Twente (H) Ten man Spurs thrill in Europe


Audere est facere
Jul 28, 2004
Thread starter #1
Spurs fans will lament the fact that they've spent so long outside of Europe's premier competition, but on this evidence, they should not be alone . If ever there was a side made for thrilling European nights, it is Tottenham Hotspur. The stadium, atmospheric and electric once full (a fire alarm meant that half of the North stand remained empty for the opening few minutes of the match), was served up a match fittingly entertaining, a match filled with goals, drama, superb football and contraversy by the bucketload. With four exhilarating games played in this seasons competition, Spurs have already notched up twelve goals and provided some mouth watering moments; any neutral should hope for their league form to pick up sufficiently that they might appear one this stage again next season.

Determined to bounce back from recent disappointments, Spurs signalled their intent early on with the superb Gareth Bale volleying Van der Vaart's clever release into the area, only for Crouch to react slower than goalkeeper Mihaylov. Up at the other end, Twente saw Ladzaat's strike blocked by Bassong. The game was open and the match would continue in this fashion, both sides fashioning chances. Bale continued to probe but it was Hutton and Huddlestone who combined to produce Spurs next real chance, from which Pavlyuchenko dragged his shot wide.

Soon after, Gomes had his closest shave of the match when faced one on one with Ruiz after a mix up between Van der Vaart and Huddlestone, but the returning Brazilian goalkeeper was more than up to the challenge and palmed the ensuing shot away brilliantly. Following this, Spurs really began to dominate, Bale continuing to put the crosses in, and the Spurs strikers continuing to be beaten to them by Twente's goalie and defence, while Van der Vaart's right foot shot was saved in style by Twente's Bulgarian shot stopper. Further warning of the Dutchman's potential to unlock the stalemate was provided when he took a knockdown from Crouch with his back for goal and volleyed a crisp but straight shot into the arms Mihaylov.

Spurs thought they had reward for their dominance in the 38th minute when awarded a clear penalty after Crouch was manhandled to the ground by Wisgerhof. What ensued was farcical though, with Mihaylov refusing to take his place between the sticks until into the fortieth minute, earning himself a caution. It seemed to work though, as Van der Vaart's penalty, though placed just inside the post, was not well hit or disguised, leaving Twente's number 1 to make a good save. One might question, however, why the penalty was not retaken when the goalkeeper had strayed so far off his line, and several of the Dutch defence encroached the area as the kick was taken. Frustration seemed to get the better of the Spurs playmaker, as he was booked soon after for a robust challenge, though how the referee knew to book him is questionable when he wasn't facing the incident. Kuipers exaggerated rolling might well have played a part.

The fantastic Dutchman was involved again as the half drew to the close, latching on to Ekotto's long pass with some style and hitting a stinging volley which was well saved by Mihaylov. An action packed first half was brought to an end by the referee, and one wondered if, regardless of goals, the second half would provide the same entertainment value. That question was answered within a minute of the restart.

Spurs went straight on the attack in the second half, and when Huddlestone played the ball up to Crouch, his knock down was taken on the chest by Van der Vaart, who more than made up for his penalty miss with a pirouette and volley that flew into the net and gave Spurs a deserved lead.

Just minutes had passed when Spurs went on the rampage again, this time Gareth Bale set free in the Twente area. Scythed down, Spurs had another blatant penalty and one had to wonder how the offending defender escaped without caution, just as Wisgerhof had in the first half. New penalty taker Pavlyuchenko, poor until now it must be said, sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with a powerful penalty and gave Spurs a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Twente responded well and began to keep the ball and put some pressure on the Spurs backline, and when Spurs failed to clear a free kick in the 55th minute, substitute Chadlie halved the deficit amidst the confusion. The signs were there for a comeback similar to that of Werder Bremen in Spurs opening game, with the North Londoners beginning to struggle and Twente piling on the pressure. Then, with half an hour to go, Van der Vaart seemingly undid all his earlier good work with a moment of madness. Already booked, a player of his experience and class shouldn't rashly challenge an opponent in mid air at full speed, but that's just what he did and he received his second yellow card as a result. He'll certainly be missed in Milan.

Just when it seemed that Twente had their route back into the match mapped out for them, there was another twist in the tale. Pavlyuchenko, improved since his goal, picked the ball up outside the Twente area and unleashed a fierce drive. Kuiper jumped to block the ball, and struck it with his lifted elbow. There might not have been intention, but it was a silly mistake when he could have kept his arms down and let the ball hit him directly, so for all the cries of poor refereeing in this isntance, Kuiper will know deep down that it was his fault. The penalty was again taken by Spurs Russian marksman, and he cheekily chipped to the side of a leaden footed Mihaylov, cool as anything and restoring Spurs to a comfortable two goal lead.

Twente didn't give up, and for a while they put pressure on ten man Spurs, but a combination of calm defending and a commanding goalkeeper meant that the Dutch champions never really fashioned anything beyond half chances, and after freshening things up with the introduction of Keane, Jenas and Lennon, Spurs again took control and kept possession well. Twente's heads dropped, and in the 84th minute a lazy header from Douglas ended up at the feet of the Gareth Bale. Twente now became the latest side to find out how dangerous it is to allow this boy any possession, as the Welsh winger raced into their area and slotted home Spurs 4th goal with all the composure of a seasoned centre forward, capping off his own great performance.

Some might argue that Spurs were fortunate today, after all, they had fewer goal attempts, were awarded three penalties and could have been a man down far earlier had the referee interpreted Huddlestones shrugging off of his assailant as something more sinister, but not me. I think Spurs deserved both the win and the margin by which they won. While Twente were concentrating more on trying to wind up their opponents, as well as the referee, Spurs were playing, fast, attractive football and could have won the game by half time with some fortune and livelier strikers. European nights have well and truly returned to White Hart Lane, and long may they stay there as Spurs again establish themselves as one of Europe's great entertainers.

BBLG's Spurs man of the Match: Tom Huddlestone, and not just because Van der Vaart was sent off. He overcame a slow start to defend superbly, make many blocks and hit some wonderful passes.

BBLG's moment of the Match: Has to be a sublime opener from Rafael Van der Vaart, a simply brilliant goal.


Well-Known Member
May 19, 2006
great article, good shout on the Hudd as second half his passing was out of this world. As for Twente, it was like watching 11 Arjen Robben's.....fall over, run to ref, complain...repeat for 90 mins. Great support from their fans but players were an absolute disgrace.


Well-Known Member
May 7, 2005
great article, . As for Twente, it was like watching 11 Arjen Robben's.....fall over, run to ref, complain...repeat for 90 mins. Great support from their fans but players were an absolute disgrace.
Yes , I noticed that . I thought it was a booking if you touch the ref . I remember Zoko having a quiet , seemingly amicable conversation with a ref and just touched him, almost affectionately on the arm and...PEEP he was instantly booked .

If ref mobbing is now tolerated then I'm afraid in order to keep the playing field level , we are going to have to do it because there will be an advantage over time to ref mobbers .


Well-Known Member
May 12, 2005
Excellent article BBLG, very inspiring reading and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2008
A fact that avoided Smith on the Sky commentary.
It was odd that we looked better with 10 and without VDV who I thought was our best player up until the sending off.


Well-Known Member
May 15, 2004
A fact that avoided Smith on the Sky commentary.
It was odd that we looked better with 10 and without VDV who I thought was our best player up until the sending off.
I think currently VDV is having something of an Asprilla/Newcastle effect on us.

While great in himself he has changed the balance and focus of the team.

It will take some time to find the best formation to suit him and our other talented players and for them all to gel together (dare I say for him to realise he is not a one man team too)

It may take some time to bed in but I am sure the long term effect will be fantastic once we get everyone flowing and expressing themselves as well as becoming a cohesive team unit.

Imagine Bale/Lennon/Modric/VDV all firing at their best at the same time.