l Spurs edge out mighty Milan
l Harry hails amazing achievement
TOTTENHAM 0 vs AC MILAN 0
Tottenham win 1-0 on aggregate
PROUD Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp hailed his side’s progression to the quarter-finals of the Champions League as an amazing achievement.
The north Londoners, enjoying their debut season in Europe’s premier club competition, made it through to the last eight following a superb rearguard action, backed by a raucous White Hart Lane crowd, to deny seven-times winners AC Milan.
Redknapp had intended for his side to go for the jugular and build on the first leg advantage they attained through Peter Crouch’s goal in the San Siro.
But they were met here by an AC?Milan side intent on restoring their battered reputation following the schooling they received on their own turf, and in the end Redknapp was just delighted to get the job done in a manner not strictly in keeping with his side’s previous performances in this competition. He said: “It’s a great night for the players, a great night for the fans and for everyone. I’m delighted. It’s amazing what the players have done. We worked our socks off and we stayed with them.
“I enjoyed the occasion, but no, I couldn’t say I enjoyed the 90 minutes. You’re looking at that clock and you want it to go and that 90 minutes to be up.
“It’s a great achievement for this club being in the last eight of the Champions League, it’s amazing what the players have done and if people can’t appreciate and enjoy this tonight then they shouldn’t be involved in football.”
While Tottenham’s attack caught the eye in the group stages, last night it was the turn of the defence to take the plaudits.
Brazilian Sandro was magnificent in shielding his centre-halves Michael Dawson and William Gallas, who themselves were excellent in nullifying the threat of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Alexandre Pato.
Dawson added: “Credit to the lads. It was certainly backs to the wall for 90 minutes but we stood strong. What a night out there. The atmosphere was unbelievable.
“Why can’t we go all the way? We are in the hat and beat a top Milan side and have shown we can mix it with the best. Hopefully it will keep going and there will be many more fantastic nights like tonight.”
KEY MOMENTS | WHEN THE SPURS WENT MARCHING IN
25 mins: Milan dominated the early exchanges and were fractions away from taking the lead just past the midway point in the first-half. Tottenham’s kamikaze goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes needlessly rushed from his line and was beaten to the ball by the spritely Alexandre Pato. The Brazil striker took the ball round the despairing Gomes and cut the ball back for Robinho, whose scuffed shot his a prone Benoit Assou-Ekotto and looped towards goal, only for William Gallas to save the day and clear the ball from directly underneath his own crossbar.
62 mins: Harry Redknapp promised Mathieu Flamini would receive and extra special welcome from the White Hart Lane faithful due to his two-footed assault on Vedran Corluka in the first leg, not to mention his Arsenal ties. The France midfielder was booed at every possible opportunity and his frustration boiled over just past the hour mark. With Assou-Ekotto going nowhere close to the corner flag and with his back to goal, Flamini launched into another senseless tackle and was booked. He riled Spurs fans still further late on when he clattered into Gareth Bale.
76 mins: Despite their domination in terms of possession and their territorial advantage, Milan struggled to create an opportunity of note in the second period until 14 minutes from the end. Alexander Merkel played the ball into Robinho, who showed admirable strength to hold off the attentions of Michael Dawson and shovel the ball into the path of Pato. The striker cut in with his first touch and smashed in a low shot from the edge of the area with his second. The ball just missed the near post and rippled the side netting. It was as close as Milan would come.