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Spurs see off Twente in thriller
29 Sep 2010 - 21:54:48
Tottenham Hotspur secured their first ever Champions League win with an impressive 4-1 Group A victory over FC Twente at White Hart Lane.
The game was full of controversy as the hosts were awarded three penalties while Rafael van der Vaart was given his marching orders for two bookable offences.
Twente settled well and Brazilian defender Douglas was unfortunate not to get his boot on the end of Theo Janssen's sumptuous inswinging free-kick. Star striker Bryan Ruiz then sliced horribly wide when well-placed inside the penalty area.
At the other end, Roman Pavlyuchenko fired wide after collecting Tom Huddlestone's knock-down before the visitors missed a golden opportunity when Ruiz was played through on goal.
He had the beating of Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Ledley King, but his deft chip was palmed away by Heurelho Gomes, much to the relief of the home fans.
Van der Vaart and Gareth Bale were the focal points of all Spurs' early attacks as the duo peppered Twente's area with a number of telling crosses, but the Dutch champions held firm under the aerial barrage.
Van der Vaart's right wing free-kick was almost nodded home by Peter Crouch before Marc Janko screwed a difficult chance wide.
The game burst into life when Spurs were awarded a penalty after Peter Wisgerhof wrestled with Crouch. Although it appeared to be a 50-50 tussle, Norwegian referee Terje Hauge was unmoved as he pointed to the spot.
Goalkeeper Nikolaj Mihajlov was cautioned for his protestations, but he proved to be the hero of the hour as he tipped van der Vaart's spot-kick onto the post and away for a corner.
Moments later, a frustrated van der Vaart entered Hauge's notebook for a scything challenge on Nicky Kuiper.
Twente were buoyed by the penalty miss and Ruiz and Janssen combined to win a corner, but the set-piece was expertly humped upfield by Assou-Ekotto, sending van der Vaart in the clear.
The Dutchman steadied himself before unleashing a dipping volley goalwards that Mihajlov expertly tipped over the bar.
All Twente's hard work was undone within five minutes of the restart though as Spurs grabbed two quick goals. Firstly, van der Vaart volleyed home Crouch's nod down into the far corner and, after Roberto Rosales had brought down Bale, Pavlyuchenko slotted home from 12 yards.
However, Twente reduced the deficit soon after when substitute Nacer Chadli stabbed home from close range following a scramble in Spurs' box.
Van der Vaart's incredible evening came to an end on the hour when he collided with Rosales, picking up his second yellow card and reducing Spurs to ten men.
But the hosts restored their two-goal cushion with another contentious spot-kick. Pavlyuchenko's effort from distance struck an arm and the Russian provided the finish himself with some aplomb as Mihajlov stood static on his line.
The visitors huffed and puffed as they sought a way back into the clash, but Spurs could have extended their lead when Luka Modric was threaded through on goal by Pavlyuchenko, but Douglas made a last-ditch tackle to deny the Croatian.
Young Twente substitute Luke de Jong had the chance to set up a grandstand finish when he pulled a high ball out of the air superbly but, with a calm head required, he made a hash of his half-volley from eight yards and Spurs went on to rub salt in their already gaping wounds.
A hopeful ball forward wasn't dealt with by Douglas and the alert Bale skipped through to slot inside Mihajlov's near post to cap a wonderful Spurs performance.