MATCH REPORT: SPURS 3, AALBORG 2
It didn't quite go according to the preferred script, but a second win of the UEFA Cup Group Stage was recorded by beating Aalborg 3-2 on Thursday night.
It didn't quite go according to the preferred script, but a second win of the UEFA Cup Group Stage was recorded by beating Aalborg 3-2 on Thursday night.It really wasn't going to plan at half-time when the team trooped in two goals down and a little shell-shocked before a couple of changes at the break galvanised affairs and we were back level six minutes into the second period.
The party was then over for Aalborg and their vocal band of followers.
There was one change to the side that began proceedings at West Ham on Sunday - Lee Young-Pyo drafted in for the injured Younes Kaboul, with Pascal Chimbonda making the switch to central defence.
With under two minutes on the clock a tale of the unexpected unfolded when Thomas Enevoldsen scambered forward towards the 18 yard line and then tried his luck from outside the area and the flight of his shot beat Paul Robinson and 1,300 Danes started an unlikely celebration.
Their side responded by maintaining the momentum and zipping the ball about with considerable conviction. It wasn't until the 14th minute and a brilliant darting run from Jermaine Jenas that a threat from our attacking sorties emerged.
Aalborg claimed a penalty midway through the half when Rade Prica went down in a tumble with Lee, but the claim was dubious and replays showed the forward to be offside anyway.
Pressure was being applied in the direction of the Park Lane end, but goalkeeper Karim Zaza was not being tested as moves broke down at the final ball.
Punishment for this was dished out in the 37th minute when a low cross cum shot from Prica was bundled into the back of the net by Kasper Risgard, despite the attentions of two defenders. It was time to regroup and make a battle of this tie.
Jenas was just beaten to the ball by Zaza after being cleverly set through on goal by Robbie Keane before a Gareth Bale free-kick caused a degree of panic in the visiting defences.
Juande Ramos reacted to the deficit at half-time by replacing Jenas with Tom Huddlestone and Lee with Darren Bent. The change paid almost instant dividends when a low Huddlestone ball literally dissected the defence, allowing Berbatov to steer past Zaza and half the Aalborg advantage.
Huddlestone set the ball rolling again in the 51st minute when he picked out Lennon who in turn sent Berbatov gliding away down the right flank. Berbatov centred and Bent was denied by a brave block from Zaza, with the ball running loose and for Keane to tee up Steed Malbranque to drive high into the net to make it level pegging.
A cranking up of the pressure followed with no further reward before Enevoldsen wa about a foot away from netting a second from a similar distance as his first just after the hour mark.
On 66 minutes the lead taken after a Bale free-kick was parried away by Zaza and Lennon was quickest to react by drilling back across goal. Bent was on hand to tap home at the far post and from two goals down, an advantage was created.
A fourth was sought in front of a gate of 29,758, with varying degrees of closeness, the best being Lennon's that forced a superb stop from Zaza in injury time, then Malbranque scooping wide at the death - until the whistle sounded on a night of contrasts. Something along the lines of that old saying about two halves...