Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Spurs take a "Real" smashing

A goal in each half from former Arsenal front-man Emmanuel Adebayor, a third from Angel di Maria and late fourth from Cristiano Ronaldo plus an early red card for Peter Crouch all conspired to ruin Tottenham's big night at the Bernabeu.Now a performance even better than previous successes against Inter and AC Milan in the second leg at White Hart Lane will be needed for Harry Redknapp's side to carry on their amazing Champions League adventure.It is unlikely to happen though and Spurs must already know that Jose Mourinho is set to head into the semi-final of the competition he has already won with Porto and Inter.

Whatever Tottenham's pre-match plans were, they needed to be changed seconds before kick-off when Aaron Lennon was taken sick and had to be replaced in the starting line-up by Jermaine Jenas.They held out for all of four minutes when Jenas failed to pick Adebayor up from a corner and the ex-Arsenal striker powered Real in front, with Luka Modric, the man on the line, unable to keep out a header that had already beaten goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.The Togo striker, on loan from Manchester City and shorn of the long locks he sported in England, loved playing against Tottenham when he was a Gunner and this was his ninth goal against them.

It was a very disappointing start from the visitors given that it was extremely unlikely that the diminutive Lennon would have been handed the job of marking Adebayor from set-pieces so it was a mystery why Jenas was his challenger.Further disaster was not far away when Crouch, who had already been booked for a foul on Sergio Ramos, lunged at Marcelo and was shown another yellow and an inevitable red. Just 15 minutes were on the clock and Rafael van der Vaart was left on his own up front against the team that sold him in August.

Gareth Bale was always going to be Tottenham's main hope of turning the tide and he fired into the side-netting before being fouled by Pepe on another pacy counter-attack but the half ended with the action at the other end, with Michael Dawson and then William Gallas surviving strong penalty appeals.

Van der Vaart was replaced by Defoe for the start of the second half but Adebayor made it 2-0 with another unchallenged header, this time from a cross from the left from Marcelo, in the 57th minute.

Gomes tipped over another Adebayor header to prevent him from claiming the match ball but Real kept the pressure on an Di Maria beat the Brazilian with a thunderbolt into the top corner with 18 minutes remaining.

A three-goal margin would have given Spurs a slim hope of over-turning the deficit but Ronaldo's fourth - a low drive that beat Gomes at his near post - changed that.

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