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UEFA Europa League
8 March 2013
• White Hart Lane, London
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
• Attendance: 34353
G. Bale 6'
G. Sigurðsson 18'
J. Vertonghen 53'
Anyway, that'll be all from me, Sam Wells. Thanks for following tonight's action with me, be sure to catch up with post-match reaction on Goal.com. Thanks again and farewell until next time.
Inter, meanwhile, can take few, if any, positives from that game. Their performance at the back was shambolic at times, particularly at Vertonghen's goal, and their attacking performance was not much better - they barely managed to test Friedel, that Palacio chance aside. The only positive they can really take is that they limited a rampant Spurs side to three goals and they'll be hopeful that they can somehow overturn a three-goal deficit in the second leg, though, on tonight's performance, it appears unlikely.
Tottenham will be delighted with the way in which they conducted themselves over the course of that game; they absolutely controlled the match and made a, frankly abject, Inter side pay the price for their performance. They looked solid at the back and, aside from two spurned chances by the Italian side (from Alvarez and Palacio), they weren't really troubled. If they can reproduce anywhere near that kind of performance in Italy, they should have no problems with proceeding to the next round.
90' + 3'
And the referee calls an end to proceedings! Spurs have won 3-0 against an abject Inter Milan side.
90' + 2'
Zanetti comes forward well down the right, beating a couple of players before playing right to Jonathan. The winger is somehow caught yards offside, despite having a clear view of the line and that appears to be that.
Parker, who has been extremely impressive tonight, worms his way past several Inter defenders and feeds Bale, who, in turn, feeds Defoe. The striker is surrounded by defenders but still attempts to get the shot in, though it's blocked well by the Inter defence.
This Inter team look spent. They've been made to work by Spurs tonight and now they look devoid of any energy, never mind ideas, as they enter into the final couple of minutes.
Tottenham continue to stroke the ball around nicely, much to the home sides' evident delight. They appear to be killing off this game with consummate ease.
Cassano almost manages to ignite something for Inter as he whips a ball back-post, aiming for Guarin. The cross is just too strong though and it's behind for a goal-kick.
It's fair to say that the game is petering out somewhat - neither side appear to have much less to give; understandable for the home side, perhaps not so much with the away team.
Lennon, slightly worryingly for Spurs, appears to have picked up a knock. He comes off for Naughton; they'll be hoping that isn't serious as he has been a key part of Tottenham's success tonight.
After an unexpected marauding run from Gallas, the centre-back feeds substitute Holtby who, after a touch, strikes goalwards. The deflected effort is scooped up by Handanovic though and the three-goal deficit remains in tact.
Rapidly approaching the final ten minutes, Inter look increasingly unlikely to get anything from this tie. Tottenham continue to stroke the ball about, as the dismay of a dejected Inter team becomes palpable.
Yellow Card Á. Pereira
Pereira fouls Lennon once again, gifting Bale another opportunity to deliver it into the area. He forgoes the opportunity though, instead playing it short.
Bale seems to have incurred the wrath of the Inter defence here as, after a little bit of showboating down the left flank, he receives a shove from Zanetti for his troubles.
Inter almost managed to nick an away goal! Friedel comes to the rescue though as, after Palacio was put through by Cambiasso, he shot at the near post, only for the American to pull off a smart save with his feet, maintaining that extremely important clean sheet.
Yellow Card F. Guarín
Guarin is the next player to go into the book and, for the second time this game, it's for simulation. Guarin goes down under a challenge from Gallas and, perhaps correctly (once again), the referee books the Inter man.
Lennon almost managed to score a magical goal! After receiving the ball from the continuously impressive Parker, he nutmegged Chivu but couldn't dink the ball over Handanovic.
Tottenham continue to threaten as after Sigurdsson whipped another delightful ball into the box, Bale almost gets his head on it. Chivu cleared the ball but only so far as Defoe, who couldn't capitalise again.
After Inter finally get to enjoy a spell of possession, Tottenham spoil the party as, after Lennon dispossessed Zanetti, they launch a ridiculously speedy counter. It comes to nothing though as, after the winger fed Defoe, the striker takes too long on the ball and the chance goes begging.
Livermore replaces Dembele as the Tottenham support give the latter his dues after yet another impressive performance in a Spurs shirt.
Defoe goes oh-so-close to adding another to Spurs' tally! After Parker fed the striker, he managed to work an opening and struck it goalwards, Handanovic managed to avert it wide, albeit with a large slice of luck as he almost averts it into his own net.
Gareth Bale goes close to adding another goal to his, and Spurs', tally as, after a marauding run, he puts just wide of the Inter near post, though Handanovic seemed to have it covered.
Inter continue to have no answers to a Spurs side high on confidence; the home side are calm and measured when they have the ball, and hungry and harrying when they don't. An away goal could make all the difference going into the second leg, though it's difficult to see them scoring at this rate.
Lennon is fouled once more by Pereira as Bale prepares to whip another free-kick into the Inter box. There could be more goals in this one, probably via the home side.
Inter attempt to put an end to the misery Tottenham are subjecting them to with another substitution. Guarin comes on for Kovacic, who has had a disappointing night.
Assist Gareth Bale
Goal Jan Vertonghen
GOAL! Vertonghen converts the ensuing Bale corner with a ridiculous amount of ease! The Belgian, somehow unmarked, rises high and heads home the Welshman's delivery with aplomb, putting Inter in an even worse position in this first leg.
Lennon is causing Inter considerable problems down the right-wing in this second period as another one of his crosses is put out for a corner.
Inter show their first signs of life in this second period as Pereira comes forward down the left. Under pressure from Lennon, the left-back skews a shot wide of the far post. Better from the away side there.
And they almost capitalise! Bale caresses the ball to the far post and Vertonghen is somehow free. The Belgian misses the ball though - he really should have at least made contact there.
Tottenham have a free-kick in a dangerous position here as Bale looms over the ball on the right wing.
In spite of that substitution, Spurs have showed no signs of flagging as they almost work an opening early in the second half. Lennon cuts back to Sigurdsson but, after a heavy first touch, the midfielder is dispossessed and the chance goes begging.
Inter kick off the second half as Stramaccioni signals his intentions with an extremely attacking substitution - he's brought striker Rodrigo Palacio on for defender Juan Jesus.
Inter, meanwhile, must be wondering how they can come back from a first-half where, frankly, they have been outplayed. They appear to have little answer to the considerable threats of Bale and Defoe, in particular, while they have failed to retain possession for the majority of the half. That late miss by Alvarez, glaring though it was, could serve as a platform to build from in the second-half as they showed a little more in the last five minutes of the half. Stramaccioni will certainly be hoping so; Inter definitely need some kind of catalyst in this second period if they have any hope of remaining in this Europa League tie.
Tottenham will be delighted with that half; they controlled the half for the most-part and, aside from that late miss from Alvarez, they have completely nullified Inters' various threats. They have attacked adeptly as well, looking dangerous whenever Bale & co. decide to venture forward. The last five minutes, in which Inter managed to enjoy a rare spell of possession, can serve as a warning against complacency for this Spurs side though; they must remain on the ball in the second-half - a fact Villas-Boas must be well aware of.
45' + 1'
The referee blows the whistle and draws an end to what was an excellent half for the home side, in spite of a late scare, coming courtesy of Alvarez.
With the half-time break on the horizon, Inter begin to contribute a little more to proceedings. One minute added time is called.
Inter finally work an opening but Alvarez has wasted the opportunity! Cassano dropped deep before threading the midfielder through on goal, with the help of a deflection off Gallas. The midfielder skewed the shot wide of the far post though - that could be a big miss.
Tottenham earn a corner as, after Defoe played a nice ball out to Assou-Ekotto on the left wing, the left-back whips in an even nicer ball to the back post. No-one is there though and Pereira puts behind for a corner.
Inter finally almost offer something upfront as, after Cassano dropped deep, he attempted to threat a ball through to the advancing Kovacic. He slightly overcooks the ball though and Friedel claims.
Tottenham continue to control proceedings here as Sigurdsson tests Handanovic once more. After some nice play on the outskirts of the Inter area, the midfielder shoots from range but the goalkeeper manages to get down and claim the ball fairly easily.
Bale almost manages to get his second, with another header no less! After some lovely interplay through the middle from Spurs, the Welshman gets up again to head Defoe's neat cross goalwards, though it flies wide of the far post.
After Inter manage to string together a few passes, Gargano miscues a ball forward and it falls into Friedel's grateful arms. The American is unlikely to have a quieter opening half-hour anytime soon.
There's a coming together between Sigurdsson and Pereira - it seems to be a clash of shins. Cassano puts the ball but both players are up and ready to go within no time at all.
Inter are still struggling to get a grip on this game as they continue to give away innocuous free kicks and give up possession all too easily.
Inter put together their best move of the move (admittedly, not saying much) as, after Cassano smartly put Pereira through down the left wing, the winger crosses a dangerous ball in. Vertonghen clears though and Spurs remain two goals to the good.
Defoe seems, as always, eager to test Handanovic tonight as he almost manages to get another shot away. The effort is blocked by Chivu though as Spurs' pressure refuses to subside.
Vertonghen almost manages to extend their lead as, after a short corner is worked into a crossing position, Sigurdsson swung the ball back-post. The Belgian was there and looped a header goalwards, only to be denied by a mixture of Handanovic and the crossbar.
Tottenham win a corner as Sigurdsson, who has also enjoyed an impressive start, plays the ball against Zanetti to give his side another chance to extend their lead.
Nothing's really going the Nerazzurri's way out there as Sigurdsson dispossesses Alvarez after the Inter man broke down the right-wing. They look more than capable of dealing with anything the away side can throw at them tonight.
Parker is having an impressive couple of minutes as the midfield terrier is brought down by Kovacic after nicking the ball off the Inter man. He's been impressive in a side that, in all honesty, have been impressive as a whole tonight.
Tottenham almost work an opening once more as Parker marauds forward from his customary defensive role and feeds Defoe with a smart ball. The striker attempts to thread Lennon through but to no avail as the danger is averted.
It's difficult to envisage the away side coming back from this deficit; they've barely featured in the first twenty minutes and have shown practically nothing. Cassano goes down under a challenge from Gallas and stays down, much to the home supports' chagrin.
Goal Gylfi Sigurdsson
GOAL! Sigurdsson doubles Spurs lead as, after a Defoe shot was parried out by Handanovic, the midfielder was there to tap home. This is nothing less than the home side deserve in all honesty, Inter have been dismal.
Yellow Card Gareth Bale
Bale has been booked for a dive! The Welshman went flailing under pressure from Pereira and the referee, perhaps correctly, deemed it worthy of a yellow; a yellow that rules him out of the second leg.
Cassano, who has been extremely quiet thus far, tries to thread a ball through to Pereira but the pass is overhit as it runs through to Friedel in the Totttenham goal.
Bale shoots from distance as Spurs' early pressure here is relentless. The effort is fairly tame though and Handanovic claims with consummate ease. Inter haven't showed up as of yet.
Spurs continue to dominate the opening stages as Bale chips a nice ball into the channels for Defoe; the frontman goes down under pressure and claims a corner. No doing though and it's an Inter goal kick.
Defoe almost manages to double their lead just a couple of minutes later! The strike cuts inside well and stings the hands of Handanovic with a smart effort. Unlucky - could this be a sign of things to come for Inter?
Assist Gylfi Sigurdsson
Goal Gareth Bale
GOAL! Bale returns to haunt Inter with a thumping header! Sigurdsson whipped in an impressive cross and Bale out-jumps Cambiasso and heads home with aplomb. An excellent header and what they deserve after a strong opening five minutes.
Inter finally manage to retain the ball for a while, though their spell of possession is short-lived as Handanovic, aiming for Pereira, puts the ball out of play for a throw-in.
Inter have barely had a touch in the opening minutes, Spurs have controlled the first few minutes extremely adeptly, albeit with little end product to show for it.
Spurs are continuing to enjoy a strong early start as Walker breaks free down the right. His cross almost finds Bale but it just about eludes the Welshman and the danger is gone.
And Tottenham get us underway here, with the home side enjoying an extremely early spell of possession.
The teams are in the tunnel and primed for the beginning of the game; we're just minutes away from kick-off here at White Hart Lane.
Inter Milan, meanwhile, make a host of changes from the side that managed a 3-2 win against Catania on Sunday as Andrea Ranocchia, Esteban Cambiasso and Mateo Kovacic replace Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Fredy Guarin and Ezequiel Schelotto. However, perhaps the biggest team news of the night comes in the form of Antonio Cassano's return who, after being left out of the squad last Sunday following a dressing-room bust-up with manager Andrea Stramaccioni, starts upfront tonight, coming in for Tommaso Rocchi.
Andre Villas-Boas names a strong line-up as Spurs make just three changes from the side that won against Arsenal on Sunday, with Brad Friedel, William Gallas and Jermain Defoe coming in for Hugo Lloris, Michael Dawson and the injured Emmanuel Adebayor.
Inter: Handanovic; Zanetti, Ranocchia, Chivu, Jesus; Gargano, Cambiasso; Alvarez, Kovacic, Pereira; Cassano. Subs: Belec, Palacio, Guarin, Benassi, Pasa, Mbaye, Jonathan.
Tottenham: Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Parker, Dembele; Lennon, Bale, Sigurdsson; Defoe. Subs: Lloris, Holtby, Naughton, Dawson, Livermore, Caulker, Carroll.
And here come the team line-ups...
This should be an interesting contest as two teams enjoying considerably different form at the moment clash in the first leg of this Europa League knockout round. Tottenham come into this game off the back of an important 2-1 win over Arsenal and should be high on confidence after a twelve game unbeaten run; Inter, meanwhile, managed to narrowly escape defeat against lowly Catania on Sunday, where they required a second half comeback to overcome a two-goal deficit as they continue to push for a Champions League place in Serie A, despite some middling form of late. There is also the matter of Gareth Bale who, quite memorably, caused the Nerazzurri all kinds of problems a couple of years ago; who can forget his hat-trick at the San Siro? The away side here will be hoping that they can put matters right tonight but it won't be easy – this could be a cracker.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of today's Europa League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through today's proceedings.
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