A look back at the defeat to Real Madrid

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So in the end the conclusion was more whimper than bang. The ugly combination of Gomes’s fumbling of Ronaldo’s 30 yarder and the powder puff finishing that has haunted us all season was enough to bring our Champions League campaign to a close with a defeat to a charmless and not totally convincing Real Madrid side. We didn’t deserve to lose. We had the opportunities, especially towards the end to make sure that we left with our unbeaten CL home record intact at least but failed to make any of them count. The team left the field to heartfelt and grateful applause from those who stayed until the final kick and the fair proportion of the crowd who had already started their journey home missed what looked like genuine appreciation from the players as they trooped off, many with the purple shirts of the night’s victors draped over them.

After 28 minutes of the game against Young Boys in Bern on 17th August when we went three nil down, few would have predicted that we would still be in the competition nearly eight months later. The two games against the Swiss encapsulated the roller coaster nature of our efforts in Europe this season as we went from naïve beginners to ultimate victors. In this quarter final second leg we again started slowly but this time were unable to come out on top. We struggled to get any possession in the opening period as the Madrid midfield pressed and harried very high up the pitch. We did battle our way back into it but the moments when Huddlestone, Modric or Van der Vaart didn’t look hurried in their decision-making and in need of an extra touch were few and far between. On the wings Madrid’s aim was to stop Bale and Lennon by foul means or foul and with the cooperation of the referee, Arbeloa and Ramos were able to block the running of our wingers generally unpunished  whether they had the ball or not.

In the first half Lennon did get to the bye-line once to pull back for Pav and that together with a number of penalty appeals represented our best chance of taking the first step towards the unlikely comeback we were attempting.  There was nothing doing however as Pav side footed into row Z and the ref waved away everything else. Any thoughts of Barcelona disappeared completely when Gomes did the archetypal man-attempting-to-catch-bar-of-soap impression just after half time.

He won’t be the last keeper to let a speculative dipper from Ronaldo through his paws but combine it with the last goal in the Bernabeu, Drogba’s equaliser in December, the farce at Old Trafford and any number of other heart in mouth occasions and it’s fair to say our keeper hasn’t had a season to match that of last year. I’m all for an eccentric number one but a certain level of reliability is also a must. Gomes was one of the many Spurs players serenaded individually by the Park Lane towards the end of the game as our demise became inevitable.

Much should have been learnt from our adventure but it remains to be seen what has stuck. If we can bring an increase in tempo, technique, concentration and ruthlessness back in to our domestic performances as other teams have done then it seems inevitable that more success at home will follow. It’s these qualities we’ll need in our remaining fixtures.

There are no distractions now. We have seven games in the Premier League left and then we’re done. Champions League and we’ve had a laugh. It won’t be easy but another chuckle next season is tantalisingly close.

By MF

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1 COMMENT

  1. His fumbling was not much of a concern to Spurs fans, as we cannot hold him responsible for the 2 leg loss (5 goals). We also remember the saves he has made thruoghout the competition, which without any doubt will be cherished by all Spurs fans.
    My personal view about Gomes- he is one that reflects to be a patriot to the club.

  2. Personally feel that we need to keep Gomes but also bring in another top quality keeper for competition. Granted, Gomes makes some wonderful saves but he can be a clown at times.
    Thought we should have had at least one pen in the 1st half and was Modders really offside for Bale's 'goal'?
    Could have gotten interesting.
    Still, never gone get anything from FIFA-appointed officials when Madrid are playing. The whole world of football is a stitch up. At least spurs are honest in their approach and exciting to watch.
    4th? No probs now our whole 1st XI is fit

    • I have to agree. Apart from the Dawson handball in the first leg, we didn't get a single decision, even when we were the home team. It just goes to show how much better you have to be, than if the playing field was level, against the favoured teams to actually win. Last season against Chelsea springs to mind when it was only after our third penalty appeal in 20mins did we finally get one. No such "luck" to jepodise an el classico.

  3. We had an unlucky draw, plus we are going through a bit of a slump probably partialy due to the enforced team changes and getting back into form from injuries.
    However the team has firmly entrenched the name of the mighty Spurs across Europe for many seasons to come – so job well done guys!

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