Tottenham Overcomes Milan to Take Champions League Debut Run to Last Eight
Tottenham extended its Champions League soccer debut into the quarterfinals following a 0-0 draw with AC Milan, while Schalke advanced by beating Valencia 3-1.
“We worked our socks off and stayed with them,” Tottenham coach Harry Redknapp told ITV. “It’s a great achievement for this club to be in the final eight of the Champions League. It’s amazing what the players have done.”
Tottenham, which qualified for its first Champions League campaign after finishing fourth in England’s Premier League last season, repelled Milan’s attacks to become the third English team in four years to oust the seven-time European champion in the round of 16.
“Sometimes in the Champions League you come up against top quality players and you have to dig in,” Crouch told ITV. “The lads defended magnificently tonight.”
Tottenham’s Rafael van der Vaart shot wide in the second minute and Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes dived to knock away Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s free kick.
Milan had its best chance in the 25th minute as Gomes came out to challenge Alexandre Pato, who went around the goalkeeper and fed Robinho, whose deflected shot was cleared off the line by William Gallas.
Tottenham started better in the second half as Crouch was left alone at the far post in the opening minute, only to head the ball back across the goal instead of at the target.
Gomes dived to stop a shot from Robinho, who poked the rebound wide in the 66th minute, and Pato shot just wide with about 13 minutes remaining. Milan’s final opportunity came in injury time as Robinho exchanged passes with Ibrahimovic only to have his shot deflected over the goal for a corner kick.
“It’s a difficult situation when you come home and you’ve got that one-goal lead,” Redknapp said. “It’s not like you go for broke. You’re always aware you want to hang onto that lead. It was very difficult.”
Schalke came from behind against Valencia in Gelsenkirchen to move into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2008, when it lost to Barcelona.
Ricardo Costa scored with a header in the 17th minute at the Arena AufSchalke to give Valencia the lead and a 2-1 overall advantage following a 1-1 draw in Spain.
Farfan tied the game in the 40th minute by curling a free kick into the top corner. Mario Gavranovic then gave the German team a 3-2 aggregate lead seven minutes into the second half when he poked in a rebound that went off both goal posts before crossing the line.
Valencia then had several chances to tie the match and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer kept Schalke ahead with a save from Aritz Aduriz. In the final 10 minutes, Gavranovic twice hit the post before Farfan completed the scoring in the last of four stoppage-time minutes.
“After we conceded it got better as we had nothing to lose,” Schalke coach Felix Magath said in news-conference comments on UEFA’s website. “Then we fought back, but the situation was quite dicey and I would have liked Jefferson to score the third goal earlier.”
Barcelona and Shakhtar Donetsk became the first teams to reach the quarterfinals two nights ago. The remaining four places will be filled next week.
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