Real Madrid set up a mouth-watering Champions League semi-final against Barcelona after Cristiano Ronaldo’s second-half goal completed a comprehensive aggregate defeat of Tottenham Hotspur.
Ronaldo’s speculative 50th-minute effort, fumbled into his own net by Heurelho Gomes, ended any faint hopes of a Tottenham comeback and confirmed Madrid’s progression to a record 22nd semi-final in the competition. Their first since 2003.
Tottenham may have tried to deliver on their manager Harry Redknapp’s pledge that “nothing is impossible” but for the competition debutants this was a bridge too far against José Mourinho’s side, whose defensive discipline was underlined by an eighth clean sheet in ten matches.
Madrid almost got off to a dream start after only two minutes when a quick one-two with Emmanuel Adebayor sent Mesut Özil clear on the right but the German sent a tame left-foot effort straight at Gomes.
With Gareth Bale on the left and Aaron Lennon on the right, Spurs really caused Madrid trouble on the flanks and they had three good shouts for penalties in the first 20 mins. Had the referee agreed with the Spurs fans and given them, this game could have been a lot more difficult for Madrid than it was.
As it was the longer the game went, the more susceptible Spurts became to the Madrid counter-attack. On one of these attacks, a Ronaldo shot from 25-metres bounced out of Gomes hands and into the net. A really sot goal to concede.
Tottenham heads did not drop and they came close to bowing out with a consolation. Pavlyuchenko nodded Van der Vaart’s cross on to the roof of the net; substitute Jermain Defoe drew a fingertip save from Iker Casillas and later headed a corner against the far post. The goal did not come and Spurs Champions League adventure is over. Spurs attacking style won them fans across Europe and neutral fans will be hoping that Harry Redknapp’s team is back in the competition next season.
As for Real Madrid, they are back in the semi-finals and they get to play Barcelona 4 times now in three weeks, with the La Liga title, Spanish Cup and a place in the Champions League final at stake. The eyes of the footballing world will be on Spain in the coming weeks.