Tottenham’s debut season in the Champions League came to a disappointing 5-0 aggregate exit at the hands of Real Madrid this evening.
Harry Redknapp’s side can take pride in their overall performance this season that included a victory over defending champions Inter Milan, and a second round victory over AC Milan as they went on to win their group.
Real Madrid, with a talent pool that included World Cup winners Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, and for the first leg, Angel Di Maria. Need I mention any more? Ok then. They were able to bring Karim Benzema and Kaka off the bench this evening. Those two alone costing the Spanish club nearly £100,000,000 combined.
It wasn’t Tottenham’s inexperience that cost them. Unfortunately for Tottenham they came into their first leg unprepared. Aaron Lennon’s illness moments before they stepped onto the pitch at the Bernabeu threw Spurs off course and ultimately out of the competition.
Tottenham were preparing to line up Gareth Bale on the left, Lennon on the right with Sandro, Luka Modric in the middle and Rafael van der Vaart playing off Peter Crouch. What they actually went out with was Luka Modrid out on the left, Gareth Bale on the right, Sandro and Jermaine Jenas in the middle. These players were unprepared for their positions and it showed in the first leg. Gareth Bale was frustrated and ineffective on his weaker side, Luka Modric wasn’t as influential and van der Vaart was even subbed off at half time.
Tottenham were on the back foot and generally all over the place from kick off in the first leg and Real Madrid made them pay when ex-Gooner Emmanuel Adebayor headed his side infront within 5 minutes. Gomes and Luka Modric both failing to prevent the opening goal.
Two needless challenges from Peter Crouch earned him two yellow cards and then the red after just 15 minutes of quarter final action. Something you may have expected from a petulant Wayne Rooney but certainly not Crouchy. The first leg was over at this point and 75 minutes later so would the tie be. The Englishman at fault this time.
Adebayor headed in a second before Angel Di Maria smashed in a third after a lack of closing down on the edge of the area. Regardless of Harry Redknapp’s hopeful, and Jose Mourinho’s lack of arrogance in their post-match interviews, the tie was done and dusted when Cristiano Ronaldo’s low volley found its way past Gomes to make it 4-0.
Tottenham came out fighting at White Hart Lane this evening. They had 3 penalty appeals turned down in the first half alone, as well as a goal disallowed for a narrow offside. In truth, Tottenham didn’t cause too many threats to Iker Casillas’ goal. The Spaniard saved well/got in the way of a Jermain Defoe downward header late on.
That was after Cristiano Ronaldo had given Real Madrid the lead on the night with a hopeful 25 yard effort down the throat of Gomes that the Brazilian managed to inexplicably fumble into his own net, compounding Tottenham to a heavy defeat. The Brazilian at fault for both Ronaldo’s goals in this tie.
Real Madrid go on to face Barcelona, who came through their tie with Shakhtar Donetsk as 6-1 winners, while Manchester United, 3-1 victors over Chelsea face the leading goalscorers in this round, Schalke 04, who eliminated defending champions Inter Milan 7-3 on aggregate.