>Tottenham nearly Baled out in Milan


The San Siro is a pretty formidable stadium for most football teams, but for Champions League debutants Tottenham it was all too much in a gut wrenching opening 35 minutes. It wasn’t even that Spurs played badly, they didn’t even have the chance to do that. After a minute and a half Javier Zanetti got on to a ball round the back of Alan Hutton and swept in Inter’s first. If Spurs thought that was the nightmare start, they were wrong. Minutes later puppet-master in chief Wesley Sneijder played a perfectly waited pass round the back of Tottenham’s defence. It tempted both winger Biabiany, and goalkeper Gomes. Only one winner. Gomes sent the winger flying and, even with full-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto in close proximity, had a very slim case, and was rightly sent off. Luka Modric was sacrificed for Carlo Cudicini, and the disaster was completed by the inevitable penalty conversion by Sameul Eto’o.

The spotlights on one of footballs biggest stages were proving far too bright for Tottenham. A great weaving Dejan Stankovic followed by a cool finish put the home side 3-0 up. Eto’o got in on the act in open play too, slotting the ball past Cudicini in typical fashion. In 35 minutes, Spurs had been given a lesson in Champions League football from the masters, the game was over before it had even started.

Except Gareth Bale didn’t quite see it that way. seven minutes into the second half he picked up the ball in his own half, after a fantastic tackle by Jermaine Jenas. He then proceeded to run 73 metres at full pelt, leaving three Inter defenders in his wake, before smashing the ball across Julio Cesar. He then proceeded to repeat the trick towards the end of the game, ending a similar run with an equally accomplished finish. Moments later it was Aaron Lennon’s turn to run at the now under pressure Inter defence before rolling it to Bale to smash in and claim his hat-trick. Had the game been five minutes longer, Spurs may well have made the one last chance to pull of the miracle comeback. However it wasn’t to be, and Bale felt a great sense of anti-climax saying “The result is what matters and it’s massively disappointing. We want to put that right next time.”

British teams Manchester United and Rangers were also in action last night. United saw off Bursaspor 1-0. Without Wayne Rooney, it was down to Nani to score the vital goal for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, and he did so after just seven minutes. United will be pleased to have got three points from the encounter, and to get their Champions League campaign going. Rangers got an impressive draw at home against Valencia in the group’s other game, a result that keeps them in second place behind United.

The story of the day though, was at the San Siro.


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