Former Arsenal star Emmanuel Adebayor bagged a brace as Real Madrid destroyed Spurs by four goals to nil Tuesday night, a result that surely sends them crashing out of the Champions League. The second leg at White Hart Lane next week could well be their last match in the prestigious tournament for some time as fourth place in the Premier League is looking more unlikely as the season draws to an end.
Building up to the match at the Bernabeu, many were nicknaming the tie Ronaldo vs. Bale but it was Adebayor that stole the limelight. Not only did he score 2 goals, but he held the ball up well and was a constant threat to Tottenham’s defence until he departed shortly before the end. His second goal in particular was brilliant, Marcelo whipping in an exquisite cross that the Togolese striker cleverly headed across Gomes into the back of the net. On the other hand Ronaldo and Bale had quieter games than expected. It’s hard to criticise Ronaldo as he scored the fourth goal with a tremendous right foot volley and was constantly involved in Madrid’s attacking play; taking shots from everywhere. But his performance wasn’t as superior as expected. Bale also didn’t live up to expectations. He tried his best and you can’t fault his determination but he just looked out of his depth. A few runs down the left hand side in the first half caused Madrid problems but he never really threatened Casillas in the Madrid goal. Madrid’s defence doubled up on the Welshman doing well to extinguish any bursts he tried to make down the wing. As the game wore on, his movement became predictable and in the second half he drifted out of the game and it became evident that he wasn’t fully fit.
Before the game there was optimism coming from the Spurs camp but, in all honesty, the gap in quality between the two teams was huge and that was displayed in the 90 minutes. The night started badly for Spurs even before kick off with Aaron Lennon was forced to withdraw due to illness. After four minutes Adebayor, who had a brilliant goal scoring record against Spurs whilst playing for fierce rivals Arsenal, headed home his first goal of two. Eleven minutes later Peter Crouch’s stupidity took the tie even further away from the already trailing Spurs. Moments after getting booked for a reckless challenge, he committed the same offence which resulted in him receiving his second yellow followed by a red. Spurs held out until half time but that second goal was always coming and it arrived in the 57th minute through Adebayor. More goals were always on the cards; Di Maria scored the 3rd in the 67th minute with the goal of the match. Cutting in from the right hand side, the Argentinean winger rifled an unstoppable shot into the top corner leaving Gomes with no chance. Ronaldo deservedly finished the route with 10 minutes to go, volleying past the suspect Gomes who should have really done better with the shot. In the end the final score could have been much worse for Spurs who had to defend wave after wave of attack from Madrid.
In all fairness Spurs were up against a far superior team and they were underdogs from the moment the teams were paired together. Although Mourinho says the tie isn’t finished, the Premiership side’s European dream is surely over unless they provide one of the best performances in world football ever and manage to beat Madrid by 5 goals.