• Young Boys 3-2 Tottenham, Champions League qualifier

Roman goal keeps Spurs in hunt

August 17, 2010
Sebastien Bassong gave Tottenham hope with a fine headed goal © Getty Images

Young Boys v Tottenham gallery

Tottenham Hotspur's first taste of Champions League football proved to be a baptism of fire as they were beaten 3-2 by Young Boys in the first leg of their qualifier.

Young Boys were sensational early on and after striking the post in the first couple of minutes, raced into a 3-0 lead through Senad Lulic, Henri Bienvenu and Xavier Hochstrasser.

Sebastien Bassong gave Spurs a lifeline with a headed goal before the interval and after Young Boys missed a string of chances to put the tie to bed, Roman Pavlyuchenko, who had been poor for much of the match, rifled home a late strike to raise hopes of a turnaround at White Hart Lane next week.

Every one of Harry Redknapp's four changes from Saturday's Premier League opener against Manchester City backfired in the first half, with Pavlyuchenko, Giovani dos Santos, Wilson Palacios and Bassong all well off the pace.

The visitors had been heavy favourites to progress over two legs, though Young Boys' shock win at Fenerbahce in the last round meant they were not to be underestimated. And they immediately proved as much during a frantic opening in which Tottenham were all at sea.

Lulic struck the post in the second minute, Benoit Assou-Ekotto was booked in the fourth, and Young Boys were ahead seconds later.

Thierry Doubai's long-range shot hit the back of Ammar Jemal and fell kindly for Lulic to sidefoot home.

Giovani would have equalised three minutes later but for a sprawling save from Marco Wolfli, while Jermain Defoe fired over from 20 yards.

Young Boys were fully deserving of their early lead © Getty Images

But Spurs' shocking defending continued and they were 2-0 down in the 13th minute when stand-in captain Michael Dawson slipped near the halfway line, allowing Bienvenu a clear run on goal and which ended with a neat finish.

Defoe somehow failed to connect with a wonderful Pavlyuchenko cross, before Spurs conceded a third in the 28th minute.

The visitors were undone by a simple sliderule pass from Moreno Costanzo and Hochstrasser made no mistake to blast the ball over the onrushing Gomes.

Jemal went close to making it 4-0 with a free-kick over the bar before Redknapp responded to the malaise nine minutes before half-time by withdrawing Assou-Ekotto for Huddlestone. Tottenham desperately needed to score and Bassong came up trumps three minutes from half-time, his towering header from Gareth Bale's corner beating boyhood Spurs fan Scott Sutter on the line.

Redknapp threw on Niko Kranjcar for Luka Modric during the break and Spurs certainly made a better start to the second half than they had the first. Pavlyuchenko dwelt on Kranjcar's inside pass 12 yards out, then poked Bale's wicked cross over the bar from half the distance.

Pavlyuchenko fired over from 25 yards in the 65th minute, moments before Young Boys brought on Christian Schneuwly for Costanzo and Redknapp made his final change, Robbie Keane replacing Defoe.

Bassong was booked for dissent after Bale was harshly adjudged to have fouled Schneuwly and Bienvenu almost rubbed salt into the wound when he nodded over the resulting free-kick.

Bienvenu then became the first Young Boys player cautioned after cynically hauling back Kranjcar.

The hosts were now looking to hit Spurs on the break and almost did so to devastating effect 12 minutes from time when Schneuwly's first-time shot whistled over the bar.

Schneuwly blazed over again and It proved costly for the hosts as Pavlyuchenko finally came good seven minutes from time to get Tottenham well and truly back into the tie.

The Russian dummied Vedran Corluka's ball and Keane picked out his resulting run, from which he lashed the ball past Wolfli at the near post to put the tie back in the balance.

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