Tottenham beat FC Twente 4-1 to record their first Champions League group victory on an extraordinary night at White Hart Lane, which saw them awarded three penalties and have a man sent off.
Rafael van der Vaart saw the first spot-kick saved and the Dutchman was then sent off. Roman Pavlyuchenko converted the other two however, with the excellent Gareth Bale wrapping up victory with a late fourth on Wednesday.
On a wet night in north London it was the visitors who made the more assured start, with Bryan Ruiz close to opening the scoring on more than one occasion in the first 15 minutes.
Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes pulled off a fine save to foil the clearest opportunity, which came after Tom Huddlestone had been caught in possession in his own half. The Brazil international stuck out a glove at precisely the right moment to stop Ruiz from chipping him.
Midfielder Huddlestone was then involved in an incident that saw Twente forward Marc Janko go down clutching his face. There had been contact with Huddlestone’s elbow but referee Terje Hauge from Norway handed out only a lecture.
Van der Vaart’s free-kick for Tottenham only just eluded Peter Crouch right in front of the far post but the Dutch champions replied with a move that saw Janko fire a first-time effort just wide.
Twente goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov was suddenly at the centre of attention in the 39th minute when Peter Wisgerhof hauled Crouch down for an obvious penalty.
First the Bulgarian was shown a yellow card for time-wasting and then pulled off a fine save to tip Van der Vaart’s penalty on to his right-hand post and behind.
The former Liverpool man, who never made an appearance for the Anfield club, was off his line when he made it however.
Van der Vaart’s revenge was not long in coming however as he broke the deadlock within two minutes of the restart. Huddlestone’s ball into the box was headed down by Crouch and Van der Vaart applied a fine finish on the turn.
Tottenham’s second arrived three minutes later when Bale was brought down inside the box on the left by Roberto Rosales and Roman Pavlyuchenko sent Mihaylov the wrong way from the spot.
Twente were back in the game before the hour mark however when substitute Nacer Chadli, who had come on for Emir Bajrami in the first half, beat Gomes after an effort from Douglas had been blocked in the box.
Then Van der Vaart, who had been booked in the first half for a foul on Nicky Kuiper, received a second yellow card for a lunge at Rosales.
But fortune favoured Tottenham once more when referee Hauge awarded them their third penalty of the night when Pavlyuchenko’s speculative drive hit defender Wout Brama, who was backing away, on an arm.
The Russian converted his second spot-kick of the night.
Bale burst through to make it 4-1 with five minutes remaining for the ten men.
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