Solid defensive display sees Spurs progress to the last eight

Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 AC Milan (Tottenham win 1-0 on Aggregate)

Tottenham Hotspur have reached the Champions League quarter-finals, after holding AC Milan to a 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane.

A backs to the wall display from the usually adventurous Spurs, against an impotent Milan attack, sees Harry Redknapp’s side go through to the last eight, after their superb 1-0 win in the San Siro in the first leg.

Spurs started the game with Rafael van der Vaart in the starting line-up after injury, but Gareth Bale was left on the bench.

The away side, playing with a front three of Robinho, Alexandre Pato and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, started in very confident mood, moving the ball crisply across the field.

Robinho and Pato, the creative Brazilians, both playing just behind the tall Swede, kept finding pockets of space in between the Spurs midfield and defence.

Spurs couldn’t find their rhythm, and after Pato had made Gomes produce a comfortable save, a fiercely struck free-kick from Ibrahimovic saw Gomes scramble across his goal, turning the ball away for a corner.

However, Gomes is the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde goalkeeper, and the other side of the Brazilian ‘keeper was soon on show.

A clever through ball was chased by Pato and Gallas, and although the race was veering away from goal, Gomes came off his line into the proverbial no-mans land.

As Gallas conceded ground, Pato easily rounded Gomes before cutting the ball back to Robinho, whose scuffed shot ricocheted off Benoit-Assou Ekotto, before dropping just under the crossbar, only to be volleyed off the goalline from former Arsenal defender Gallas.

Gallas clears off the line

Spurs remained edgy through until half-time, although playmaker Rafael van der Vaart did drill a 25-yard effort at Christian Abbiati, the Milan goalkeeper.

At the beginning of the second period a cross from Corluka caused problems in the Milan defence, whilst Jankulovski was booked for a cynical challenge on Lennon, but Milan continued to frustrate their hosts.

In the 51st minute Mathieu Flamini, whose horrible lunge on Vedran Corluka in the first leg was a pre-cursor to the feud between Gennaro Gattuso and Joe Jordan, fired a low angled-shot wide of Gomes right-hand post.

Spurs continued to sit back and soak up pressure but for all their possession Milan couldn’t penetrate a resolute backline, marshalled brilliantly by skipper Michael Dawson and William Gallas, whilst Sandro, the young Brazilian midfielder was outstanding.

Sandro challenges Ibrahimovic

Fine interplay involving substitute Alexander Merkel and Robinho set up Pato, who fired a 20 yard effort into the side netting, as three Spurs players attempted to make challenges.

In injury time a final effort from Robinho was tipped over the crossbar from Gomes, but in the end, Milan’s inability to get behind the Tottenham rearguard, and their poor showing in the first leg, has cost them dearly.

Nevertheless, Tottenham’s european adventure continues, and there won’t be many who’ll fancy taking on Redknapp’s effervescent outfit.


About AA_Richards

Football writer & all-round pen for hire. Can tiki-taka or counter-attack at pace. Differentiates Athletic from Atletico. Follow me on twitter:
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