Tottenham recorded a memorable 1-0 win over AC Milan last night and put themselves in a very strong position ahead of the return leg at White Hart Lane. Milan had few answers for Tottenham’s verve and attacking intent, and although the game only finished 1-0 in Tottenham’s favour, Milan rarely looked like taking the game away from them.
Tottenham v Milan is bound to feature a more attacking display from both sides, but before we can move on to the next leg, there’s the small matter of Milan’s players completely losing the plot.
First it was Mathieu Flamini, who in a Thatcher-esque moment decided to jump into a two-footed tackle at the sidelines on Vedran Corluka as the Tottenham defender was rushing to clear the ball. Both feet off the ground, Spurs player injured and subbed off, but the referee only saw fit to give him a yellow. Have a look and decide for yourself:
After the game Flamini told Sky Italia that he went to the Tottenham dressing room after the game to apologise to Corluka for his rash tackle. If he did so, fair play to him, but that really should have been a red card and there was no need to go flying in at that juncture. And tellingly, the lack of remorse he should in the aftermath of the tackle showed that he’d just his head for a minute or two, not ‘made a mistake’.
Gattuso v Jordan
And then there was the tussle that stole the show, with Gattuso first clashing with Tottenham assistant coach Joe Jordan during the game as the Spurs man commented on Gattuso’s reckless challenges. Gattuso responded as only he could, screaming profanities and shoving Jordan in the throat (see second half of the above video).
He wasn’t booked by the referee for this, although he did pick up a booking later that will now keep him out of the return leg. Once the match was over though, that’s when Gattuso completely lost it (although in his mind he was probably doing the right thing). After shaking Harry Redknapp’s hand, he went looking for Jordan, exchanging words before headbutting him, which, surprisingly, did NOT result in an almighty scuffle.
Gattuso later apologised for his actions:
“I lost control. There is no excuse for what I have done. I take my responsibilities for that.
I was nervous. I didn’t want to argue with players and I did it with him, but I was wrong to do what I have done.”
I did something that I should not have done. Jordan was winding me up for the entire second half, but my reaction was unjustified.
I was irritable because of the words that we had exchanged earlier on.”
Although Gattuso should have been yellow-carded in his first clash (if you get booked / sent off for shoving an opposition player in the throat / face on the pitch, what happens when you do it to the opposition team’s coach off the pitch?), UEFA will most likely be looking at the post-match tussle. Gattuso is already suspended for the next game, but a retrospective ban / fine would seem to be in order.
Peter Crouch scores against Milan
Tottenham will AC Milan in the return leg at White Hart Lane on Wednesday, 9th March 2011. Click here for more Champions League second round matches.