Pavlyuchenko saves Spurs with a little help from the man in black

Tottenham Hotspur 4 FC Twente 1

He missed a penalty, scored a goal and got sent off. Rafael van der Vaart compressed enough personal drama into a 16-minute period last night than some manage in a whole season.

It was one of those splendidly chaotic Champions League nights – a rarity in the group stages – and it revolved around one Dutchman with a point to prove and a Norwegian referee who gave Spurs three penalties. Terje Hauge was right to send off Van der Vaart but it was a dreadful decision to award Spurs their third penalty which allowed them to restore their two-goal lead when they were at their weakest.

The first Champions League night at White Hart Lane was many things but it was certainly not a disappointment. Spurs' destiny in this group may well be decided in the double-header coming up with Internazionale, the reigning champions, starting at San Siro on 20 October and the evidence is that Spurs are one of the few teams in this competition who are prepared to take risks.

Harry Redknapp was eager to cut through all the controversy and the penalty decisions last night to remind everyone that the result alone proved he got it right. The implication was that he could have played it cagey and tried to pick off the Dutch champions but instead he pushed Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko up tight on the two Twente centre-backs and took the game to them with a familiar intensity.

Redknapp was rewarded with a sparkling performance from Van der Vaart who, in the 63 minutes that he lasted on the pitch, played like a man who feels he has to earn his reputation in England. And when Van der Vaart departed, so Gareth Bale, scorer of Spurs' fourth, stepped up to take his place with another performance that marks him out as an exceptional talent.

In between Redknapp had reason to give thanks to Pavlyuchenko who, having stepped aside to allow Van der Vaart to take the first penalty, resumed duties for the next two and dispatched them masterfully. Van der Vaart may have cranked up the atmosphere in White Hart Lane but it was Pavlyuchenko's composure that calmed them when, down to 10 men, they looked at their most vulnerable.

Amid all this there was one more point of controversy when Tom Huddlestone caught the Twente striker Marc Janko with an elbow flush to the Austrian's jaw. The Englishman was being fouled at the time and was trying to free himself but it was one of those moments when he was fortunate that a punitive referee did not see the severity of the blow. He might well have been dismissed.

The team that Steve McClaren turned into Dutch champions last season are not an easy side to play against. They very nearly scored on 12 minutes when the Costa Rican winger Bryan Ruiz stole the ball away from Sebastien Bassong and only just had his shot saved by Heurelho Gomes. In Douglas, a 22-year old Brazilian centre-back, they have a very talented player who was nonetheless culpable for Bale's goal.

Like Spurs, Twente are Champions League novices although they have nothing like the resources that are at the disposal of the English club. Redknapp left Aaron Lennon on the bench last night, the result of his poor start to the season. With Van der Vaart starting on the right but drifting inside, Spurs have an unpredictable quality but it also leaves them exposed.

One of Van der Vaart's many qualities is that he understands exactly what is required to get the best out of a striker like Crouch with crosses that are early and high. He hit one on 36 minutes to the back post that Crouch was favourite to get to first until Peter Wisgerhof wrestled him to the ground. It was not the first major decision that Hauge gave on what looked like the advice of one of his two goalline assistants.

There was an awkward build-up to the penalty during which the Bulgarian goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov was booked. When Van der Vaart did finally take the kick, Mihaylov was far off his line but he still did well to glove it on to the post. It was embarrassing for Van der Vaart who also had a shot just before the break palmed over by Mihaylov.

Redknapp said at half-time he re-allocated penalty-taking to Pavlyuchenko, although why he allowed Van der Vaart to usurp him in the first place was not explained. Within two minutes Van der Vaart had scored. Huddlestone struck a long ball to the back post, Crouch knocked it down and the Dutchman had time for a touch before he volleyed it in.

Having, in Redknapp's words "run the full-back the other way all night", Bale won the second penalty when he was tripped by Robert Rosales in the area. Not much argument about penalty No 2 which Pavlyuchenko buried with the minimum of fuss.

Two goals ahead against a team playing away in the Champions League for the first time you might thought that this would be plain sailing from then on in. But Spurs made it difficult. It started with Twente's goal – an unfortunate defensive collapse during which Spurs allowed Twente three shots on their goal, the third of which from substitute Nacer Chadli found the net.

Having already been booked for a foul on the left-back Nicky Kuiper, just after the hour Van der Vaart challenged for a header he was never going to win just in front of the benches. Eyes on the ball, with a slightly mad glint to them, he nonetheless caught Rosales round the midriff and thoroughly earned his second yellow card.

It was then, with the score at 2-1 and Spurs down to 10 men that they first looked vulnerable. Hauge changed that. A shot from Pavlyuchenko was adjudged to have been handled by Wisgerhof even though he was turning away from the ball and raising his arm to protect his face. Hauge first ignored it and then, presumably after communication over the headset, doubled back and pointed to the spot.

Pavlyuchenko's confidence was unshakeable by then. He deceived Mihaylov beautifully from the penalty spot for Spurs' third goal. Bale seized on Douglas' bad header to run onto the ball and beat Mihaylov at his near post. The game was won by Spurs, albeit with a little help from the friendly Norwegian.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Gomes; Hutton, King, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto-Ekotto; Van der Vaart, Huddlestone, Modric (Lennon, 82), Bale; Crouch (Jenas, 66), Pavlyuchenko (Keane, 89). Substitutes not used Cudicini (gk), Palacios, Kranjcar, Corluka.

FC Twente (4-2-1-3): Mihailov; Rosales, Wisgerhof, Douglas, Kuiper; Janssen, Brama; Landzaat (De Jong, 69); Ruiz, Janko, Bajrami (Chadli, 28). Substitutes not used Boschker (gk), Bengtsson, Parker, Vujicevic, Schimpelsberger.

Man of the match Pavlyuchenko.

Referee T Hauge (Norway).

Attendance 32,518.

Match rating 8/10.

Internazionale 4-0 Werder Bremen

Wesley Sneijder's goal and Samuel Eto's hat-trick ensured the holders' victory.

Group A

Results so far: FC Twente 2 Internazionale 2,Werder Bremen 2 Tottenham 2, Internazionale 4 Werder Bremen 0, Tottenham 4 FC Twente 1.

Tottenham's remaining fixtures 20 Oct Internazionale (a); 2 Nov Internazionale (h); 24 Nov Werder Bremen (h); 7 Dec FC Twente (a).

Man-for-man marking

Heurelho Gomes

Good save from Ruiz, otherwise little to do other than pick the ball out of the net. 7/10



Alan Hutton

The Scot was adventurous down the right, though his crossing was nothing like as good as Bale's. 6



Sébastien Bassong

Was keener than King to push forward but needed to keep a careful watch on the dangerous Janko. 6



Ledley King

The captain relied on his reading of the game to see him through. Don't expect to see him on Saturday. 7



Benoît Assou-Ekotto

Up against a tricky customer in Ruiz. Distribution sometimes not what it should have been. 6



Rafael van der Vaart

Involved in just about everything from missed penalty to first goal and two deserved bookings. 6



Tom Huddlestone

Was fortunate to escape with a clear elbow to Janko's face. A couple of brave blocks later. 6



Luka Modric

Finds it harder to run the game when Van der Vaart is trying to do the same thing. 6



Gareth Bale

Terrific bursts down the left, one of which earned the second penalty. Fully deserved late goal. 9



Roman Pavlyuchenko

Had threatened with a couple of good 20 yarders before stepping up to slot in two cool penalties. 7



Peter Crouch

Was inches away from tempting crosses. Won some good headers and the first penalty. 7

Property
house + home
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Life and Style
Bats detect and react to wind speed and direction through sensors on their wings
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living