Thu, Dec 09, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Redknapp salutes Spurs for sealing Group A lead

AFP, ENSCHEDE, NETHERLANDS

FC Twente’s Danny Landzaat vies with Tottenham Hotspur’s Roman Pavlyuchenko during the UEFA Champions League soccer match in Enschede on Tuesday.

PHOTO: AFP

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp saluted his free-scoring Spurs side after they sealed top spot in their Champions League group with a 3-3 draw against Dutch side FC Twente.

Tottenham wrapped up a superb start to their maiden Champions League campaign to claim a share of the points against Twente, which saw them finish top of Group A.

Redknapp said he believed Tottenham had prevailed despite being drawn in a tough group.

An entertaining contest against the Dutch champions saw Spurs take the lead three times thanks to a Peter Wisgerhof own goal and two second-half strikes from England international Jermain Defoe.

Twente secured a share of the points thanks to goals from Denny Landzaat, Roberto Rosales and Nacer Chadli.

Tottenham took the lead on 12 minutes courtesy of a howler from Twente’s long-serving goalkeeper Sander Boschker, making his Champions League debut for the club in his 21st season.

There appeared to be little danger when defender Wisgerhof rolled a gentle backpass to Boschker, but Twente were left stunned as the 40-year-old ’keeper air-kicked at his clearance, watching in horror as the ball trickled into an empty net.

Twente did not have to wait long to make amends, however, even if their equalizer arrived thanks to a harsh penalty awarded against Spurs defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto, adjudged to have handballed Rosales’ shot.

Landzaat stepped up to drive a low penalty past Heurelho Gomes, but was forced to re-take the spot-kick after Twente players encroached in the area.

Landzaat made no mistake with his second attempt, rifling low and hard down the middle. Gomes got his legs to the spotkick but to no avail.

Spurs regained the lead shortly after half-time, when a reverse pass from Aaron Lennon picked out an unmarked Defoe, who calmly tucked his low shot past the hapless Boschker on 47 minutes.

Yet Twente, playing with the freedom of a side with nothing to play for, were back on level terms within nine minutes, Rosales powering in a superb header after a delicate cross from Theo Janssen.

Spurs took the lead for the third time four minutes later, when Wilson Palacios dispossessed Janssen and saw his shot deflected into the path of Defoe, who prodded into the Twente net.

The see-saw contest saw Twente hit back four minutes later, however, Moroccan-born Chadli curling in a sublime free-kick from 25 yards that gave Gomes no chance.

INTER V WERDER BREMEN

REUTERS, BREMEN, GERMANY

Inter coach Rafa Benitez can expect to feel the pressure again this season after his makeshift team threw away the chance to top Champions League Group A, slumping to a 3-0 defeat at Werder Bremen on Tuesday.

The Germans, already eliminated after failing to win a match in their group until Tuesday, struck three times and hit the woodwork twice as the sluggish Italians looked nothing like the side that won the trophy last season.

Inter finished the group stage second behind Tottenham Hotspur, who drew 3-3 at Twente Enschede, when a win against Bremen would have been enough to put them top.

Spaniard Benitez, who took over after Jose Mourinho won the treble last season and then left to coach Real Madrid, had already had some close shaves this season.

The defeat means they have now lost seven games in all competitions, as many as in the whole of last season under Mourinho.

Club boss Massimo Moratti said recently that in the past he would have sacked Benitez for such a bad run, but he was less trigger-happy these days.

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