Spurs sweat on Bale injury as they stumble in Europe


TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas played down fears that talisman Gareth Bale could miss the remainder of the season after he was stretchered off the pitch with his right leg in a brace last night.

Spurs also lost midfielder Aaron Lennon and defender William Gallas to injury in the Europa League quarter-final and had to end the game with nine men, having made three substitutions before the full extent of their troubles struck.

But while Lennon and Gallas were able to limp off, Bale looked in excruciating pain after turning his ankle deep into second half stoppage time.

However, Villas-Boas believes the injury was not as severe as it first appeared and that Bale may only miss the second leg in Switzerland and one Premier League match.

“It shouldn’t be as bad as it looks on the image,” he said.

“There is a big possibility, if we stay positive, that he will be fit for the Manchester City game and it will only take him out of two games.

“He has injured that ankle before, so the damage is less because there is nothing there to tear.

“There is a lot of swelling, but there is positive news.”

Tottenham’s night began as disastrously as it ended when they went 2-0 down inside 35 minutes.

But goals from Emmanuel Adebayor and Gylfi Sigurdsson kept Spurs in the tie, though they must now win away in Europe for the first time this season to progress.

“We have been good away in the league so we have to believe,” said Villas-Boas.

“They had a fantastic night, maybe the strongest we’ve seen here.

“We managed to come back and now have a possibility to go through in the second leg.”

Basel took the lead on 30 minutes after a sweeping move from right to left saw Marco Streller fire against the post from eight yards after a smart turn, but the ball fell kindly for Valentin Stocker to fire in the rebound.

And five minutes later the Swiss visitors doubled their advantage when Fabian Frei lost his marker from Stocker’s corner and headed in from six yards.

Spurs halved the deficit on 40 minutes when Scott Parker’s initial shot deflected up and into the path of Adebayor who volleyed in his fifth goal of the season.

And the hosts should have levelled three minutes later, but as Lewis Holtby bundled the ball away from goalkeeper Yann Sommer, Parker inexplicably fired wide of an empty net from six yards.

Spurs levelled on 58 minutes when substitute Sigurdsson cut inside from the left channel and blasted in a deflected strike from 25 yards.

Elsewhere, Newcastle face a tricky home leg after losing 3-1 at Benfica last night, despite taking an early lead through Papiss Demba Cisse.