Spurs clinch last eight spot

Tottenham earn a place at the top table of European football holding off Milan in their second-leg Champions League tie.

    William Gallas clears off the line for Spurs after a Robinho effort nearly wiped out their advantage [GALLO/GETTY]

    Tottenham Hotspur advanced to the European Champions League quarter-finals holding seven-time winners AC Milan to a 0-0 second-leg draw on Wednesday.

    Spurs survived a barrage of pressure from the Italian side at White Hart Lane, but the result in the last-16 second leg allowed the London side to secure a 1-0 aggregate victory.

    While Milan were sharper and more dangerous than at home, the Serie A club couldn't find a way past Tottenham, who are playing in the European Cup for the first time since 1962.

    Harry Redknapp's side were under the cosh for long periods of a tense encounter, but Milan were unable to penetrate a Spurs defence superbly marshalled by William Gallas and Michael Dawson.

    In the evening’s other game, Schalke 04 also advanced to the top eight when two goals from Jefferson Farfan helped them come from a goal down to beat Valencia 3-1 and complete a 4-2 aggregate win.

    Defensive performance

    Milan, seeking to reach the last eight for the first time since winning their seventh title in 2007, failed to do that for the fourth successive season, despite creating the better chances.

    Spurs, who won 1-0 at the San Siro, could not press home their advantage but the English Premier League team gave a resolute defensive performance.

    "It's a huge night for us,'' said Tottenham striker Peter Crouch, who scored the only goal at the San Siro.

    "We defended magnificently - we had to dig in and defend from the front and I think we deserved it over the two legs.''

    Milan have now been eliminated by an English side in the last-16 phase in three of the last four seasons since lifting the trophy four years ago.

    The loss leaves Inter Milan as Italy's last hope of reaching the final in north London at Wembley Stadium in May.

    The first leg ended in a touchline fracas sparked by the hosts - particularly Gennaro Gattuso, who was suspended for the return leg. Tempers were a lot calmer in London, but there was far more intensity from Milan, who were more dynamic and attack-minded in the first half.

    While Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes pushed a free kick from Zlatan Ibrahimovic wide, the Brazilian goalkeeper didn't look so assured in the 25th minute.

    After racing off his line and mis-timing his dive, Gomes was rounded by Pato, who crossed to Robinho. The resulting shot spun off Benoit Assou-Ekotto and was only hooked off the line by William Gallas.

    Little threat


    Tuesday March 8

     Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal
     Shakhtar 3-0 Roma

    Wednesday March 9

     Schalke 3-1 Valencia
     Tottenham 0-0 Milan

    Tottenham offered little threat. Rafael van der Vaart shot wide after two minutes, sent a free kick over on the half-hour and fired a low shot at Christian Abbiati - the first on target from the home side.

    But the speedy play that has been the hallmark of Tottenham's debut campaign in the Champions League was more evident at the start of the second half.

    From the restart, however, Spurs squandered a chance when Aaron Lennon crossed into the penalty area and Crouch headed across the face of goal rather than directing it at the net.

    There was another letup for Spurs in the 67th when Gomes blocked Robinho's close-range effort and the loose ball was eventually scrambled clear.

    "It's a great achievement for this club to be in the last eight of the Champions League," said Redknapp.

    "We worked our socks off out there tonight against a really good team who came here to play.

    "It was hard work. It's a difficult position to be in bringing back a 1-0 lead as you are caught between trying to defend the lead and also going for a killer blow."

    In Germany Valencia took the lead through Ricardo Costa on 17 minutes before Peruvian Farfan levelled with a well-struck free kick.

    Swiss Mario Gavranovic, who replaced injured Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, took advantage of some sloppy defending to score with a low drive off both posts seven minutes after the restart to put them ahead before Schalke's Farfan added his second in stoppage time.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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