MATCH REPORT: SPURS 2, BORO 0
Gareth Bale and Tom Huddlestone scored the second half goals that secured a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough in the third round of the Carling Cup at the Lane on Wednesday night.
Gareth Bale and Tom Huddlestone scored the second half goals that secured a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough in the third round of the Carling Cup at the Lane on Wednesday night.It was domination without reward in the first half and the frustration continued into the second period until Bale broke the deadlock with a speedy break and slick finish. A perhaps rare Huddlestone header settled the encounter a few minutes later.
There was an early flurry of acton as a result of a Chris Riggott foul on Jermain Defoe around 20 yards out. Bale struck the free-kick into the wall, but the full-back seized upon the rebound and fizzed just wide via a slight deflection. From the corner Michael Dawson was causing mayhem but lines were eventually cleared.
At the other end Fabio Rochemback thumped in an effort that bounced just in front of Paul Robinson and the England No.1's reactions proved to be in fine working order. On eight minutes Defoe cleverly put Jermaine Jenas in the clear but, after speeding onto the invitation, the midfielder suffered a miscue in front of goal and the chance went begging.
Teemu Tainio then extended a similar invitation to Defoe after a barnstorming run from midfield and this time it was the quickly advanced Brad Jones in the Boro goal denying an opener with a brave block. A deep free-kick from Tom Huddlestone was then flicked just wide of the upright by the head of Dawson.
A thrilling run from Bale that left his marker trailing in his wake enlivened proceedings again in the 19th minute, only for his charge to be knocked off course just as he was entering shooting mode.
The flow and tempo of of the encounter was being completely dominated by the team in all white and the lead was nearly taken again when a Bale free-kick landed between Dawson and Jones, with the goalkeeper doing just enough on this occasion. Tainio really should have scored just before the half hour mark when a perfectly measured cross from Defoe stood up awaiting execution, but was headed rather tamely into the hands of Jones.
That miss aside, Tainio was probably one of the most effective players on the pitch in the first half, demonstrating his usual snap in the tackle along with some imaginative distribution.
Another effort on goal from the Finn, that was charged down, led to the ball falling kindly for Defoe to nod over Jones in front of goal and it was only the cross bar that prevented him from adding to the two he opened his account with against Famagusta last week.
It could have gone against us at the other end when Riggott took advantage of some confusion following a free-kick just before half-time, with the central defender thankfully hooking over the bar.
How the score remained level at the break was something of a mystery.
The start of the second was lively without quite the rate of chances we witnessed in the first. A Bale free-kick caused some alarm when Jones spilt it and Defoe nearly played predator then there really should have been a penalty on the hour when David Wheater chopped down Aaron Lennon inside the area. Referee Mr Stroud saw differently.
A Pascal Chimbonda cross next found Defoe at the back post and the little hitman thrust his head forward and connected with the ball and forced a flying and very good save out of Jones.
Martin made a double change after 69 minutes, with Defoe and Jenas making way for Robbie Keane and Didier Zokora
The change worked a treat and on 71 minutes superb vision from Keane set Bale scampering away down the left channel, the 18-year-old proceeding to round Jones and slot home from a tight angle for his third goal in our colours.
Three minutes later it was two when Lennon left Rochemback in his wake chasing down Paul Robinson's pinpoint clearance before weighting a superb cross that was met and headed beyond Jones by Tom Huddlestone.
It was essentially job done, mission accomplished from that point and we can now look forward to the draw for round four on Saturday.