper Gomes looked like he
would wobble under pressure and his punching leaves Spurs with some
hope, as his general demeanour could not have given his back four a
great deal of confidence.
On the hour, Afellay was lined up with a
shot by Farfan's pass, but with the goal there to be hit, he missed the
target completely and Spurs had a let off. When Mendez went into a
challenge with Jenas in midfield, the Spurs midfielder was left holding
his leg in the middle of the field. Having received attention, he
had to be take off on a stretcher and Tom Huddlestone came on to replace
him. It was later revealed that it was only a twisted ankle and he
may miss a couple of games, but will be back before the season's end.
Another series of free-kicks saw the ball
strike the wall regularly from Jenas, Berbatov and O'Hara managed to
clear the wall by some distance. When Dimitar got wide in the 68th
minute, he found Pascal Chimbonda at the far post, from where he headed
the bal over the top.
Chimbonda had been booked for kicking the
ball away and Berbatov followed him for the same misdemeanour, being a
particularly shameful way to get booked. With about 20 minutes
left, Ramos sacrificed Ledley King to bring on Adel Taarabt, who took
eight minutes to touch the ball, but the touches he did have brightened
up the Tottenham side.
Lennon got O'Hara's cross-field pass and
then tried to hit a shot from 25 yards out, but got it all wrong and it
went a long way wide. Then suddenly the ball was in the Tottenham
net. A well worked break-out saw Farfan feed former Liverpool
defender Jan Kromkamp, who hit a shot that Robinson did well to keep out
with his fingertips. Twice Chimbonda did well to prevent the team
going further behind. Firstly, he flicked away a header at the far
post with a man coming in behind him, another well timed challenge to
stop a shot on Robbo's goal shows he can be an effective defender when
he puts his mind to it. Woodgate made a similarly important tackle
on substitute Lazovic as he looked like he would get clear in the box.
With four minutes left, it looked like
our UEFA Cup campaign was over. Afellay cut inside from the right
to hit a cross shot that Robbo did well to beat out , but the keeper's
parry bounced down in front of goal and Lazovic was Johnny on the spot
to head home. However, he was denied a second goal by the
assistant referee's offside flag ... much to our relief.
With time ticking away, Tottenham's
attacks got ever more frantic and the long ball did worry the away
defence, but they held firm and when they did get breached Gomes did
enough to keep the ball out. Huddlestone's neat little pass put
Berbatov in and his volley brought a falling save from Gomes at his near
post. And then, when Keane got away from the defender sin the box,
he tried to beat the PSV goalkeeper, but he had raced out to block his
shot from close range.
Four minutes were added, but nothing came
of them and a few boos rang out after the final whistle. I think
that was a bit harsh, but hopefully, they were borne out of the
frustration of those fans, who want more success. that is
something we all want, but you have to hold your hands up to give credit
to Eindhoven, who produced an experienced European showing and kept the
ball moving and kept the ball better than Spurs.
So, the rest of our season comes down to
the game next Wednesday.
Yes, a trophy is already in the bag, but
the need to show that we can compete with the biggest of clubs from the
Champions League must be proved. Our pace in attack must be used
to best effect in Holland and Lennon will need good supply to get him
into the game.
Let's hope the boys are up for it !!