Tottenham 2 Basel 2: Three lessons as Gareth Bale injury causes concern
Tottenham 2 Basel 2: What lessons did we learn after a bad night for Spurs was made worse by a nasty-looking Gareth Bale injury?
Basel add injury to insult for Spurs
Much of the pre-match talk centred around Gareth Bale and how important his performance was going to be. In the end, the Welsh international didn’t prove to be as effective as he has been all season. In truth, he was anonymous for large periods of the tie, as he floated between positions in an attempt to get a hold on the game. Basel’s defence did well to contain him and the Swiss side will have been delighted to prevent him from scoring. To add to this, in the 88th minute, Bale went down under an innocuous challenge on the byline, clutching his ankle. Andre Villas-Boas will be hoping that he can recover quickly and in time for the return leg, but the signs don’t look too good. Considering that the north Londoners haven’t won a match without a Bale goal since New Year’s Day surely means that Basel will be confident of reaching the semi-finals now.
An entertaining first half
Following a rather uninspired opening 30-minute spell, the match suddenly burst into life as Basel began to take control. Firstly, Valentin Stocker opened the scoring in the 30th minute after Marco Streller’s shot had rebounded off the post and into the path the Swiss international. He made no mistake from six yards out, and gave Basel some real hope of winning the tie. Then, a mere four minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead through Fabian Frei. Tottenham failed to deal with a corner swung in from the right side and Frei, completely unmarked at the back post had an easy task to head the ball into the back of the net. It looked as though Murat Yakin’s men would go on and grab another a few minutes later as they began to dominate proceedings. However, Tottenham soon sprang into life and grabbed themselves a lifeline just before half-time through Emmanuel Adebayor’s 42nd minute strike.
In the end, Spurs could only manage a draw but in truth, it was the Super League side who probably deserved the victory as they showed tremendous spirit and skill over the course of the 90 minutes. In particular, Egyptian international Mohamed Salah showed flashes of brilliance time and time again as he made the job of William Gallas and company extremely difficult. The visitors will clearly be happy with the draw and their two away goals, as the result puts all the pressure on Villa-Boas’ charges to go to St Jakob-Park next week looking for a win. Interestingly, Basel have remained unbeaten at home all season, as they’ve transformed their ground into quite a fortress. It’s difficult to see Spurs getting the win they need for the return leg, and their fans will be hoping they can draw on some of the determination and courage they displayed against Inter Milan in extra time in the previous round.