MATCH REPORT: SPURS 2, BLACKPOOL 0
The Juande Ramos era was ushered in with a 2-0 win over Blackpool that sees us through to the quarter-final stage of the Carling Cup.
The Juande Ramos era was ushered in with a 2-0 win over Blackpool that sees us through to the quarter-final stage of the Carling Cup.Goals from Robbie Keane and Pascal Chimbonda settled what was an entertaining encounter at the Lane in front of a welcome committee of 32,196 on a cold Wednesday night.
The visitors showed early on that they were not here to simply put down the greetings mat for our new Head Coach and, in an open start to the tie, the men in tangerine were actually the more threatening.
Keigan Parker was steered away from goal by Younes Kaboul in the early stages and the resulting corner caused some alarm to Paul Robinson, restored in goal after injury, while the same player later found himself through clear to the right of the area and shot into the side netting.
Aaron Lennon was beginning to terrorise though, with the class of Berbatov telling and the running of Jermaine Jenas stretching. Ramos remained a calm, yet expressive figure on the touchline and even Gus Poyet was managing to stay seated.
With 17 minutes gone, the Berbatov-Keane combo delivered again, with the Bulgarian applying a helping header to a Robinson clearance that enabled Keane to steal in front of his marker and dink the ball over the advancing Paul Rachubka and into the net. Keane now holds the distinction of netting the first goal of the Ramos reign.
Just under three years ago, Robbie scored the opener in Martin Jol's first game in official charge in this competition up at Burnley having, the year before, scored the second goal of the night at Coventry in David Pleat's first contest in caretaker charge - also in the League Cup.
The pressure was cranked up, but it stayed a single goal advantage at the break as Blackpool withstood a mini onslaught. They nearly hit back straight after the interval when a cross from Parker was attacked with venom at the far post by the head of Gary Taylor Fletcher. His bullet header rocked the crossbar but the orange order began to really believe in themselves.
However, it should have been two when a Kaboul interchange with Berbatov unlocked a path to goal for Keane. Again he went for the dink, but this time it bounced just wide.
Robinson then made a brilliant reaction save to deny Taylor Fletcher a leveller when the midfielder connected with a cross from Parker. It was Robbo at his best.
Kaboul made way for Teemu Tainio ten minutes into the half and the lead was quickly doubled. A deep Steed Malbranque corner was attacked at the far post by Pascal Chimbonda and the full-back powerfully headed his second goal of the season past Rachubka. Since the introduction of the Finn, the Frenchman operated in central defence alongside Michael Dawson.
Keane then took his leave to huge applause to allow Jermain Defoe into the action and he quickly had Rachubka on the stretch with a piledriver from 20-odd yards. Darren Bent for Berbatov was the final change.
Defoe was denied by a brilliant reflex save from Rachubka in the last five minutes and 2-0 it ended up - with a pleasing first clean sheet since the 2-0 defeat of Middlesbrough in the last round. Our quarter-final opponents will be known when the draw takes place on Saturday.