10-man Spurs sink Twente
Tottenham had to overcome Rafael Van der Vaart's sending off as they picked up a 4-1 win over FC Twente.
By James Riach
Last Updated: 30/09/10 11:28am
Tottenham had to overcome Rafael Van der Vaart's sending off as they picked up their first ever UEFA Champions League victory with a dramatic 4-1 win over FC Twente at White Hart Lane.
On a wet night in North London Spurs were remarkably awarded three penalties, two of which were converted, as they put themselves in a strong position in Group A.
Harry Redknapp's side had to wait until the 47th minute to take the lead, Van der Vaart volleying in after the Dutch midfielder missed a penalty in the opening period.
Roman Pavlyuchenko then stepped up to put away a spot-kick just three minutes later, before substitute Nacer Chadli poked home to give Twente hope as they looked to put the pressure on.
But a frantic few minutes just after the hour mark saw Van der Vaart shown the red card after picking up a second booking, as Pavlyuchenko then netted another penalty following a harsh handball before Gareth Bale wrapped up the win following a defensive lapse.
Redknapp recalled Ledley King to captain the side after the defender shook off groin and knee problems, while Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Roman Pavlyuchenko also started as goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes returned after a month out.
And Tottenham had Gomes to thank early on after a superb save in the 12th minute - the eccentric Brazilian keeper stayed big and stuck out a hand to claw away Bryan Ruiz's effort after the Twente striker bore down and unleashed a goal-bound shot.
Not to be outshone by his opposite number, Nikolay Mihaylov then produced an impressive stop at the other end to deny Van der Vaart, who cut inside from the left and tried a right-foot curler into the far post from just inside the area.
It was the first indication that Dutch star Van der Vaart was to have a game to remember, and along with Gareth Bale, the midfielder was at the heart of nearly ever Spurs attack.
But despite the guile of Van der Vaart and the energy of Bale, Twente stood tall and looked composed in defence until six minutes before half-time.
Peter Crouch and Peter Wisgerhof were locked in a tussle at the far post in the area as a ball from the right came swinging in, and as the pair went to ground the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
The decision seemed harsh on the defender but Van der Vaart could not take advantage from the spot as he saw his effort tipped brilliantly onto the post by Mihaylov.
Van der Vaart, who had been goaded by the away support from the first whistle, was then booked for a challenge on Nicky Kuiper as he looked to make amends before seeing a half-volley well saved by the goalkeeper just before the break.
If Mihaylov was keeping Michel Preud'homme's side in it during the opening period in North London, he was helpless to prevent Tottenham from taking a swift two-goal lead in the space of five minutes after the restart.
Tom Huddlestone drifted a ball into the area from the right for Crouch to knock-down and Van der Vaart showed his quality with a sumptuous chest and volley into the far corner in the 47th minute.
The relief was clear to see after his previous penalty miss, and soon his team were running riot after Gareth Bale was brought down in the box by Roberto Rosales.
Contact was minimal but the challenge was reckless and the Welsh whizz-kid nicked the ball away from the Venezuelan to go tumbling to the turf.
This time Pavlyuchenko stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to double the lead with a cool finish.
But folly for anyone at the Lane who believed the result was now assured, as Twente fought back with great spirit to pull one back through substitute Chadli, who poked home inside the area following a scramble after a free-kick from the left.
It was to get worse for Spurs as just after the hour mark Van der Vaart went in recklessly on Rosales and deservedly picked up his second booking of the night to cap off a dramatic evening for the former Real Madrid man.
The rhythm of the tie then changed drastically but it was to take yet another twist when another Tottenham penalty was awarded for a Wout Brama handball, although like the first it seemed extremely harsh as he tried to turn his back on Pavlyuchenko's stinging effort.
Controversial yes, but there was no doubt about the finish - the Russian giving Mihaylov the eyes before cheekily wrong-footing him.Twente pressed but were undone in the 85th minute when Bale pounced on a poor header from Douglas to run through and slot home with aplomb.
|Tottenham Hotspur||Team Statistics||FC Twente|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|9||Shots on Target||6|
|5||Shots off Target||11|