It’s Wales 2 the French 1 all over again. Second game in a row. And three free kicks scored in less than a week, now that normally takes at least a decade.
It as another pretty indifferent performance from Spurs in the Europa league. Lyon seemed to have come for the draw and yet again the home side struggled to breakdown a well organised defensive unit. It was two pieces of magic from Bale, sandwiching a bit from the visitors, that stood out from the rest of the mediocrity and sent Spurs into the second leg with a precious goal lead but an away goal against.
It was a night of repeatedly making the wrong decision by Spurs. Ball needed to be played early, it was held onto. Player needed to go right into acres of space, he went left into a crowd. Playing balls to Parker. Playing balls to Adebayor. Adebayor flicking the ball on.
Nothing worked bar triangles, push and run, one twos on the right side between Lennon and Walker. The few times they did it, it worked. Well it worked in that they got behind the defence and got balls into dangerous areas. Only problem there being no one being on the end of them. Adebayor being completely useless. Needing maybe to win over the crowd the striker did a bit of running about but it looked more like trying to look like he was making an effort rather than making an effort. A non Spurs supporter I watched the game with piped up during the game
hiding in plain sight.
One Bale cross from the left showed exactly as the winger charged towards the box Adebayor was jogging behind a defender then – in another example of his faults – ran in the wrong place to receive the cross. He has no anticipation of what’s going to happen. Permanently caught on his heels. When he did receive the ball he either lost it through a poor first touch or he just gave it away with a stupid flick.
Or he just back passes it to the ‘keeper as he did when one cross from the right found it’s way in front of an empty net. And yet through Bale and Adebayor was safely guided into the Lyon ‘keeper’s arms.
It really looked like it was going to be one of those frustrating nights. All viewed at that bloody horrible low camera angle. Until just before the break when Bale lined up to take one of those
He’s not going to have a go from there…. he is you know free kicks from about 37 yards out.
He’s got a new way of doing them. Gone the Ronaldo straight on toe poke into the valve at full pace. Now a leisurely slice under the ball with the side foot. Goalkeeper thinks it’s going to curl from his right to left. It looks like it’s starting that way and in anticipation the ‘keeper has already shifted his balance to his left if not taken a step. But the ball starts to float the other way. Slicing and dipping. ‘Keeper now has no chance.
But then that post half-time malaise set in. Trying to be patient and bring Lyon out now they were behind and create space it didn’t really work. Until 10 minutes in when Malbranque, making his return to the Lane – four and a half years after he left and 17 months after he quit the game – put a cross in from the right which Gallas yet again decided would be better to head it back and keep it in play than be safe and sure and play it out. Fining Umtiti all on his lonesome on their left he had a swinger and fired the ball into the top corner of the net. Friedel hadn’t a chance.
This got Lyon back into things. Now all of a sudden they realised that other players could have shots, it wasn’t just Gomis. Lacazette followed it up by dribbling through the defence and having a shot which was well saved by Brad.
Spurs needed a change. They needed some life. The breaks down the right had stopped, almost seemed to stop as soon as Umtiti was booked for his second foul on Lennon. Stopped when more could have brought a second booking and so wouldn’t have been there for his wonder strike.
AVB took too long before making the changes, having a bit too much trouble with the gate opening to the advertising in front of the dugout when he was trying to get to and from the pitch. It had been screaming out for Holtby since half time. But it didn’t come for another 20 minutes. His life and energy brought some back to the team. But he was also let down by those around him, Adebayor and Parker. The former should have been replaced by Holtby instead of Dempsey the latter by Livermore earlier than the 90th minute. About 90 minutes earlier. In between I couldn’t understand the replacing of Lennon.
All looked to be petering out to another Europa League draw when with pretty much the final kick of the game Bale lined up another one and he did you know…