TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 vs INTER MILAN 0
TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas believes his side should have no trouble seeing off Inter Milan in next week’s last 16, second leg tie, despite having to play in the San Siro without in-form Gareth Bale.
Bale, who opened the scoring on six minutes, was booked in the first half for diving and will be suspended for next week’s trip to Italy, costing him the chance to return to the scene of his sensational hat-trick in 2010.
But after goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen wrapped up a comfortable win for Spurs, Villas-Boas believes his side should be able to finish the job without their Welsh superstar.
“It’s difficult [without Bale] but because of the result we have the talent throughout the squad to go through,” said Villas-Boas.
“It was a full 90-minute performance. We played some excellent attacking football, reducing their chances and it was a great European night.
“But we’re not through yet and the San Siro is a very difficult place to go.”
It took just six minutes for man of the moment Bale to bag his 22nd goal of the season and the 50th of his Spurs career.
The 23-year-old outjumped Argentina international Esteban Cambiasso to head Sigurdsson’s inswinging cross into the bottom right-hand corner.
Bale was booked shortly afterwards for a dive inside the Inter penalty area, under pressure from Walter Gargano, and faces a one game suspension having also been shown yellow cards against Panathinaikos and NK Maribor earlier in the competition.
Spurs were utterly dominant throughout the first half and deservedly doubled their lead on 18 minutes through the ever-improving Sigurdsson.
Winger Aaron Lennon burst into the penalty area and squared to striker Jermain Defoe, whose low shot on the turn could only be parried by goalkeeper Samir Handanovic and the Iceland midfielder volleyed in from close range.
Shortly before the interval the visitors got in behind the Tottenham defence for the first time when Antonio Cassano played Ricky Alvarez into space, but the forward failed to trouble goalkeeper Brad Friedel as his scuffed shot across goal trickled wide.
Eight minutes into the second half and Spurs renewed their superiority when Vertonghen, completely unmarked, headed in Bale’s corner from six yards out.
Friedel was called into action for the first time in the game on 74 minutes when Cambiasso chipped a free-kick through to substitute Rodrigo Palacio, whose shot was beaten away by the 41-year-old American stopper.
Aaron Lennon, substitute Lewis Holtby and Defoe all had chances to add a fourth for Spurs, but were denied by the busy Handanovic.