Besiktas 0 Tottenham 2: Berbatov's stunning goal fires Spurs

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The Independent Football

Dimitar Berbatov gave an inspirational display as Tottenham Hotspur made a perfect start to their Uefa Cup group campaign here in Istanbul last night.

Berbatov set up the opening goal for Hossam Ghaly but saved the best for himself with a stunning strike in the 63rd minute. The Bulgarian rounded two Besiktas defenders and then beat the goalkeeper Vedran Runje before finishing coolly to help make a mockery of predictions that Spurs would be lucky to leave Turkey with a point.

Martin Jol hailed his £10.9m summer signing from Bayer Leverkusen. "Berbatov showed some flashes of his quality," the Spurs manager said. "We've always said if our strikers can make a difference then we will be a good team. Berbatov is the extra quality we have up front. It was a terrific goal and, hopefully, it will break the spell as we have struggled to score this season." Jol added: "Our defence was excellent as well. We were too strong to concede goals. If we score goals as well, then that makes us tough to beat."

The Besiktas coach, Jean Tigana, felt Berbatov was the difference between the sides. "His goal was fantastic," Tigana, the former Fulham manager, said. "When you have a player like that it is a lot easier to win. He can change a game by himself. Tottenham were very good. They were strong in midfield and we could not find a solution to that."

Most of the pre-match build-up centred on the hostile reception Spurs could expect at the Inonu Stadium but the Besiktas fans were noisy rather than intimidating. They showed their sportsmanship by applauding Spurs from the pitch - a gesture that merited warm praise from Jol.

He said: "The Turkish are fanatical but they showed today they can be good supporters. If you applaud the away team, it says it all."

Spurs rose to the occasion magnificently, looking solid at the back and showing greater fluency in attack, especially in the first half when Besiktas rarely threatened. Indeed, the Turks mustered only two memorable efforts all night.

Spurs, led by Ledley King who had recovered from his knee injury, were more inventive and displayed none of the finishing problems which have hampered their Premiership form.

Besiktas have never beaten an English club in Istanbul and Jol revealed that was used as motivation. "I'm very satisfied with the three points. It was a very good experience for us. They were a very fanatical crowd, a very good crowd.

"It's difficult to play against a proud side like Besiktas. We scored the second goal at the right moment and then had three or four chances after that.

"We were drawn in one of the best groups and three points away at Besiktas is a great result for us. Besiktas don't lose much in Europe, although we knew we'd be the first English team to lose over here, so that helped spur us on."

Besiktas (5-4-1): Runje; Kurtulus, Sedef (Deivson, 46), Zan, Yilmaz, Mercimek; Marcio Nobre, Ricardinho, Uzulmez, Tatan (Akin, 66); Toraman. Substitutes not used: Sahin, Dogan, Gulec, Tandogan, Gunes.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Robinson; Chimbonda, Dawson, Huddlestone, King; Assou-Ekotto, Murphy (Ziegler, 80), Ghaly (Lennon, 83), Jenas; Berbatov, Keane. Substitutes not used: Cerny, Davids, Stalteri, Defoe, Gardner.

Referee: N Vollquartz (Denmark).

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