Tottenham 0 PSV Eindhoven 1: Gilberto's error hands PSV the advantage as Spurs slumber
Friday 07 March 2008
This defeat cannot be laid at the door of Faces nightclub, not unless Spurs' players mourned their weekend thrashing by Birmingham City at the same Essex nightspot they celebrated the Carling Cup triumph.
The scapegoat, instead, will be Gilberto, Brazil's current left-back whose 45-minute debut proved that not everyone from the land of the jogo bonito is a natural. In truth Gilberto, whose schoolyard error handed Jefferson Farfan the chance to score a valuable away goal for PSV, was just one component of a malfunctioning display. Juande Ramos will need all his fabled cup-tie nous if Spurs are to overturn the deficit in Wednesday's second leg and reach the quarter-finals.
"I did not like what I saw today," said the Tottenham manager. "We had our best players on the pitch but PSV were better. We still have a second leg to go, and losing by one goal is not too bad, but we will have improve very much."
Ramos added, in reference also to the 4-1 loss at St Andrew's: "The last two matches have been a reality check, we have not played as well as we could have. We have lowered our tempo."
Spurs' season will, to all intents and purposes, be over should they fail in Eindhoven. It would be an anti-climactic conclusion to a campaign which began in controversy but has produced the club's first silverware in a decade. Perhaps to forestall a sense that they had achieved their goal Spurs chose to make a low-key celebration of their Wembley triumph sending the injured pair Gareth Bale and Chris Gunter out to parade the Carling Cup before the teams emerged.
Perhaps they would have been better off bringing it out with the starting XI. That might have rekindled the euphoria of Wembley, for in football the limelight moves swiftly and Arsenal have since regained the media focus.
Tottenham were never going to match their neighbours' Milanese heroics, whatever they did last night, but even putting to the sword the team which knocked Arsenal out of last season's Champions League proved too demanding a task. PSV may have lost several key players, including Alex who scored the critical goal at the Emirates, but they are used to rejuvenating themselves and have done so well enough to lead the Eredivisie by six points and attract a wad of Premier League scouts to White Hart Lane.
To meet the challenge Ramos, seeking a personal hat-trick of Uefa Cup wins, fielded 10 of the XI which started the Carling Cup final. The cup-tied Alan Hutton was replaced by Gilberto Da Silva Melo, the January signing from Hertha Berlin, who became the first Brazilian to play for the club. On this performance he could be the last.
PSV, who were parachuted into this competition after being knocked out of the Champions League, began by frustrating Spurs but were already taking the game to them when Gilberto presented them with the first clear opening of the match. Carrying the ball across his goal area in that insouciant Brazilian way he was robbed by Farfan whose finish was emphatic.
Spurs' immediate response was impressive with Steed Malbranque, Robbie Keane and Jonathan Woodgate threatening, but the best attempt came just before the break as Keane brilliantly brought down a Paul Robinson goal-kick before making space to shoot only to be denied by Heurelho Gomes.
Ramos removed Gilberto at half-time to save the successor to Roberto Carlos further humiliation (Ramos later claimed it was because Gilberto lacked match fitness adding, "Every player makes mistakes, now we have to support him").
With Mexico's Carlos Salcido marshalling the PSV defence with aplomb, Spurs were kept at distance for much of the second period. When they did breach the cover, usually following creative work by Dimitar Berbatov, the opportunity was either wasted – Pascal Chimbonda being a prime culprit – or saved by Gomes. With his impressive handling and physique, the Brazilian must surely be a target for Premier League clubs. At 27 he should be approaching his prime.
A late rally produced chances for O'Hara, Berbatov and Keane but the visitors also threatened and, but for Robinson, would have settled the tie with 14 minutes remaining. The 'keeper pulled off an excellent save to deny Farfan after Jan Kronkamp's run had sliced Spurs apart. Ibrahim Afellay, another clever player, also stretched Robinson to underline the enormity of Spurs' task next week.
It will be like having to win in Milan, almost.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-1-3-2): Robinson; Chimbonda, Woodgate, King (Taarabt, 74), Gilberto (O'Hara, 45); Zokora; Lennon, Jenas (Huddlestone, 64), Malbranque; Keane, Berbatov. Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Lee, Tainio, Dawson.
PSV Eindhoven (4-1-4-1): Gomes; Kronkamp, Marcellis, Salcido, Alcides; Simons; Farfan (Dzsudzsak, 85), Culina, Mendez, Afellay (Bakkal, 90); Koevermans (Lazovic, 78). Substitutes not used: Bas Roorda (gk), Zonneveld, Rajkovic, Aissati.
Referee: S Lannoy (France).
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