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April 4, 2013
• White Hart Lane, London
Referee: M. Mažić
• Attendance: 32361
E. Adebayor 40'
G. Sigurðsson 58'
V. Stocker 30'
F. Frei 34'
So from me, it's goodnight. Hope you enjoyed the action as much as I did. Same time next week folks!
Either way, the reverse fixture will be an absolute treat for the neutral, and I'll be guiding you through that next week as well.
Personally, I feel the Spurs backline, Gallas in particular, had a really chastening night as they struggled to keep up with the tempo and pace of Basel's play.
A fearless display from a bright Basel outfit has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons somewhat, and this doesn't look like the foregone conclusion some had touted it as. Incisive play from the trio of Streller, Salah and Stocker throughout, who proved a real handful for the hosts.
And there goes the final whistle. A sobering night for Tottenham that, quite frankly, could have been a lot worse.
90' + 2'
For Spurs fans, at least. It does look quite bad in all seriousness though, he's got his head in his hands on the touchline and looks pretty distressed.
90' + 1'
Bale looks pretty hurt here after an innocuous collision with Degen. It seems like Degen's trailing leg caught the Welshman's foot and hyperextends his ankle. He's writhing around in pain at the moment and the stretcher's on the pitch. Worrying scenes here.
Basel knocking it around the middle of the park as the game plateaus.
Long ball from Naughton fails to find Sigurdsson, and it goes out for a Basel goal kick.
Play halted here as Gallas walks gingerly off the pitch through injury. Tottenham are going to have to play the last couple of minutes with ten men here since they've used all their subs.
Basel still on the front foot as a fatigued Tottenham almost seem content to sit back.
That'll be his last contribution, as Salah makes way for Degen. He's been great tonight.
Basel come close again, with Stocker again proving a handful to the Tottenham rearguard. He finds Salah, who blasts it wide.
But Basel almost hit them on the counter, with some slick interplay between Salah and El-Nenny freeing up the space for the former to try his luck on goal. But his shot is weak and dribbles to the feet of Friedel.
Tottenham beginning to see more of this now. Naughton lets another long-range effort fly but it ricochets clear of danger.
Gallas should have seen yellow for dragging down Zoua there, but the referee shows leniency and the Frenchman remains on the pitch.
Zoua spurns a gilt-edged chance there as Steinhofer bounds down the wing before playing the ball across the forward. He scuffs his effort, though, and the ball bounces impotently wide of the post.
A superb bit of entertainment as Salah goes head-to-head the Bale. Think he's probably the first man to make the Welshman huff and puff all season, and duly wins a throw-in for the visitors.
The tide seems to have turned in this half, as Basel continue to peg Spurs back. They've had the ball for the best part of five minutes now and hosts aren't getting a sniff of the play.
Stocker takes on a bit too much and runs its out for a Tottenham throw near the corner flag.
But Basel come straight back at Spurs, as Salah bounds down the right flank yet again. The eventual shot is skied over by Stocker though, and Tottenham are allowed to regroup.
Fantastic challenge from Dawson to deny Salah a clear run at goal. The Tottenham rearguard have been noticeably better since the big man's introduction.
All beginning to settle now, Basel have the ball deep in their own half.
G. Serey Die
Cabral comes on the for the combative Serey Die.
The ensuing corner comes to nothing, though.
Yellow CardScott Parker
Stocker comes close from a free kick, with his looping, curling effort headed straight into the top corner. But it's hang time allows Friedel to get across easily to palm over for a corner.
And that's the last we'll see of Holtby tonight, who has been pretty tidy all evening. He makes way for Clint Dempsey. Don't tread.
Tottenham come close again. Tight passing from Sigurdsson and Parker plays in Holtby, who drags his shot inches wide of the upright.
A rare moment of incompetence from Vertonghen there, who sells Dawson short with a pass, which is duly snapped up by the pacey Salah. The Basel winger, with Friedel to beat, blazes his effort offer the bar. Tottenham let off the hook there.
GOAL TOTTENHAM! And it's Gylfi Sigurdsson, who jinks in from the left touchline before launching an effort straight at Schar. It deflects off the helpless defender up and over the outstretched Sommer. A much needed stroke of fortune for Tottenham, but they're looking lively here. Now we have a tie!
And here comes the change, but it's not Gallas who makes way for Dawson, it's Assou-Ekotto. You'd expect that Vertonghen will shift out wide for Dawson to provide at least a modicum of stability in the heart of defense.
Tottenham beginning to rally now, even despite the minimal contribution from golden boy Bale.
Corner for Tottenham, won by Bale. The Welshman's effort is cleared well though, but only as far as Naughton, who lashes a swerving effort goalward to force a top-drawer save from Sommer. This lad can really strike one.
Michael Dawson warming on the touchlines. You'd expect him to come on for Gallas, who has been dreadful so far.
Stocker blasts one at the shins of Vertonghen from the fringes of the box, despite the screaming El-Nenny finding himself in acres of space in the right of the area. Had to play him in there - opportunity wasted.
Streller clears the Basel lines well, first with a header, then with a clearance.
Dembele finds Holtby on the right touchline and receives it back in the middle of the park. He plays it out wide to Sigurdsson, who wins a throw-in. It culminates in a corner though as Bale tests Dragovic at the byeline.
Salah is played in down the right flank but his low cross only manages to find Brad Friedel, who gathers comfortably.
Yellow CardFabian Frei
Lewis Holtby blazes a wayward effort into the stands to squander a good position in acres of space.
Basel looking dangerous from the off here and the Swiss faithful have erupted into jeers and boos as Sigurdsson's shirt-tug on Salah goes unpunished. Solid claim for a penalty there.
And Basel kick us off here for the second half.
Salah, Stocker and Streller have all been absolutely superb for Basel and it's imperative that Tottenham managed to quash the threat these three pose if they're to get anything out of this clash.
But surely the talking point of this half, aside from the awful showing put in by Willy Gallas, is Scott Parker's miss. I haven't seen such a weak effort since 'John O'Shea worse shot ever'. Check out the youtube vid for reference.
My oh my. An unreal half of football. I think it's safe to say we all thought this would be meat and drink for Tottenham after casting aside Lyon and Inter. But it's been anything like the jaunt we all expected. Basel have been crips, incisive and stoic. Spurs have been shambolic at the back, but their attacking corps are providing something in the way of comfort.
Dembele lets one fly straight at Sommer, with Sigurdsson completely wide open to his left. Chose the wrong option, and its still 2-1.
The game finally settling now with Tottenham in possession. But the hosts are finding it really gather any momentum in face of Basel's tight pressing game.
And it's Basel immediately testing Friedel at the other end. The superb Salah looks to find the bottom corner but its gathered well by Friedel.
Oh my god. Scott Parker misses a gaping open goal. White Hart Lane stunned into silence. A superb ball from Sigurdsson slices through the Basel rearguard and finds the on-running Holtby, who prods it past Sommer. Parker clears up the scraps just yards out but somehow steers it wide of goal. A golden opportunity squandered. Unbelievable.
GOAL TOTTENHAM! And its the big man from Togo who gets the Spurs boys back in it. Bale starts off the attack, rasping a shot onto the back of Lewis Holtby. The ball ricochets into the six-yard box and is collected by Parker who swings a left peg at it. His effort stings the gloves of Sommer, but the keeper can only parry it directly into the path of the lurking Adebayor, who fires it home from close range.
Bale looks to get his team back into it as he launches a cross from wide, but his effort is deflected up and over the defense and into the arms of Sommer. Story of this match so far; Tottenham lacking incisiveness at the front and leaking goals from the shambolic rearguard.
And it's inches away from a third for Basel as Stocker wriggles free of the Spurs backline before chipping it up and over the outstretched Friedel. But his effort bounces agonisingly wide of the post.
Static defending from Spurs and a poor effort from Friedel who got nowhere near the headed effort.
GOAL BASEL! And its scorer turned provider for Stocker as his corner finds the head of the unmarked Frei at the back post after a neat flick on from Streller. The visitors really moving through the gears here and Tottenham will need to rally well to get back in this.
GOAL BASEL. That was certainly not in the script. Some neat interplay between Stocker and Salah frees up Strellar at the back post. His low effort has Freidel beat but rattles off the upright, but the ball falls to the feet of Valentin Stocker, who duly pounds the ball into the open net. Fantastic piece of break-away play.
Yellow CardWilliam Gallas
Gallas earns a yellow for a foul on Streller close the half-way line. Really struggling with the height and stubbornness of the Basel giant.
A pacey run from Salah through the heart of the Tottenham midfield forces a foul from Vertonghen from 40 yards out. Schar takes it, but his effort dribbles hopelessly wide. Awful effort.
A low rasping drive from Kyle Naughton looks bound to nestle into the bottom corner, but the outstretched leg of Dragovic denies the right-back a certain goal.
Streller combining well with Salah down the centre of the park, but its gathered up nicely by the Assou-Ekotto. The big striker looking quite the handful for the Tottenham centre-backs.
Slack pass from Assou-Ekotto gifts the ball to Basel, but their attack is thwarted when the towering Streller is flagged for offside.
Sigurdsson warming up on the bench, who looks likely to come on for Lennon, who has been clutching at his knee for the last five minutes or so.
Tottenham seem to have shrugged off Basel's early forays forward as they set up camp in the visitors half. Excellent link-up play all round.
Loose ball from Kyle Naughton allows Basel to regroup, but Tottenham still hold possession.
Holtby looking threatening down the right flank and claims a deep throw in for Tottenham. Assou-Ekotto links up well with Adebayor, who redirects to Holby, before Bale's low drive is saved after a need pass from the young German.
But it comes to nothing. Bale hits in low and firm towards the bottom corner, but it deflected of the shins of a Basel defender into the grateful arms of Sommer. Poor effort.
Spurs moving up the pitch now as a clever one-to between Dembele and Parker culminates in a dangerous free-kick for the hosts. Dembele puts in an exceptional turn and Voser can only scythe him down to prevent a clear shot on goal. Bale to take. 20 yards out.
Tottenham slowing down the tempo now to sap the Basel momentum. Parker and Dembele playing it in and around the back line as Spurs take a firm grip of possession.
Hesitant from the Tottenham rearguard, as both Gallas and Vertonghen are almost caught out labouring on the ball. The early forays forward from the visitors seems to have wracked the Spurs nerves' somewhat, for sure.
Streller is again involved as a simple cut-back from Schar frees the big man, lets one rip straight at Friedel. They're safe for now, Tottenham, but Basel are really bringing the fight to them.
Good chance from Basel there and some nervy defending from Spurs. Salah darts forward to get on the end of some robust hold-up play from Streller. He lets one fly at Freidel but its parried away by the American.
A wayward cross-field ball from Parker fails to find Assou-Ekotto, and it's Basel's throw in mid way into the Tottenham half.
It amounts to nothing though, as Basel now launch an attack of their own. A good looping flick on over the top from Streller almost finds Frei, but Vertonghen manages to claim the ball. Excellent defending.
Spurs with all the ball here and have a throw in deep into Basel's half.
Bale provides an early test for Frei as he gallops down the wing, but the right back is equal to it and calmy clears his lines.
Good old Willy looks pretty winded from that one. He's having to take a moment on the sidelines as play resumes.
Gallas caught hard by Serey Die and Tottenham have a free kick near the half way line.
Struggling to find anything to say about the game so far other than my amazement at Assou-Ekotto's hair. The afro has the reach of about a foot and you'd need shears and years of patience to craft that. Nothing to report so far, both teams failing to get a foothold in the game.
And we're underway here at the Lane
Pretty much a packed house at the Lane tonight as Scott Parker and Marco Streller lead the teams out.
Basel will be forced to play without Park Joo Ho, Phillipp Degen and Marcelo Diaz, who miss out through suspension, while Cabral can only make the bench.
Three changes from the team that beat Swansea at the weekend, with Lewis Holtby, William Gallas, and Benoit Assou-Ekotto all coming in.
The hero on that day, Xherdan Shaqiri, has moved on to pastures new at Bayern Munich. The new glittering star for Basel is highly rated youngster Aleksandar Dragovic, who will be square up against Adebayor at the heart of the Basel rearguard.
Basel reportedly in full voice in the away end. It's an enormous occasion for the reigning Swiss champions, who provided the final nail in the coffin for Manchester United as they took an unexpected exit from the Champions League group stages last year.
Relief for Spurs fans everywhere as Hugo Lloris, who was rumoured to be OUT FOR THE SEASON, takes his place on the Tottenham bench. Spurs have a more than capable deputy in Brad Friedel, who turns 42 next month.
Villas-Boas fields a strong team as Bale, Vertonghen and Lennon all start. Certainly not underestimating the opposition tonight - a team that felled Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg 2-1 on aggregate in the round of 16.
BASEL TEAM: Sommer; Steinhofer, Schar, Dragovic, Voser; El-Nenny, Die, Salah, Fabian Frei; Stocker, Streller. Subs: Vailati, Ajeti, David Degen, Alexander Frei, Cabral, Sauro, Zoua.
TOTTENHAM TEAM: Friedel; Naughton, Gallas, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Dembele, Parker; Lennon, Bale, Holtby; Adebayor. Subs: Lloris, Dempsey, Huddlestone, Dawson, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Caulker.
Evening all. I'm Alex Ward and I'll be guiding you through the action tonight as Tottenham host Basel in their Europa League quarter-final tie. What a treat.
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