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Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Heurel-no! (Totteham 0-1 Real Madrid) (0-5 Agg)

There was definitely a sense of optimism before the game for the Tottenham Hotspur crowd, they believed that their hope, spirit and belief would encourage the team to play the game of their lives. Play a good game they did, but it wasn't enough...

The game started rather violently, with the scruffy looking Aussou-Ekotto fouling Ronaldo, which left him rolling around the floor (as he normally does), before he got up to set up the first Real attack of the game, which came to nothing. Straight after, Ozil and Adebayor linked up to present a chance for the young German, easily smuthered by Casillas. The Tottenham fans were full of anxiety, as they knew the enormity of the task ahead of them, but they were in full voice in a packed out White Hart Lane.

After the fairly explosive opening 10 minutes, the game calmed down slightly, with each teams attacks being the quelled by their opposite defences, while Ronaldo had some very wayward shots. It wasn't until the 26th mintue when Tottenham had their first clear-cut opportunity. Lennon went racing down the wing to deliver a perfect drawback for Pavlychenko, who blazed well over. There was also a penalty claim for Spurs, which was turned down by the referee, who had previously rejected claims from Bale and Modric. Real had some brief chances after a 36th minute corner, one was a header that was clawed away before Marcelo volleyed the rebound into the side netting.

Suddenly, a moment of hope for Spurs, a lobbed ball into the box was headed down by Modric into the path of the oncoming Bale, who lashed the ball into the net. GOAL!... But to the disappointment of the home crowd, it was called offside. Redknapp's men were creeping back into the game, holding possession and creating chances, but failing to deliver. There was a final chance for Pavlychenko before the break, hitting a low shot from 20 yards into the outstretched arms of the Real goalkeeper. By half time, Tottenham were in the ascendancy, but were no closer to closing the gigantic gap between them and the semi finals.

Second Half, and the worst possible start for Tottenham. In the 50th minute, Ronaldo took another one of his tame shots from 20 yards, going straight towards Gomes. Unfortunately, the Spurs' Number 1 decided to let the shot bounce off the top of his hands and bounce agonisingly into the net. It was an awful goal to concede, especially since Tottenham were playing so positively. 1-0 and 5-0 on aggregate.

Tottenham did respond well to the goal: they managed to retain their majority of possession and created the best chance of the game, a free Pavlychenko header going just over the bar from a Lennon cross. The opportunities kept coming for Tottenham, a Modric header went wide and a rocket from Defoe well saved, with the confidence-boosting goal still eluding them. Real also had their first shot of the half, the returning playmaker Kaka curled a shot from outside the box towards the nervous Gomes, who got a palm on the ball which slipped under his hand and out of touch (quite literally).

Another chance, more frustration. This time from a corner, which was lofted into the box and met by the head of Gallas, only to be denied by the post (or so it appeared). There was also the fourth penalty appeal of the game for the home team, swiftly followed by the fourth denial. The quater final descended into a relaxed kick around. Madrid were happy to keep the ball in the middle of the park, whilst Tottenham were desperatley trying to pull one back. Van Der Vaart's curling attempt on the 85th minute mark was the closest  they came in the final few minutes.

FULL TIME! The semi finals pair Real Madrid up with Barcelona for a mouth-watering El Classico derby, whilst Schalke go through to the play Manchester United. Tottenham should look back on this campaign with their heads held high, but if it wasn't for that Crouch red card in the first leg, who knows what could of been...

Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Gallas, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto, Bale, Huddlestone (Sandro 71), Modric (Kranjcher 83), Lennon (Defoe 61), Van Der Vaart, Pavlychenko
Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa, Carvalho, Albiol, Ramos (Granero 57), Alonso (Benzema 75), Khedira, Ronaldo (Kaka 65), Ozil, Marcelo, Adebayor

BeeTeeSports Man of the Match: Marcelo (8/10)

Billy Taylor

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