Tottenham Hotspur falls in Champions League opener

Spurs down 3-2 heading into the second leg of playoff on August 25th

Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur

Photo Credit: 
Michael Steele / Getty

A first person narrative about Tottenham Hotspur's 3-2 loss to Young Boys in the Champions League opener.

Roman Pavlyuchenko and Sebastien Bassong kept our Champions League dream alive after we found ourselves 3-0 down in the first leg of our play-off at Young Boys on Tuesday night.

Russian striker 'Pav' lashed home the crucial second goal seven minutes from time as it finished 3-2 at the Stade de Suisse in Bern, Switzerland.

We still have to win the second leg at the Lane on Wednesday week, August 25, to progress to the group stages but we now have the benefit of two crucial away goals.

The dream of reaching the group stages of Europe's premier competition looked to be slipping away in the first half.

Before we knew it, we were 3-0 down with three fine finishes from Senad Lulic, Henri Bienvenu and Xavier Hochstrasser.

Thankfully, Bassong, in for Ledley King, powered home a header three minutes before the break to turn the game around. We were a different side after that.

Harry Redknapp changed things around from Saturday's goalless draw against City.

As expected, Bassong replaced King with Giovani in for Aaron Lennon on the right, Wilson Palacios for Tom Huddlestone centrally and Pavlyuchenko partnering Jermain Defoe up front.

But the pride and joy of hearing the Champions League anthem for the first time quickly turned into despair as we were caught in a whirlwind start from the home side.

Lulic had already hit the post before slotting home the first goal on four minutes, in the right place at the right time to convert after Thierry Doubai's shot deflected into his path.

Giovani was denied by Marco Wolflu in our first attack of note but it was a brief respite as suddenly Cameroon striker Bienvenu burst through the centre of our defence. There was no catching him and he finished well past Gomes one-on-one, 13 minutes on the clock.

We were starting to settle when Young Boys grabbed a third goal after 28 minutes.

This time Moreno Costanzo threaded the perfect pass through to Hochstrasser who blasted into the roof of the net from 12 yards.

Huddlestone made an early entry in place of Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who was booked early, with Gareth Bale switching to left-back and Modric to left midfield.

We needed a goal back and it arrived three minutes before the break as Bassong rose high to connect with Bale's outswinging corner.

Niko Kranjcar replaced Modric at half-time as we came out looking for a second goal.

We dominated possession and pushed Young Boys back but only created one serious chance as first Defoe and then Pavlyuchenko failed to get onto Bale's fine cross in front of goal.

Robbie Keane was our third substitute for the limping Defoe after 66 minutes.

There was a warning at the other end as Bienvenu headed just over and then a chance for both sides in a matter of seconds as first Huddlestone's flick from Bales's throw evaded everyone and then Scheuwly fired just over from Degen's cross.

Wolfli did well to touch over Pavlyuchenko's header with 10 minutes remaining and Schneuwly might have done better when Gomes clawed Degen's cross into his path, but he volleyed over.

What could well be the key moment of the tie arrived in the 83rd minute.

Vedran Corluka played into Pavlyuchenko, he stepped over and then took a return pass from Keane and fired into the top corner.

It was a goal of real quality just when we needed it most.

Pavluchenko went close again in injury time but it remained 3-2 - it's all set up for one of those glory, glory European nights at the Lane next week.

BSC Young Boys (4-5-1): Wolfli; Sutter, Affolter, Jemal, Spycher; Doubai, Costanzo (C Schneuwly, 65), Degan (Raimondi, 89), Hochstrasser; Bienvenu. Subs: Burki, M Schneuwly, De Pierro, Reganzzoni, Mayuka.

Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto (Huddlestone, 36); Giovani, Palacios, Modric (Kranjcar, 46), Bale; Defoe (Keane, 66), Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Cudicini, Kaboul, Lennon, Crouch.

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