Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spurs relive the glory days with win over Inter

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Inter Milan


This game reminded me of the great days at White Hart Lane in the 1960s, described so well by Hunter Davies in his excellent book, “The Glory Game”. This is a must-read for any youngster hoping to make it to the top of the professional game.

The fine wing play of the incomparable duo of Gareth Bale on the left and Aaron Lennon on the right was reminiscent of the wing play of John White in the Spurs side of the 1960s, a star who was so tragically killed at the height of his fame when struck by lightning during a game of golf.

Lennon is a character straight out of Star Trek. Indeed the hair style and the shaved eyebrows and side of the head make him look like the son of Spock. And he plays at warp speed too, turning opponents inside out before delivering teasing crosses for team-mates.

Bale, who could not get a game some months ago, is in scintillating form. His speed is phenomenal, his left peg lethal, and he has the ability to deliver inch-perfect crosses that leave defenders stranded and team-mates with simple tap-ins.

Bale single-handedly almost rescued Tottenham at the San Siro two weeks ago when his late hat-trick saw Spurs go down 4-3 to Inter. In this game, he gave experienced Brazilian internationals Lucio and Maicon a bath, setting up two goals in outstanding fashion.

Inter coach Rafa Benitez again showed his failings as a strategist. He had been forewarned in Milan two weeks ago of the threat presented by Bale and yet did nothing to counter it. He sat and watched as Bale tore the right flank of the Inter defence to pieces, and it was not until the 71st minute that he brought on Diego Milito, one of his side’s most dangerous attackers.

If Milito had partnered Samuel Eto’o from the start, who knows what might have happened. As it was, the lightning quick Eto’o scored a marvellous goal, while Milito clipped the crossbar with a great strike in the final minute. Benitez may have won two La Liga titles with Valencia and the European Champions League with Liverpool, but he continues to confound with some of his decisions.

Rafael Van Der Vaart opened the scoring for Spurs in the 18th minute. Bale fed Luka Modric in midfield and the diminutive Croatian outwitted the experienced Javier Zanetti before slipping the ball through and into the box for the Dutchman to beat the off-side trap and then Luca Castellazi at his near post from 12 metres.

It should have been 2-0 in the 25th minute when Bale outpaced Maicon on the left and crossed a perfect ball to the far post for Peter Crouch, who, instead of scoring, smacked the ball back across goal and out for a goal-kick.

Wesley Schneider was a potential threat throughout and, in the 43rd minute, he forced a fine save from Carlo Cudicini from a free-kick, awarded for Modric’s foul on Eto’o.

Spurs suffered a major blow when Van Der Vaart was replaced at the interval by Jermain Jenas.

But, the home side had the first chance of the second half when, in the 52nd minute, Bale’s overhead kick flew just wide.

Three minutes later, Crouch’s header from Alan Hutton’s right-wing cross was turned over the bar by the alert Castellazi.

It was 2-0 in the 61st minute when Bale gained possession in his own half and raced down the left yet again to leave Lucio and Maicon floundering and delivered an accurate ball into the middle for Crouch to tap home.

Ten minutes from the end, Eto’o showed his class when he cut in from the left and scored from the edge of the box with a low drive inside the far post.

Spurs beamed Lennon back to the bench in the 84th minute and replaced him with Palacios, but he did not have enough time to impose his influence on the game.

Bale repeated his party trick in the 89th minute when his low ball from the left gave Pavlyuchenko the easiest of goals to kill off Inter’s revival, sparked by the introduction of Milito, and make it 3-1.


Tottenham Hotspur: Cudicini - Hutton, Gallas, Kaboul, Asson-Ekotto - Lennon (Palacios 84), Huddlestone, Modric, Bale - Van Der Vaart (Jenas 46) - Crouch (Pavlyuchenko 76) (Substitutes not used: Pletikosa, Bassong, Kranjcar, Keane)

Booked: Hutton, Jenas, Modric

Goals: Van Der Vaart 18, Crouch 61, Pavlyuchenko 89

Inter Milan: Castellazi - Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu - Muntari (Nwankwo 53), Zanetti - Biabiany (Coutinho 64), Schneider, Pandev (Milito 71) - Eto’o (Substitutes not used: Orlandoni, Cordoba, Materazzi, Santon, Obiora)

Booked: Samuel, Chivu, Lucio

Goals: Eto’o 80

Att: 36,310

Ref: V Kassai (Hungary)


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

yes bale was reminicent of a young ryan giggs

Anonymous said...

He reminded me of a young Matthew Sanders.