Champions League - Real hammer 10-man Spurs
Tue, 05 Apr 21:38:00 2011
Real Madrid comprehensively beat 10-man Tottenham 4-0 to assume a commanding aggregate lead after the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Emmanuel Adebayor capitalised on slack marking from Jermaine Jenas, who stepped in for Aaron Lennon just prior to kick-off, to put the hosts in front with a firm header in the fourth minute, before Peter Crouch was sent off for two reckless challenges on the quarter hour.
Real piled forward in their droves in search of a second goal, and it came in the 57th minute as Adebayor again rose to convert a pinpoint cross, this time from Marcelo, to beat Heurelho Gomes and double his side's lead.
A stunning strike from Angel Di Maria saw Jose Mourinho's side further stretch their advantage in the 72nd minute and Cristiano Ronaldo lashed home a volley in the 87th minute to effectively decide the tie with Spurs' hopes for the second leg at White Hart Lane all but extinguished.
Both sides received big fitness boosts as Gareth Bale and Ronaldo were handed starting berths. Crouch, who had previously found the net seven times in eight Champions League starts, was employed in a lone-striking role for Spurs, while former Arsenal forward Adebayor led the line for the hosts.
There was drama just minutes before kick-off as Lennon was reported by Redknapp as having been "taken sick", and Jenas was handed a last-gasp place in midfield.
The result was a lack of organisation at the first set-piece of the match, and Adebayor rose high, having evaded the marking of Jenas, to head powerfully beyond Gomes and put the hosts in front in just the fourth minute.
Spurs' misery was compounded in the 15th minute as shoddy marking was swapped for sheer mindless indiscipline as Crouch, who had been booked in the seventh minute for a wild lunge on Sergio Ramos, produced an exact replica to scythe down Marcelo and earn a red card.
The German referee Felix Brych encountered minimal protests from the visitors, with Crouch more frustrated at his own rash challenge than at the decision.
Spurs were held firmly under the cosh for extended periods, but possessed an ominous outlet in the shape of Bale, who produced a typically searing and explosive run to outstrip Sergio Ramos and find the side netting with a drive from a tight angle on the half hour.
Six minutes later, Pepe earned a yellow card for a wildly mistimed challenge on the flying Welshman. The Portugese will subsequently miss the second leg as a result of the caution.
Real were determined to swiftly double their lead, and they might have been awarded a penalty three minutes before the break as Di Maria drove a fierce shot from the edge of the Spurs box, only to see it handled by Michael Dawson.
The Spurs captain was fortunate not to have conceded a spot kick, with replays showing the defender with both arms above his head as referee Brych was again left to wave away fervent appeals from the hosts.
Redknapp introduced Jermain Defoe at the break with Rafael van der Vaart making way for the diminutive forward in what was a purely tactical change, but the visitors were forced to weather a ferocious Real storm in the ensuing minutes at the start of the second half.
The hosts unleashed wave upon wave of attacks, before eventually they assumed a two-goal lead just before the hour mark as Marcelo dinked over a pinpoint delivery, and Adebayor looped a precise header over Gomes into the far corner of the net.
Xabi Alonso looked utterly imperious in the middle as he caressed the ball around with consummate ease and in mesmerising fashion as Spurs were forced to chase shadows for periods of the second half.
Adebayor almost clinched a hat-trick of headers in the 66th minute as he rose majestically once more to nod an exquisite delivery from Mesut Ozil towards the top corner of the net, only for Gomes to tip the ball over the crossbar at full stretch.
Real's pressure was incessant, and the hosts added a third in the 72nd minute as Di Maria unfurled a stupendous strike with the ball flying unerringly into the far corner of the net after the Argentine had cut in incisively from the right.
Mourinho seized the opportunity to introduce Kaka and the returning Gonzalo Higuain late on and, after having seen his nine-year unbeaten home record ended by Sporting Gijon on the weekend, the Real boss will have been delighted by his side's response.
For Tottenham, the evening could hardly have unfolded in a more devastating fashion, and an ankle injury for Vedran Corluka late on was followed by a volley from the irrepressible Ronaldo, whose 38th goal of the season effectively ended the tie as a contest.
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