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San hero

Posted on 21 October 2010  - 12:00

Try as he might, Gareth Bale couldn't shift the overriding feeling of disappointment despite one of the great individual performances in our 4-3 defeat at Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

San hero

Try as he might, Gareth Bale couldn't shift the overriding feeling of disappointment despite one of the great individual performances in our 4-3 defeat at Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

The Welsh star walked off one of world football's biggest stages with the matchball tucked under his arm after a stunning hat-trick as we fought back from 4-0 down at half-time to leave the Italian giants wobbling at the final whistle.

Gareth struck three goals of precision and quality in the second half to stun the San Siro.

The first was the best in the 52nd minute. Picking up the ball fully 70 yards from goal, Gareth burst between Maicon, the Brazilian international widely regarded at the best right-back in the world and Javier Zanetti, Inter's outstanding captain and ran away from Zanetti before firing across Julio Cesar into the far corner.

The second goal in the final minute was a carbon-copy of the first as Gareth sped past Zanetti before driving home from the same acute angle again across Cesar into the corner.

Incredibly a minute later and into added time, he completed his hat-trick. This owed a lot to Aaron Lennon, who drove at the Inter defence centrally before laying off to Gareth who didn't take touch, but simply lashed the ball into the same corner to make it 4-3.

If only he had one more chance...

"Obviously it's great on a personal level, my first hat-trick and it's an amazing feeling," said Gareth afterwards.

"But at the end of the night it's just disappointing to be on the losing team.

"Everyone is disappointed and we're all convinced if we hadn't started as poorly as we did then we could have got something out of it."

Bale

So it's back to the start, and no matter how much pride was restored in the second half, the team was left to reflect on what Harry Redknapp described as a 'disastrous' first half where we were 1-0 down in a minute, 2-0 down and reduced to 10 men after 10, 3-0 down after 14 minutes and eventually 4-0 adrift at the break.

"We got off to a bad start and obviously it wasn't ideal to be 2-0 down and down to 10 men in the blink of an eye, then 3-0 down and 4-0 at half-time," added Gareth.

"We were happy to get into half-time, sit down, get organised and then we had nothing to lose, we went for it and gave a good account of ourselves.

"It wasn't a nice feeling at the start though. We all know how strong the European champions are in their back yard and we knew it would be a long and difficult night.

"The gaffer told us at half-time that we had nothing to lose and we needed to go out and express ourselves and I thought we did that in the second half.

"We kept the ball well, especially with 10 men. It was good to get that performance in the second half."

But the night belonged to Gareth.

What would he have said if we'd told him on Tuesday night that he would score a hat-trick at the San Siro?

"I would have laughed at you," he added. "To even score would be fantastic. It's great to get on the scoresheet and to get a hat-trick, my first, is even more special."