Tottenham beat Inter Milan 3-1 in soccer’s Champions League to hand the Italian club the first defeat of its European Cup defense.
Rafael van der Vaart, Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko scored for Tottenham last night at White Hart Lane in north London to lift the tournament newcomer atop Group A on goal difference ahead of Inter. Both teams have seven points.
“That was a fantastic match, from first to last we played unbelievable,” Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said in an interview with Sky Sports. “It was an amazing performance.”
Both Group C games finished 3-0 with Manchester United beating Bursaspor and Valencia defeating Rangers. Barcelona tied 1-1 with FC Copenhagen in Group D, while the game between Rubin Kazan and Panathinaikos finished scoreless.
Benfica beat Lyon 4-3 in Group B and Hapoel Tel-Aviv and Schalke tied 0-0. FC Twente won 2-0 at Werder Bremen in the other Group A match.
Tottenham winger Gareth Bale, who scored a hat trick in his team’s 4-3 loss in Milan on Oct. 20, set up two goals last night to help lift Spurs to the victory.
The Premier League team took the lead after 18 minutes as Luka Modric went past two defenders and slid a pass to Van der Vaart, who shot past goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi.
Spurs doubled their lead in the 61st minute when Bale raced from the halfway line before sending in a cross for Crouch to put in. Inter made it 2-1 in the 80th minute when Samuel Eto’o scored his competition-leading seventh goal.
Tottenham then sealed the win in the final minute as Bale broke down the left flank and curled a cross which Pavluychunko tapped past Castellazzi.
“He’s now one of our best players, every week he’s strong and everyone’s scared of him,” Van der Vaart said of Bale in an interview with Sky Sports. “It’s a fantastic night to win 3-1 against the Champions League winners, a great feeling.”
FC Twente kept alive its hopes of advancing to the next round with two goals in the last 10 minutes against Werder Bremen. Nacer Chadli and Luuk de Jong scored after Bremen’s Torsten Frings was shown the red card in the 75th minute.
“We got one early in the second half, which makes a difference,” United manager Alex Ferguson said. “From that point on basically we were in control of the match. They had a couple of half chances and you can never be sure, but the second goal killed the match.”
United leads Group C with 10 points and will advance if it avoids defeat against Rangers in its next game.
Roberto Soldado scored two goals as Valencia moved above Rangers into second place in the group. Tino Costa also scored for Valencia, which trails United by three points.
Barcelona missed a chance to secure a place in the next round by drawing with Copenhagen in Denmark.
Lionel Messi gave Barcelona the lead after 31 minutes before Claudemir made it 1-1 a minute later. The result leaves Barcelona atop Group D with eight points, one more than Copenhagen. Rubin Kazan has three points and Panathinaikos has two after their draw.
“In the 2 1/2 years I’ve been Barca’s coach, we’ve never encountered a team as intense and physical as this one,” Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola told reporters. “All my players are completely exhausted after this match.”
Lyon was also denied qualification into the knockout stage with its away loss to Benfica.
Fabio Coentrao scored two goals and Alan Kardec and Javi Garcia had one each to give Benfica a 4-0 lead. Yoann Gourcuff, Bafetimbi Gomis and Dejan Lovren then scored in the final 20 minutes for Lyon.
Lyon still leads Group B with nine points, two more than Schalke. Benfica is third on six and Hapoel Tel-Aviv remains last after picking up its first point.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at email@example.com.