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Spurs pay the penalty for first-leg failure



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PSV Eindhoven 0 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur (1-1 agg, PSV win 6-5 on pens)
UEFA Cup Round of 32, Second Leg

Juande Ramos’ grip on the UEFA Cup was finally relinquished at the Phillips Stadion, almost three years to the day the Spaniard first scooped the trophy on this very ground, with former club Seville.

Ramos approached Tottenham’s second leg, round of 16 fixture with PSV Eindhoven still hopeful of leading his side to May’s final in Manchester to fight for his third UEFA Cup title in succession. Unfortunately for manager and team, Spurs were denied progression into the quarter-finals of the competition, despite clearly being the better side on the night. How the north Londoners wish they could have performed as well as they did this evening in the first leg tie with PSV at White Hart Lane last Thursday.

A penalty shoot out proved to be Spurs’ undoing, with Pascal Chimbonda and Jermaine Jenas both missing from twelve yards in a 6-5 spot kick defeat. However, Tottenham’s inability to impose themselves on PSV a week ago is the most crucial miss of all, as the club bids Europe a premature farewell for this season. The one consolation for heartbroken Spurs fans is that their side will get another crack at winning the UEFA Cup again next campaign, having already qualified for the competition on the back of their Carling Cup victory.

Juande Ramos made a number of bold tactical selections both before and during this match, which nearly paid dividends. Brazilian full back Gilberto, who’s mistake lead to PSV’s goal in the first leg, was not selected to travel to Holland. Former PSV defender Lee Young-Pyo was preferred at left back. More controversially, Ramos opted to drop winger Aaron Lennon to the bench in favour of playing a narrow midfield diamond formation consisting of Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas, Didier Zakora and Steed Malbranque.
Though it didn’t make for particularly attractive watching in the first half, the tight midfield quartet imposed themselves well, stifling PSV’s passing and denying space to them to feed the dangerous Peruvian attacker Farfan. Tottenham created the best of a limited amount of chances in the opening period and Steed Malbranque really should have done better, shooting wide from a narrow angle from the edge of the six yard box.

Mindful of the fact Spurs were still trailing by a goal to nil from the first leg, Ramos shuffled his pack at half time, opting to start the second half operating a 4-3-3 system. Lee Young-Pyo was sacrificed for forward Darren Bent, who almost made an instant impression in the opening minutes of coming on, but shot weakly at PSV’s Brazilian keeper Heurelho Gomes, following a neat team move. Tottenham adopted a long ball policy throughout the evening – not usually a preferred style of either Ramos or Tottenham. However this direct approach reaped reward, troubling PSV’s backline, in particularly Salcido and ex-Liverpool man Jan Kronkamp, on a number of occasions.

Aaron Lennon was introduced to proceedings just after the hour mark, replacing centre half and skipper Ledley King. Lennon’s introduction further boosted a Spurs front line looking more and more likely to score. They had to wait until the 81st minute however to break the deadlock though. Pascal Chimbonda’s right wing run and cross was met by a beautifully controlled volley from just inside the penalty area by Dimitar Berbatov to finally level the tie on aggregate.

Moving into extra time, Tottenham looked the fitter and hungrier of the two sides to progress to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. Darren Bent twice came close in the extra period with a header and a volley that came close to beating Gomes. Then in the final minute of extra time, Steed Malbraque hit, what seemed the perfect shot, towards the top right hand corner of PSV’s goal, only for the Brazilian keeper to pull of a master save.

Spurs came out of the blocks quickest in the penalty shoot out. Paul Robinson’s save from Danko Lazovic meant they were two-one up after two rounds of kicks each. However PSV keeper Gomes denied Jermaine Jenas with an excellent reflex save in the fifth round of penalties, just as Spurs had seemed to be heading through. In the second round of sudden death penalties, Pascal Chimbonda missed his kick with the scores at 6-5 to PSV to send the Dutch side through instead.

Tottenham will leave Holland wondering how they failed to make it into the quarter-finals of the competition, having been so dominant in this second leg match. Ultimately the players have had to learn the hard way the importance of playing well in both legs of a knockout tie, in the same way that Everton will have to after their penalty defeat to Fiorentina.

PSV: Gomes, Kromkamp, Marcellis, Salcido, Alcides, Mendez (Bakkal 112), Simons, Culina, Afellay (Dzsudzsak 82), Koevermans (Lazovic 72), Farfan.
Subs Not Used: Roorda, Zonneveld, Rajkovic, Aissati.

Tottenham: Robinson, Chimbonda, Woodgate, King (Lennon 61), Lee (Bent 46), Jenas, Zokora, Huddlestone, Malbranque, Berbatov, Keane (O’Hara 86).
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Tainio, Boateng, Dawson.