MOTD- Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 FC Basel

Tottenham Hotspur have come back from behind to beat FC Basel in an exciting night at White Hart Lane, while Gareth Bale was carried off on a stretcher in the second half.  Basel surprisingly started the match brightly,  with Murat Yakin’s side starting very physically.  The Swiss team almost opened the scoring in the tenth minute when Marco Streller flicked a pass to Markus Steinhofer on the edge of the area.  Steinhofer hit a shot on goal, and Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedal did well to parry the shot.  The chance wasn’t over though, and when Basel recovered the ball they played it to Fabian Frei on the left, who sent in a low cross to Streller.  Streller’s shot from two yards out was straight at Friedal, but Basel didn’t let the chance go, with Valentin Stocker recovering the ball and hitting a fierce volley just over the bar.

After a shaky opening Tottenham started to come out of their shell, with Kyle Naughton’s deflected volley going inches wide of the post in the twenty-sixth minute.  Amazingly, it was Basel who opened the scoring in the thirtieth minute when Stocker managed to wriggle through the Tottenham defense.  Stocker played it to Mohamed Salah down the right, and Salah played it to Streller in the center of the box.  Streller turned on goal with the ball, only for his low shot to slam against the post.  It was a horrible miss, but luckily for Basel the rebound fell to Stocker, who slammed it into the back of the net from six yards out.

Tottenham were shaken by the goal, and more bad defending led to allowing Basel to double their lead only two minutes later.  Stocker sent a corner to the near post, which Tottenham center-back Jan Vertonghen could only head out as far as Frei.  Frei hit a strong header from the center of the box through the mob of players and into the back of the net, to give Basel an unlikely 2-0 lead.  Seconds later Basel almost doubled their lead when Frei headed Stocker in on goal, but Stocker’s cheeky chip over Friedal went inches wide.

Despite Basel starting to dominate Tottenham managed to grab a goal just before the half when Scott Parker recieved the ball on the left side.  Parker chested it down and crossed it in to Emmanuel Adebayor, who tapped it into the back of the net from point-blank range.  The final minutes of the half were lively, with Parker missing a wide open goal from six yards out.  Neither side could score before the end of the half though, and after two minutes of injury time the first half ended 2-1.

Tottenham were exactly the same side in the second half as they were in the first:  bad at defending, good at attacking.  Basel almost capitalized on Tottenham’s bad defending in the fifty-fourth minute, with Salah speeding by Vertonghen on the right and forcing Friedal to kick away his goal-bound effort.  Seconds later Tottenham almost equalized, but Basel goalkeeper Yam Sommer somehow managed to push away Naughton’s vicious volley from thirty-yards out. In the sixtieth minute Tottenham amazingly equalized when Gylfi Sigurdsson’s goal bound effort from the left took a huge deflection off of Aleksander Dragovic, wrong-footing Sommer.  The shot flew into the net, making the score 2-2.  Basel desperately looked for an equalizer, with Salah shooting just over the bar after more bad defending from Tottenham let him in on goal, and Stocker’s curling free-kick forcing a good save out of Friedal at the top left corner of the net.  Despite Basel thrashing them, Tottenham managed to hold on even when William Gallas and Bale both got injured and could not continue, forcing Spurs to play with nine men as they had used all their subs.  After three minutes of injury-time, the match ended 2-2, with Tottenham luckily surviving with a draw.
Man of the Match: Valentin Stocker

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