MOTD- FC Basel (4)2-2(1) Tottenham Hootspur

FC Basel have surprisingly beaten Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 on penalties, after the match ended 2-2 after extra time, to earn the Swiss side a spot in the Europa League semifinals . The match started slowly with both teams felling their way into the match. Although Tottenham were the first side to come out of the early slumber, Fabian Schar almost put Basel in front in the third minute with a long range free-kick that dipped just wide of the post. Spurs kept up their dominance, but still allowed Basel to counter-attack, and Murat Yakin’s side again almost took the lead when Marco Steller played a neat one-two with Philipp Degan down the right flank, before chipping a beautiful cross to Mohamad Salah, only for Salah to hoick his acrobatic volley over the bar. Tottenham were still dominating possession, and took the lead in the twenty-third minute through a horrendous Basel mix-up. From the center circle, center-back Jan Vertonghen played a through ball straight through the middle, which Aleksander Dragovic should have easily cleared at the back, but slipped, and ended diverting the ball straight into the path of Clint Dempsey, who rounded Basel goalkeeper Yann Sommer and poked the ball into the back of the net.

Amazingly, it took only three minutes for Basel to equalize, when Mousa Dembele’s wayward pass was intercepted by Streller inside Tottenham’s box. Steller released Salah in down the right with a through ball, and Salah, after taking a bad first touch, just managed to poke the ball past Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedal into the back of the net. Just as Basel were starting to look dangerous, Tottenham forced a fine save out of Sommer. Kyle Naughton sent a low cross into the box, which Dempsey cut back to Dembele edge of the area, and Dembele curled a effort towards the far post, forcing Sommer to parry it away. Tottenham looked like they could grab the lead before the end of the half, but couldn’t, and after three minutes of added time the first half ended 1-1.

Although not starting the second half particularly brightly, Basel were up within three minutes, with Valentin Stocker curling a corner to the near post. Schar flicked a header straight at Friedal from the near post, and Friedal could only manage to parry it straight to Dragovic, who fired it into the roof of the net. Despite Tottenham doing a good job of bouncing back from the goal, Basel almost put the game to bed, with Dragovic, all alone in the box, glancing a header just wide of the far post following a free-kick from the left.

Tottenham were struggling to get a foothold in the match, and Basel again almost put the match to bed when El-Nenny’s swerving long range effort forced Friedal into a good save. But Basel couldn’t capitalize on their chances, and after Scott Parker almost headed Tottenham in front in the seventy-sixth minute, Spurs grabbed an equalizer. Tom Huddleston’s long ball somehow found Dempsey in the box, who’s slow volley managed to squirm into the back of the net after Sommer had elbowed it into the ground. With only seconds left in the match, Basel almost grabbed a winner when Streller was put through on goal, but Vertonghen clipped his heels bringing Steller down, giving the referee no choice but to send Vertonghen off. Despite being a man up Basel could not score, and with the score 2-2, the match entered extra time.

Basel almost took the lead in the eighth minute extra time, and El-Nenney’s thumping effort from thirty yards out slammed off of the post. Tottenham defended for their lives, and five minutes into the second half of extra time, Michael Dawson performed wonders too block Alex Frei’s effort from six yards out. Basel found not find the net though, and the match moved on to penalties.

Schar Copley converted the first penalty Basel, before Sommer tipped Huddlestone’s penalty just wide. Streller, Glfyi Siggurdson, and Fabian Frei all made their penalties, but Adebayor missed his, sending it over the bar. Diaz stepped up, and coolly won the match for Basel with a penalty straight down the middle, sending Basel into the semifinals.
Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey


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