Monday, July 23, 2018

Champions League preview: Tottenham v Real Madrid

Real Madrid are expected to rest several stars for their Champions League second leg clash against Tottenham on Wednesday.

The nine-time European champions handed their opponents a 4-0 belting in the quarter-final first leg with an Emmanuel Adebayor brace and goals from Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo completing the rout.

Jose Mourinho is expected to give much-needed playing time to some of his lesser-known squad members against Spurs.

Kaka has endured an injury-plagued time in Madrid since his expensive transfer from AC Milan.

But he scored twice, both from the penalty spot, in La Liga action on Saturday against Athletic Bilbao, and is expected to start at White Hart Lane.

Mourinho also has five players on yellow cards.

Ricardo Carvalho, Sergio Ramos, Raul Albiol, Ronaldo and Di Maria are all one card away from missing the expected semi-final clash with fierce rivals Barcelona.

But they will be careful not to throw away the tie and their place in the semi-finals of one of two competitions they have a realistic chance of winning, given their slim hopes of clinching the La Liga title from Barcelona who lead by eight points.

Tottenham have improved markedly since Harry Redknapp’s arrival from Portsmouth two seasons ago but will need a miracle if they are to overturn the massive deficit from the first leg while also avoiding the conceding of an away goal.

Spurs, despite claiming the scalps of Italian giants Inter and AC Milan, were powerless to stop the Real Madrid juggernaut last week.

The Londoners, who recorded a tough 3-2 league victory over Stoke City on Saturday, have scored only three goals in their past five matches – in contrast to their opponents, who have netted 12.

Striker Peter Crouch was sent off in the first leg after receiving two cautions so will miss the White Hart Lane clash.

Redknapp admitted the likelihood of scoring five goals past goalkeeper Iker Casillas was faint, but refused to accept defeat.

“It has been a great experience so far and I am sure it will be a huge occasion on Wednesday, we will give it our best shot and see what happens,” he said.

“I am not resigned to defeat yet I am realistic. It couldn’t be more difficult than trying to score five goals against Real Madrid.”


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