Gareth Bale dazzles again as Spurs seal famous Inter win
Gareth Bale terrorised the Inter Milan rearguard for the second time in a fortnight as Tottenham announced themselves to Europe’s elite with a breathtaking win at White Hart Lane.
Summer signing Rafael van der Vaart opened the scoring following an excellent exchange with midfield partner Luca Modric. Bale’s dazzling second-half showing then saw him set up goals for Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko after Samuel Eto’o had restored hope for Rafael BenÃƒÂtez’s side ten minutes from time.
Van der Vaart was rushed back into the starting line-up despite limping off against Manchester United on Saturday with a hamstring strain. And the gamble paid dividends for Harry Redknapp when the Dutch international coolly fired past Luca Castellazzi after 18 minutes.
Bale, fresh from his stunning second-half hat-trick at the San Siro two weeks ago, regularly left Brazilian right-back Maicon stranded with his alarming turn of pace and natural agility.
And it was the 21-year-old’s speed on the ball which helped create Tottenham’s second of the night after 61 minutes. Bale streaked past Maicon before delivering a delicious cross which lured Inter goalkeeper Castellazzi from his line and allowed Crouch to apply the finishing touch to an elegant move.
Inter boss BenÃƒÂtez persisted with the 4-2-3-1 system which he implemented with much success at Valencia and Liverpool and the Spaniard appeared reluctant to change his tactics despite van der Vaart’s early strike.
He was, however, forced to take stock following the home side’s second goal and introduced the prolific Diego Milito and Brazilian prospect Coutinho in an attempt to claw his side back from the jaws of defeat.
For the first time in the match nerves appeared to sear through Redknapp’s men and Eto’o capitalised on an edgy few minutes for Spurs by slotting a sublime strike past Carlo Cudicini.
But just as the cluster of travelling Nerazzurri fans began to believe their side could complete a comeback, up stepped the tireless Bale to leave his final mark on the two-game encounter with the reigning champions.
The Southampton youth product tipped the ball ahead of Maicon and effortlessly speeded past the exhausted defender. Bale’s pace was only matched by substitute Pavlyuchenko who applied a simple finish to a curling low cross from his team-mate.
Redknapp was full of praise for his left-winger after the match. “The way the boy can run and run and run against a right-back who is rated by everybody as the best right-back in the world. What he has done to [Maicon] over the last two games is just unbelievable.
“He has great ability. He not only has pace but can run and run all day.
The Spurs boss added: “He’s got the ability to cross the ball with the left foot. He’s got the ability to shoot and to dribble and to head. He’s got everything. He is also a great lad, believe you me.