Spurs in group stage for first time

With 4-0 victory, Tottenham Hotspur moves past Young Boys in Champions League

The team is heading into the Champions League group stages for the first time after the return of the glory, glory nights at the Lane.

Peter Crouch's hat-trick and Jermain Defoe's fine finish turned around a 3-2 first leg deficit against Young Boys of Switzerland to secure our place amongst Europe's elite.

How apt that Crouch, the man whose goal secured fourth place in the Premier League back in May, was the man to grab the headlines. 

And incredibly, man of the moment Gareth Bale also provided the assist for all four of our goals!

We can now look forward to the draw and who we'll play in the group stages - and we won't have to wait long as it takes place tomorrow night, 5pm UK time.

Harry Redknapp made two changes from Saturday's win at Stoke.

Ledley King returned to lead the side in place of Younes Kaboul with Defoe back up front to partner Crouch as the manager reverted to a 4-4-2 system from the 4-5-1 that did so well at the Britannia Stadium.

Crouch erased for good the memory of the first leg in Bern - or at least the first 28 minutes, when we conceded three goals - by opening the scoring inside five minutes.

The big man must have thought he was dreaming as Bale lifted a cross to the far post and he was left unmarked, eight yards out, to plant his header into the corner.

The much-needed fast start was delivered and the aggregate score already level at 3-3.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto let a couple of shots fly and Tom Huddlestone uncharacteristically miss-hit a half-chance in the box but the crucial second goal wasn't far away.

Bale was involved again, this time clipping a pass to Defoe who had plenty to do, but controlled, turned Francois Affolter and fired home off the inside of the post. Thirty-two minutes on the clock and we were ahead on aggregate.

Defoe was inches wide one-on-one before a spirited reply from Young Boys before the break.

They went close twice - Ammar Jamal's volley dipped inches wide before Henri Bienvenu wasted a glorious chance, heading over from six yards as Gomes and Michael Dawson hesitated.

Gomes looked to be struggling with a leg injury early in the game and it was no surprise to see the goalkeeper replaced by Carlo Cudicini for the second half.

Bienvenu had another decent chance to get the visitors back into it but shot straight at Cudicini - and that was their last chance.

We took over from there. Bale's teasing cross was somehow cleared away from Defoe by Moreno Spycher and first King, then Crouch, were left wondering how they failed to convert from the corner that followed.

Our next corner provided the third goal, and the goal that killed the tie. It was a goal of simplicity as well as Bale curled in an inswinger and Crouch rose to power home.

Bale's header was palmed out by Marco Wolfli after 66 minutes and Crouch's crowning moment arrived 10 minutes later.

It was Bale, yet again, who was the provider as his burst into the box was abruptly ended by Senad Lulic's challenge.

Lulic was red carded and Crouch was soon celebrating his goal-den moment, drilling the spot kick into the bottom corner.

He might have had a fourth as well - Wolfli denied him from close range late on - but the damage had well and truly been done.

Roll on next month - and matchday one of the Champions League group stages. Now that sounds good, doesn't it!

Spurs (4-4-2) - Gomes (Cudicini, 46); Corluka, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Palacios, Huddlestone, Bale (Kranjcar, 81); Crouch, Defoe (Pavlyuchenko, 61). Subs: Kaboul, Jenas, Giovani, Keane.

Young Boys (4-1-4-1): Wolfli; Sutter (Regazzoni, 61), Affolter, Jemal, Spycher; Doubai (C Schneuwly, 81); Degan, Costanzo (M Schneuwly, 61) Lulic, Hochstrasser; Bienvenu. Subs: Burki, De Pierro, Raimondi, Mayuka. 

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