Spurs fall to Wigan Athletic 1-0
After our historic Champions League exploits of Wednesday night we were sent crashing back down to earth with a 1-0 Premier League defeat at the hands of Wigan Athletic at the Lane on Saturday.
Hugo Rodallega's strike eight minutes from time gave the visitors an unexpected victory that saw the form book thrown out of the window.
Spirits in N17 could not have been higher going into the game following our qualification for the group stages of Europe's elite competition for the first time having beaten Young Boys of Bern 4-0 in the second leg of our Play-Off just three days earlier.
That coupled with the fact we had put Roberto Martinez's side to the sword with a 9-1 victory on this ground in last season's corresponding fixture meant fans were understandably confident of making it seven points from our first three league games of the new season.
But despite the men from Lancashire coming off of back-to-back 4-0 home Premier League defeats which kicked off their campaign, this game was a far cry from that famous day last November.
Harry Redknapp stuck largely with the same formula that proved so effective in midweek, with just two enforced changes.
Groin and ankle injuries respectively ruled out goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes and right-back Vedran Corluka, meaning Carlo Cudicini and Younes Kaboul came in as direct replacements.
For Carlo it was a special occasion, his first competitive start since recovering from the serious injuries he sustained in a road accident last November.
And early on, it looked as though the experienced Italian would be the busier of the two goalkeepers, especially when Latics defender Steve Gohouri clashed a volley from a few yards out against our bar following a corner after eight minutes.
There was another scare three minutes later when James McCarthy dispossessed Benoit Assou-Ekotto and put in a low cross that Michael Dawson cleared against fellow centre-half Ledley King, sending the ball crashing into Cudicini's side-netting.
But we got going eventually without creating a great deal before half-time, although Jermain Defoe did go close twice as he looked to continue to be Wigan's worst enemy - the striker scored six against them in two games last season.
On 23 minutes Defoe forced a great save from Wigan stopper Ali Al Habsi, turning quickly on Assou-Ekotto's low ball and hitting a low, hard shot.
Five minutes before half-time, the striker showed great strength to hold off Mohamed Diame before poking a low shot wide of Al Habsi's post - but that was all in an opening 45 minutes that offered little to capture the imagination.
Niko Kranjcar and Roman Pavlyuchenko were introduced by the manager at the break in place of Assou-Ekotto and Peter Crouch - who failed to continue his goalscoring exploits from midweek.
And the pair looked to be making something of a difference, especially Kranjcar, as the game opened up at the start of the half, with the home side doing most of the pressing.
But again, next to nothing was created and, with around 20 minutes to go, the game was fading fast, along with any side's chances of claiming all three points.
However, as our attacking imagination began to wane, the visitors suddenly came out of their shell with about 10 minutes to go.
First we were given a scare when Antolin Alcaraz submitted an early contender for miss of the season, firing over from a yard out following a Diame-inspired counter-attack.
Then Rodallega picked out the on-rushing Jordi Gomez who got into the box and fired a rising shot just over Cudicini's bar.
And the sucker punch came on 82 minutes when Rodallega controlled a long ball well and fired low into the bottom left-hand corner from just inside the box, sending a small contingent of travelling fans into raptures.
In response, Tom Huddlestone rolled a shot inches wide of the post, Defoe fired into the side-netting, and Al Habsi was forced to make fine saves from both Kranjcar and Dawson.
Our last chance of finding an equaliser came and went in stoppage time when Kaboul got above Al Habsi to meet Kranjcar's ball, but could only direct a header wide.
We go into an international break now hoping to put this disappointment firmly behind us when we return to action with a trip to West Brom on September 11.
Spurs (4-4-2): Cudicini; Kaboul, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto (Kranjcar, 46); Lennon (Giovani, 73), Huddlestone, Palacios, Bale; Crouch (Pavlyuchenko, 46), Defoe
Subs not used: Alnwick, Bassong, Jenas, Keane
City (4-2-3-1): Al Habsi; Boyce, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Figueroa; Thomas, Diame; Stam (McArthur, 87), McCarthy, Rodallega; Boselli (Gomez, 68)
Subs not used: Pollitt, S Caldwell, Mustoe, Watson, McManaman
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