Well, it certainly wasn’t a 0-0 draw which Jose Mourinho said he would have been content with headed into the second leg. Even better, it was a perfect night for the home team as Harry Redknapp was only left to close his eyes in disgust and embarrassment.
Bring on Barcelona?? Well, there’s still a return leg at White Hart Lane in London but the Spanish giants seem to have already locked up a place in the Champions League Semi-Finals. “Los Blancos” came out guns blazin’ with the speed and tenacity that have made them the 9 time winners of this great tournament. The galactic crew trounced the British squad 4-0 in a spectacular display of intense pressure include\ng a barrage of shots courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria. Add to that the fact that one of England’s top strikers, Peter Crouch (the 6’7 giant whopper up top), was given a red card (in the 15th minute) for two harsh tackles (on Marcelo and Sergio Ramos). This resulted in the visitors being forced to play almost the entire match with only 10 men.
The story of the night was Emanuel Adebayor’s resurgence as Champions League master. The Manchester City loaned player ignited his teammates and the fans with his aerial play and his ability to perfect position himself throughout the match in order to capitalize on opportunities. His energy and deft touches electrified the Bernabeau atmosphere while his two headers made everyone forget that Benzema was out injured. What a great pick up by Florentino and Mou after Higuain went down earlier in the early winter!
Now, let’s briefly discuss some random match notes. There were two rather clear penalties in the box, and one was even on a handball in the box (Dawson), which could have made the result worse. Despite the missed calls, the young German officiating crew seemed to have good control over the match. Adebayor had two other chances to score, both off of aerial opportunities but he amazed spectators as a passing sensation, too.
Gareth Bale looked promising up the wing at times but didn’t look close to 100 percent and Ramos did a superb job defending the Welsh star (Ramos also distributed a perfect header to Adebayor which should have been another goal). Redknapp’s Defoe substitution was a smart tactical move and his entrance after halftime provided some much needed support and support and pressure up the wing. But, the night belonged to the Madrilenos. Angel Di Maria’s astound strike resulted in the 3rd goal and the incredible blast in the upper 90 part of the net may have been the top goal in the Champions League to date. CR7’s constant pressure throughout the match after having just recovered from a hamstring injury proved that he’s truly world class. Madrid’s 4th goal was a CR7 reward for his hard work both during the match and in training (his perseverance to be fit for the CL clash). And both are a testament to his character. Once again, it’s important to note that while CR7 has many critics; his teammates throughout the years have always loved his abilities, character, attitude, and passion on the pitch.
For Tottenham, it was truly a disappointing night for both Harry Redknapp and his defense. Aaron Lennon was strangely ruled out of the match shortly before it started with a sickness (Jermaine Jenas was substituted in at the last minute). Jenas then poorly defended Adebayor (4th minute) allowing the first goal and triggering the RM onslaught.
It’s important to note that Kaka, Higuain, and Diarra all came off of the bench in the second half showing the depth of the “all white” squad. Moreover, Mou finally got to start his dream lineup and the result showed this lineup’s efficiency and brilliance. Unfortunately, Pepe will miss the next leg due to a second yellow card but will likely be replaced by Albiol or Arbeloa (Spanish selection stars). For now, it’s time to enjoy the victory and cheer on Shaktar (or would we rather have Barca?). Hala Madrid!!!!!
About the Author
Written by Timothy Ashe Jr.
Tim was born and raised in Downers Grove, IL (a suburb of Chicago). He graduated with a degree in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign and also holds University English Language Excellence certificates. He's fluent in Spanish and teaches both English and Spanish in his spare time. He's a Real Madrid and Chicago Fire aficionado and is partial towards the EPL and LFP. His hope is that the game of soccer can continue to grow in the U.S.A. and for our men's national team to eventually win the World Cup.