In terms of modern football, Tottenham Hotspurs were making their maiden appearance in the UEFA Champions’ League away to Werder Bremen. They were on it like pros, regardless of their thin and depleted squad due to injuries to gunman, Jermaine Defoe and shot stopper Gomes.
Spurs drove on top gear from the first whistle, switching channels intelligently from centre channel to right channel and then the left channel, flowing from the defensive zone to the attacking third accelerating through the preparation zone of the midfield third.
(Pic by REUTERS from Eurosport.)
The moment of futile concentration made Spurs pay dearly as they surrendered a 2 goal cushion.
The half-time came with Spurs having a 2-1 advantage courtesy of an own goal after Gareth Bale rode a few tackles before driving a conventional hard and low square cross that was turned in by defender Petri Pasanen and a Peter Crouch header, also from the left boot of Bale. Hugo Almeida faked an injury resulting in slowing down the pace and Spurs slumbered conceding a throw-in, from which the ensuing cross was headed home by Almeida, two minutes from the break .
Harry Redknapp‘s side came from the dressing room to a rude awakening, losing concentration again at the vital moment, Marin mesmerising Kaboul and Ledley King at will, and the two defenders failing to contain the Bremen attacks. They back-paddled every time resulting in the diminutive striker scoring a marvelous equalising goal. Spurs failed to win the second ball, abandoned their wing play, dropped their confidence levels and lost possession like they were broadcasting confetti at a wedding.King was exposed as a big liability, being a shade too slow.
Bremen grew in confidence, keeping the ball well, but the final ball was just a disaster. Harry introduced Palacios in place of Lennon to double anchor the midfield and neutralise Marin’s influence. The supply for the forwards ran dry for Spurs despite the introduction of Robbie Keane. Jenas supplied an inviting opportunity that Crouch sent begging at the second post with 10 minutes of play remaining.Crouch’s dink was agonisingly wide with a minute to go.
At the end of the day, it was a vital away point for the Londoners and with the lessons leant today, Spurs can only go further. In other less important matches, Manchester United fired blanks against lowly Rangers (0-0), Barcelona 5 Panathanaikos 1, Inter Milan 2 FC Twente 2, Lyon 1 Shalke 04 0, Barusper 0 Valencia 4, FC Coppenhagen 1 Rubin Kazan 0 and Benfica 2 Hapoel Tel-A-Viv 0.