Remember, remember, the fifth of November. Tottenham fans will never forget it as they finally lifted the hex Chelsea have held over them since the pre-Premiership era.
Nelson Mandela was still in prison when Tottenham last defeated Chelsea in a top-flight League match, at Stamford Bridge in the old First Division in February 1990, more than 30 matches ago. For their last such home win against these opponents Spurs had to look back through the mists of time to 1987 when Berlin was a divided city, Sir Alex Ferguson was calling time on the drinking culture at Old Trafford, and Aaron Lennon was a five-month-old baby in nappies.
Gary Lineker scored Tottenham's winning goal in 1990, Nico Claesen in 1987. Yesterday it was Lennon who scored the winner, demonstrating sublime skill to control Robbie Keane's cross before clipping a shot past Hilario. Steve McClaren, the England manager who was watching, will have purred at that, though he will have been less pleased at the way Ashley Cole was duped.
The goal completed a memorable comeback after Claude Makelele had put Chelsea ahead after 17 minutes. His volley, from the edge of the area, was of unexpected quality - given it was only his second in 149 appearances. Michael Dawson had levelled. John Terry was later dismissed, for the first time in a Chelsea shirt.
Tottenham's win owed much to Jose Mourinho being outwitted tactically by Martin Jol, who responded to Makelele's goal by switching to a 4-5-1 formation with Lennon moved to the right wing and Keane pulled back to the left flank. It proved an inspired change. Both wingers troubled Chelsea and Dimitar Berbatov proved more than capable of leading the line alone.
It was a foul by Paulo Ferreira on the roving Bulgarian which sparked Tottenham's fightback. Jermain Jenas bent in the free-kick and Dawson rose to glance the ball inside the far post. It was his first goal for the club since his £4m move from Nottingham Forest in January 2004.
A minute earlier, Chelsea thought they had gone two up, Drogba heading in from a corner. But the referee, Graham Poll, had already blown after seeing John Terry grab Ledley King. The decision was contestable, but had the whistle not blown Paul Robinson might have made a save.
The Tottenham goalkeeper had already made one superlative stop to deny Frank Lampard after neat play by Robben and Michael Ballack. Robben could also have scored when sent clear in the 14th minute but was stymied by an excellent tackle from King. Robben was far more threatening than Andrei Shevchencko has been this season and Mourinho has an interesting choice to make when the Ukrainian recovers fitness this week.
The game was played at a tremendous pace. It is worth noting Chelsea did not perform poorly, yet Tottenham lifted their own game to the champions' standards.
From King to Keane there were inspirational performances, with Keane seeing off two right-backs. At the break, Mourinho had replaced Ferreira, who had flirted with a second yellow card, with Khalid Boularouz. "The Cannibal" soon found he had more than enough on his plate in Keane. Six minutes after the break Keane so bamboozled the Dutchman that he fell on his backside without making a tackle. With time to cross Keane still needed a deflection off Makelele to find Lennon, who answered recent criticism of his finishing.
Mourinho is not one to let things drift. Shaun Wright-Phillips came on for Makelele then Boulahrouz, to his clear disgust, was hauled off, replaced by Salomon Kalou.
The blue tide surged relentlessly towards Tottenham's goal and even Terry's harsh dismissal - for dragging King over in the box as both went for a cross - did not staunch the flow. Tottenham, vociferously backed by their fans, battled desperately. With four minutes remaining, Chelsea's indefatigable spirit almost brought reward but Robben's curling shot struck the post.
"It's been a long time coming," said Keane. "When they scored I automatically thought 'not again' but the lads showed a lot of character. This will give us tremendous confidence."
The test now is whether Spurs show the same desire against Port Vale in midweek, and Reading next weekend. Chelsea's strength is that they treat every opponent alike. They lost here, but it was not for lack of commitment.
Goals: Makelele (14) 0-1; Dawson (25) 1-1; Lennon (51) 2-1.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Robinson; Chimbonda, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Ghaly, Jenas, Zokora, Lennon; Berbatov, Keane (Defoe, 85).Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Davids, Mido, Huddlestone.
Chelsea (4-1-2-1-2): Hilario; Ferreira (Boulahrouz, h-t; Kalou, 67), Carvalho, Terry, A Cole; Makelele (Wright-Phillips, 62); Essien, Lampard; Ballack; Robben, Drogba. Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), J Cole.
Referee: G Poll (Tring).
Booked: Tottenham Dawson, Ghaly, King; Chelsea Ferreira, Makelele, A Cole, Terry, Ballack.
Sent off: Terry (72).
Man of the match: King.
Spurs end the horror story
Yesterday's victory was Tottenham's first in 33 League games against Chelsea
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