Spurs surge on as group winners
Tottenham capped a memorable group campaign by securing top spot after a six-goal thriller at FC Twente.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 07/12/10 10:34pm
Tottenham capped an unforgettable UEFA Champions League Group A campaign by securing top spot after another goal-fest away to FC Twente.
Spurs had already secured a place in the knockout stage while the Dutch champions were guaranteed to go into the Europe League but the two sides played out a pulsating game in Enschede which was typical of Tottenham's first-ever appearance in the Champions League.
And, coupled with Inter Milan's 3-0 defeat at Werder Bremen, the result meant that Spurs would go through as winners of Group A, ensuring they will avoid many of Europe's big guns in the next round.
Harry Redknapp's men took the lead three times, firstly from a howler by home goalkeeper Sander Boschker as he missed a Peter Wisgerhof backpass to concede an own goal, before the fit-again Jermain Defoe scored twice after the break.
Twente were just as enterprising as Tottenham have been in Europe this season and drew level through a Denny Landzaat penalty while Roberto Rosales and Nacer Chadli equalised in the second half, meaning Spurs scored 18 goals and conceded 11 from six group games after their 6-3 aggregate win over Young Boys in the play-offs.
Despite performing heroics in their maiden season in the competition, Spurs had not recorded an away win and Twente had lost only once at home in more than a year.
The Dutch champions lost 4-1 at White Hart Lane and began like they were out for revenge as Wout Brama's volley forced an acrobatic save from Heurelho Gomes and Theo Janssen curled a free-kick narrowly over.
But they shot themselves in the foot in spectacular fashion in the 12th minute when Boschker, making his Champions League debut at 40, tried to punt Wisgerhof's backpass forward but watched in horror as it bobbled over his foot and into the net.
The hosts regrouped from gifting Spurs the opener, though, and 10 minutes later they levelled in circumstances almost as bizarre. Benoit Assou-Ekotto stuck his arm up to prevent Rosales' fierce volley smashed into the side of his head but Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo felt it was a penalty.
Landzaat beat Gomes to his right but a retake was ordered for encroachment and the keeper should have done better as Landzaat's weak spot-kick crept past him down the middle.
Twente might have taken the lead four minutes before the break as Marc Janko sliced a close-range shot wide when Wisgerhof was much better placed.
Defoe also flicked over the top with the final kick of the half after a trademark run and cross from Gareth Bale but the England striker put Spurs back ahead within two minutes of the restart.
Douglas failed to clear Bale's cross and Lennon pounced with a delightful reverse pass which Defoe coolly clipped over Boschker.
Gomes saved a Chadli header as news came through that Werder Bremen had gone 2-0 up against Inter, so it mattered little when Twente equalised in the 56th minute when Rosales rose highest to meet Theo Janssen's left-wing cross and direct a well-timed header beyond Gomes.
This time parity lasted only three minutes as Wilson Palacios caught Janssen in possession in his own half to race clear and although his shot was saved by Boschker, Defoe was on hand to convert the rebound for just his third goal of an injury-hit season.
Chadli then made it three goals in eight minutes by curling a stunning right-footed free-kick over the wall and into the top corner from 25 yards.
Twente nearly took the lead for the first time in the 70th minute as Brama's strike forced a fine save from Gomes, who was then almost caught out by Janssen's near-post corner.Twente almost scored a second own goal when Douglas deflected Bale's low cross goalwards and Boschker saved well low to his right but that would have been harsh on both Twente and the veteran keeper.
|FC Twente||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|6||Shots on Target||4|
|5||Shots off Target||2|