Advantage Spurs as Crouch strike seals famous win at San Siro

AC Milan 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Tottenham took control of their Champions League tie with AC Milan thanks to Peter Crouch's late winner after a bruising encounter at the San Siro.

Crouch tapped home from 12 yards after a blistering burst of pace from Aaron Lennon unlocked the Milan defence to seal the win with a vital away goal.

The match was nothing like the pulsating 4-3 loss to Inter here in November or the 3-1 Spurs victory in the reverse fixture, but Harry Redknapp will not care one bit.

The home side were lucky to end the match with 10 men after a horrific late lunge from Matthieu Flamini on Vedran Corluka, and some shocking behaviour from Gennaro Gattuso, who appeared to headbutt Spurs assistant Joe Jordan after the final whistle.

But Crouch's goal - his sixth in eight European matches this season - means Spurs take a lead into next month's second leg.

Four months ago Redknapp saw his side almost complete a remarkable second-half comeback against Inter thanks to Gareth Bale's hat-trick.

The Welshman was missing tonight after failing to recover from a back injury.

Niko Kranjcar, who had deputised for Bale so well, was a surprise omission from Tottenham's starting XI, with Steven Pienaar taking Bale's usual position down the left flank.

Luka Modric failed to recover from his appendix injury in time and was named among the substitutes.

Two familiar foes were named among the Milan team - former Arsenal midfielder Flamini and Manchester City's on-loan striker Robinho.

Despite seeing his side collapse against Inter here in October, Redknapp urged his team to stick to their attacking principles and throw everything at the Italians.

Crouch proved to be the visitors' most potent weapon in the opening exchanges, causing Christian Abbiati to come and punch away a dangerous low cross.

Abbiati picked up a head injury when challenging the tall marksman for the ball and had to be replaced by substitute goalkeeper Marco Amelia.

Milan sounded Spurs a warning with their first real chance 20 minutes in, Robinho bursting down the right and crossing to Zlatan Ibrahimovic but William Gallas jumped in with a decisive clearance.

Milan thought they should have had a penalty 23 minutes in when Sandro clattered into Ibrahimovic but referee Stephane Lannoy waved the protests away.

Michael Dawson went clattering into Ibrahimovic with a raised arm in the box. The Swede went down clutching his head but soon returned to his feet after seeing his penalty appeal turned down.

Flamini was lucky not to be booked for a late sliding challenge on Rafael van der Vaart.

Aaron Lennon turned Luca Antonini inside the box but he sent over a high cross that even Crouch could not get on the end of.

Van der Vaart gained a yard and fired a blistering shot that Amelia tipped over with a brilliant save.

Crouch received a bruising kick to the ribs from Alessandro Nesta's follow-through towards the end of the half.

The second half began with a period of intense Milan pressure.

Heurelho Gomes Pulled off a superb flying one-handed save to deny Mario Yepes, who rose well to meet Gattuso's cross.

The game took an ugly turn 55 minutes in when Flamini flew in with a diving two-footed tackle on Corluka which sent the full-black flying into the air.

To the Spurs' players anger, the midfielder only saw yellow. Corluka had to be stretchered off and replaced by Jonathan Woodgate, who came on for his first appearance since November 2009.

Tempers frayed moments later when Pienaar clattered into Gattuso.

Spurs assistant Jordan was furious with the referee's decision to give a foul and squared up to the midfielder on the touchline. Both men pushed each other before Redknapp stepped in and they both walked away.

Play eventually resumed after both sets of players remonstrated with each other.

Yepes drew another point-blank save from Gomes with a six-yard header but the centre-half showed his petulant side by needlessly barging into the Brazilian when he went to throw the ball out seconds later.

Van der Vaart, clearly struggling with his calf injury, was replaced by Roman Pavlyuchenko on the hour.

The ugliness continued, Crouch the latest person to clash with Gattuso when he went for a header.

The Milan captain was then finally booked for a late tackle on Pienaar.

Milan pushed for an opener but they were shocked when Crouch broke the deadlock with 10 minutes left.

Lennon raced at the Milan defence with blistering pace, hurdled Yepes' challenge and squared for the former Liverpool man to tap home from 12 yards.

The hosts pushed for an equaliser but had to resort to long shots as Tottenham held onto the ball well, much to the delight of the travelling 5,000 Spurs fans.

Dawson had to put in a last-gasp tackle to deny Antonini as the game entered injury time before Ibrahimovic thought he had pulled one back with a superb volley but he was adjudged to have pushed Dawson in the box.

The ugly scenes that had marred the match continued after the whistle with Gattuso appearing to head-butt Jordan.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice