Tottenham Hotspur welcome Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid to White Hart Lane facing nothing short of a mountain to climb in their Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg. After a 4-0 defeat in Madrid a week ago, Harry Redknapp’s side will need to match that score line just to take the tie to extra time. Any Madrid goal would leave Spurs needing six, not an easy task against the competitions most successful club.
Jose Mourinho has said only an English team could turn around a 4-0 deficit and Tottenham’s comeback against Inter Milan in the Group Stage may give the Spurs faithful a glimmer of hope. They were 4-0 down at half time but a second half hat-trick from Gareth Bale got the score back to 4-3 in the second half.
Mourinho is probably right and the English fighting spirit has been seen many times before in the competition…… Barcelona 1999 final? Istanbul 2005? Need I say more?
Harry Redknapp has vowed to give the tie a “hell of a go” for the fans on Wednesday night and if their other Champions League games at White Hart Lane are anything to go by, that will mean a deafening atmosphere and a flurry of goals.
Aaron Lennon should be fit for the tie after withdrawing from the first leg in Madrid just moments from kick off. Steven Pienaar trained on Tuesday and he could take a place on the bench but defender Vedran Corluka and playmaker Niko Kranjcar are both doubtful for the game. Needless to say Peter Crouch is suspended after his red card in the first leg.
Tottenham’s three goals against Stoke were their first in five games but they can take comfort from their record of 14 goals in their first four Champions League games this term. In the last round they played very well for a 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane against AC Milan to get to this point. That was their third home clean sheet in the competition thus far.
Los Merengues come into the game with a seemingly unassailable 4-0 lead and manager Jose Mourinho is widely expected to use the game to rest some of his stars with a probable four El Clasico’s coming up against great rivals Barcelona.
Kaka is expected to take his place in the starting after scoring twice in the 3-0 win at Athletic Bilbao at the weekend and in-form striker Karim Benzema is fit to return. Centre back Pepe is suspended and Lassana Diarra, Gago and Pedro Leon are all out.
Another concern for Mourinho will be the five players in his side just one yellow card away from a suspension: Ricardo Carvalho, Sergio Ramos, Raul Albiol, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria are all a booking away from missing a probable semi-final with Barcelona.
So far in the Champions League this season Real Madrid have scored in all four of their away games, winning two and drawing the other two. They have only failed to score three times away from home since the 5-0 thumping against Barcelona in La Liga back in November.
I think Tottenham will give this one a really good go and that means there will probably be goals, and lots of them.
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