Last night’s game in the Santiago Bernebeu turned into a nightmare for all associated with Tottenham Hotspur. It had all looked so promising until half an hour before kick-off and then things began to unravel. The withdrawal of Aaron Lennon just before kick-off because of a sore throat set the tone, Peter Crouch’s stupidity made it worse before Ronaldo finished them off with the 4th with three minutes remaining.
When Crouch was sent off the game was effectively over; with Madrid one goal ahead already it meant Spurs had no out ball and failed to retain possession time and again. Whilst Assou-Ekotto, Dawson and Sandro excelled with a rear guard action the rest puffed and panted but failed to get near the level required to compete at this level.
It was a pity for the London side as the game could have been very different but for their brainless striker. Whether you think the referee was harsh or not, someone of his age, and experience should not be lunging at defenders away from home. The game was then Madrid’s for the taking and with attacking players like Di Maria, Kaka, Ozil and Ronaldo you are going to be punished.
In the dressing room at half-time Mourinho clearly gave Madrid a rollicking which was needed. They were too lethargic in the first half and lacked the killer instinct you associate with the top sides. Their second half performance was a marked improvement but they will need to improve vastly if they are to win the Champions League this season.
Whatever the outcome at White Hart Lane next week Tottenham should be very proud of their achievement’s in Europe’s elite competition this season. They were out of their depth last night but circumstances went against them. The experience will make their younger players stronger and more determined to play in this tournament year in year out.
Meanwhile for Madrid, another ‘el classico’ possibly awaits them in the next round; which would mean four games in 19 days between themselves and Barcelona – brilliant!