Clint Dempsey scored twice as Tottenham took their Europa League quarter-final tie against FC Basel to extra time only to lose on penalties. In a match where the advantage swung one way and then the other, the mountain finally became too high for Spurs after playing the extra thirty minutes with ten men as Jan Vertinghen was dismissed in the final minutes of normal time. Basel dispatched their first four penalties with confidence while Tottenham scored just one, their seventh consecutive penalty shoot-out defeat.
FC Basel 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (aet) [Agg. 4 - 4 Basel won 4 - 1 on penalties]
Scorers: Salah, Dragovic Dempsey (2)
Team: Friedel; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton (Assou-Ekotto); Dempsey, Parker (Huddlestone), Dembele (Carroll), Sigurdsson; Holtby; AdebayorÂ Subs: (unused) Lloris, Livermore, Caulker, Coulthirst
Brad Friedel returned in place of Hugo Lloris and Kyle Naughton started at left back with Jan Vertonghen partnering Michael Dawson in central defence. Kyle Walker, having missed last week’s tie due to suspension returned at right back. The midfield was as played against Everton with Emmanuel Adebayor as the only striker.
Tottenham started positively knowing that they needed to win the match or have a high scoring draw to progress to their first European semi-final since winning the UEFA Cup in 1984. FC Basel appeared more restrained than in London a week ago and it was Tottenham who gained the early advantage when Dempsey scored after 23 minutes. Jan Vertonghen attempted a pass through the middle towards Dempsey and when the Basel central defender misjudged it, the ball fell for Dempsey to take past the goalkeeper and knock into an empty net. The away goal was vital to Tottenham with Basel having scored twice at White Hart Lane.
Spurs were ahead on aggregate but unfortunately were unable to build on that as four minutes later they allowed Basel back into the tie. A pass from Mousa Dembele on the right was intercepted and with Spurs having been looking to get forward, Basel attacked with pace and Salah was able to hold off the challenge as Spurs tried to recover and placed the ball past Friedel. The goal encouraged Basel who held the advantage due to their away goals.
Spurs worked hard and ten minutes before the interval they created a chance for Dembele whose shot was punched out by the goalkeeper, past a stretching Gylfi Sigurdsson and then when Adebayor was played back in, his shot lacked power. Basel finished strongly with quick passing although Naughton had a shot saved by the goalkeeper as he cut in from the edge of the area. A free-kick in the final seconds was deflected out for a Basel corner.
At the start of the second half, Totenham had an Adebayor header saved by the goalkeeper from a corner but two minutes later Basel took the lead when a corner to the near post was flicked on and blocked by Friedel. The ball fell for Dragovic to knock home. The task facing Tottenham was getting that much more difficult as they needed to score again to take the tie to extra time. Spurs showed great endeavour and application and forced Basel back as they defended inside the Basel half with Vertonghen and Dawson pushing forward. Good play by Walker, Lewis Holtby and Adebayor saw Tottenham threaten but the striker’s shot went past the post. Then Naughton had a shot blocked as the home side defended in depth.
A Scott Parker shot was blocked for a corner and Dawson’s header was pushed into the air by the goalkeeper and collected under pressure. Basel finally responded as Friedel saved a low shot. With eight minutes to play, Tom Huddlestone who had replaced Parker, played in a free-kick and when it was cleared out to him, he returned the ball into the area, finding Dempsey who managed to force it home past Sommer. Level at 2 – 2, it was either side’s game. Friedel made a good save as Basel pushed forward but with four minutes remaining a Walker cross went across the area having taken a deflection off a Basel defender which took it too far ahead of Dempsey.
In the final minute, Vertonghen was sent off for a foul, bringing a player down as he broke through on goal. Extra time saw Basel the stronger team as Tottenham tried to hold on with ten men. Basel hit the outside of the post with a powerful shot from distance with Friedel beaten while Spurs only chance to threaten came from a rare corner or free-kick. Dawson had a weak header gathered by the goalkeeper but as time wore on they were totally out on their feet. In a last gasp effort with time running out, Adebayor got away but was crowded out as Sigurdsson battled to get forward in support.
The penalty shoot-out came to its sad and almost inevitable conclusion as Basel confidently hit home four powerful penalties, giving Friedel no chance. Spurs were immediately on the back foot when Hudddlestone’s penalty was saved by Sommer. Sigurdsson scored the second but Adebayor put the third high and wide.
Tottenham’s long Europa League campaign came to an end – they had left themselves too much to do after last week’s draw and injuries to key players had taken their toll, leaving Andre Villas-Boas with few options. Spurs battled to the final whistle but they lacked the pace needed to threaten a well drilled defensive line-up and over the two games, Basel deserved to go through as Tottenham were constantly trying to play catch-up.
Spurs now have ten days to recuperate, recover and re-group for their final six matches as they attempt to make a Champions League finish, starting with Manchester City at White Hart Lane on Sunday week – the mountains don’t get any smaller.