The Champions League is all about money and the â€˜productâ€™. You donâ€™t so much host a CL game as submit to UEFAâ€™s will for 24 hours. Any thoughts you had on how things should be run go out the window. From the size of the advertising hoardings to the players warm up bibs via the VIP seats, the statistics on the big screen, the choice of refreshment, the mascots, the ticket price hikes, the camera angles and the pre-match fairplay announcements, everything is brought to you by the Champions League money making machine. How can a football match have a theme tune for Godâ€™s sake?
Despite this world of branding gone mad, White Hart Lane was last night home to a ninety minutes of nostalgia, spirit, breathtaking skill and glory. The evening had its hero in the shape of the extraordinary Gareth Bale but there were outstanding performances in the Spurs team from Huddlestone, Assou-Ekotto, Modric and Van der Vaart to name only a few. It seems churlish to leave out the efforts from Kaboul, Gallas, Lennon and by no means least Jenas, and one shouldnâ€™t forget Cudicini whose save from Sneijderâ€™s free kick at the end of the first half competed for the gameâ€™s pivotal moment with Baleâ€™s run and cross for our second goal.
From the off the crowd were involved and gave the evening the special â€˜Glory Glory Nightâ€™ atmosphere predicted by many. By the end the whole ground had arms in the air as choruses of â€˜Oh when the Spursâ€™ rang round again and again. The Italians had been given one half of the lower Park Lane and they watched silently as their European Champions were being ripped apart. Well before the end they were surrounded by an ecstatic and euphoric home crowd.
â€˜Taxi for Maiconâ€™ was one chant. Obviously the much-vaunted Brazilian will have little idea of the specifics of what that meant but given the torture and torment he was being put through by Bale heâ€™ll have got the general idea. Who wouldâ€™ve guessed that having suffered at the feet of the Welshman a fortnight ago Benitez and his experienced and worldly wise defenders would not just not be able to cope with him again, but would cave in so tamely. Lucioâ€™s unpunished two footed lunge at a hurdling Bale was the only time Inter tried anything of a lawless nature in attempting to stop him.
We started positively, ignored the swagger in the step of Etoâ€™o and Sneijder and set about tearing at the away teamâ€™s defence. After 18 minutes Van der Vaart confidently fired home the first from inside the area after great work from Modric. Crouch had been having one of his days where he appears to resemble a pile of tumbling Jenga bricks whenever the ballâ€™s at his feet but it was he who kept up with Bale after his scintillating run down the left on 61 minutes to side foot home number two.
At this point it appeared anything was possible as Inter looked shell-shocked. We couldnâ€™t make any further progress though and when Etoâ€™o whipped in a fine shot after 80 minutes we rocked a bit. The Italians improved when Coutinho and Milito came on allowing Sneijder to drop and look for a killer pass through the middle. Bale though had other ideas. A minute from the end he gave Lucio a ten-yard start and still beat him to the ball before crossing perfectly for Pav to wrap up the game and send the whole ground delirious. Pavlyuchenko summed up the mood by pointing and redirecting any praise for him onto to Bale as they returned to the halfway line. It was a night to remember for everyone but in particular it was Glory Glory Gareth Bale.
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