Spurs top Group A at Twente Enscheate!


Audere est facere
Jul 28, 2004
Thread starter #1
It is a sign of how far we've come that, after years of underachievement, the accomplishment of topping our difficult maiden Champions League group seemed almost underwhelming. Not meaning to sound ungrateful for the experience, I've loved every minute of it, but I'm sure I wasn't the only Spurs fan who thought to myself 'that wasn't so hard after all' at the final whistle. I don't mean just this match, this match was a 3-1 win in the clothes of a 3-3 draw thanks to some refereeing of the grandest ineptitude, but the entire group. Our three home victories made us look on another level to last season's winners, Holland's champions and a German side who have been Champions League furniture for several years now, while even away from home we never looked out of place, 45 Meazza minutes aside.

Truth be told, we didn't really put on the afterburners in this match, and but for the referee we would not have needed to. Gareth Bale, shackled by two markers at all times, still broke past them and to the byline on several occasions, albeit with a lack of end product on this occasion. Aaron Lennon on the other side was afforded more freedom by the Dutch defence, and that was to their peril as he toyed with them all night. Jermain Defoe seemed to have rediscovered his sharpness, and in the first half at least Roman Pavlyuchenko was involved an effective, linking well with Kranjcar on a few occasions.

Truth be told, it wasn't the greatest spectacle, especially not by Spurs high standards, but the quality was still there to see, and even if the Tottenham opener was the result of the veteran goalie Boschker missing the backpass in humiliating fashion, that is not to say it was undeserved. Barring one admittedly good Gomes save, the side from North London were providing the intent and adventure, and one could only chuckle when Twente were awarded a penalty for handball, such was the harsh nature of the decision. Twente had not appealed for a penalty, the ball struck Ekotto on the elbow rather than vice versa, but some referees like to be the star of the show. The penalty had to be retaken owing to Twente's encroachment, and Gomes couldn't keep out the weakly struck leveller.

The second half began as the first had ended. Spurs tried to carve out chances, Twente tried to kick Spurs players, the referee made odd decisions. There was nothing odd about the beautiful Spurs second though. Lennon cut in from the right and dribbled on the outskirts of the Twente area and, sizing to shoot, he threaded a perfect pass through the Twente defence for Defoe to latch onto and finish cooly. 2-1 Tottenham and this game was only heading in on direction, that is, until Spurs against contrived to let themselves down in defence. Corluka was nowhere near his man as the cross came in from the left, and Bassong was easily beaten in the air as Twente again levelled.

Spurs, perhaps knowing the favourable direction Inters match in Bremen had taken, eased off a little bit. Down to bare bones as it was, Jenas earlier departure meant that the impressive Kranjcar was marshalling the centre, a player who would have been tired having not played regularly lately. However, there was a final defensive mistake left in Twente, and Palacios capitalised, latching onto the loose ball and bursting into the Twente area. When he shot across goal, Boschker could do no better than direct the ball straight to dangerman Defoe, and the Spurs striker made no mistake in restoring the Tottenham lead. Unfortunately for Spurs, some referee's determination to stay in the spotlight is unending, and the final goal of the match came from a wonderful free kick awarded to Twente for absolutely no reason at all. If Fifa's recent award of the 2018 World Cup wasn't already evidence enough of a Anglophobia across world football, the way this Spanish match official conducted himself for 90 minutes rubber stamped that view.

Spurs will not mind this result, not at all. They have now won their group and will avoid other group winners accordingly. They will mind that Jenas was booked for being injured. They will mind that Kranjcar also injured himself. They will certainly mind the continuing defensive fragility displayed by their rearguard. However, one thing for sure is that this young, ever improving, exciting side have taking the Champions League by storm and will continue to do so, so spare a though for whichever European super power happens to draw them in the last 16.


North Stand behind Pat's goal.
May 21, 2004
Good report BBLG. My fear for the knockout round and, as it happens, our league form, is that the defence is a sieve.

Looking at the players forming the back four, it shouldn't be, and I believe we could own the tightest defence in the Premiership if we can get a partner for Gallas who is top notch.

Dawson may be that player but time will tell I guess, as we approach a busy season defining period of matches.