Spurs defeat FC Twente in Champions League play

With a 4-1 victory, Tottenham Hotspur is tied atop the Group A table

Roman Pavlyuchenko GOal Celebration vs. Twente

Photo Credit: 
Mike Hewitt / Getty

Two penalties from Roman Pavlyuchenko proved to be the key in our first ever Champions League group stage victory on another memorable European night at the Lane.

Dutch champions FC Twente were beaten 4-1 after a rousing second half display from Harry Redknapp's men, much of which we played with 10 men after Rafael van der Vaart's dismissal on the hour mark.

Our very own Dutchman had earlier turned from villain to hero when he recovered from a first half penalty miss to put us in front against his fellow countryman just after the break.

And his sending off for a second booking just after the hour mark proved none too costly as Pavlyuchenko slotted home twice from the spot either side of a Nacer Chadli strike.

Gareth Bale settled things late on to take us level on points with Inter Milan at the top of Group A with the holders up next in this competition at the San Siro next month.

We were boosted by the return of Heurelho Gomes following the groin injury he picked up in our famous victory over Young Boys at the Lane a month ago.

He was one of four changes to the side defeated at West Ham on Saturday, with captain Ledley King and Benoit Assou-Ekotto also returning from injury and Pavlyuchenko partnering Peter Crouch up-front as we reverted to a 4-4-2 formation.

It meant Bale was pushed onto the left flank with van der Vaart on the right, and a return of the midfield pairing of Tom Huddlestone and Luka Modric that had served us so well in qualifying for this competition at the end of last season.

But Twente had qualified as Dutch champions, and they showed their worth in the opening exchanges.

Douglas was only inches away from connecting with Theo Janssen's inswinging free-kick after five minutes before Bryan Ruiz fired inches wide after former Wigan midfielder Denny Landzaat had a volley blocked by Sebastien Bassong.

Then the highly-rated Ruiz raced clean through on our goal after dispossessing Huddlestone and forced Gomes to get back to his best very quickly in attempting to lift over the grounded Brazilian. A superb one-handed save stood in the way of a Twente opener.

But after that initial shaky spell, we took control. Pavlyuchenko dragged wide our first chance from the edge of the box but better was to follow.

Van der Vaart was pulling the strings from midfield against his fellow countryman and forced the first save from Twente's Bulgarian stopper Nikolay Mihaylov with a low shot from the edge of the box before swinging in an excellent free-kick from the right that was just inches away from the head of Crouch at the back post.

He then tested Mihaylov further with a smart volley on the turn before our summer signing from Real Madrid was given the perfect chance just over five minutes from half-time.

Crouch was dragged down by Peter Wisgerhof in the box and van der Vaart stepped up hoping to score from the spot for the second time in his short Spurs career having converted a penalty in our last home game against Wolves in the Premier League.

But it wasn't to be this time as Mihaylov was equal to him with an excellent stop diving to his right.

A miss like that in a game of such high importance may have adversely affected many, but the character and determination van der Vaart showed to make amends must be noted.

Even before the break, he made sure Mihaylov was once again at his best, chasing on to Assou-Ekotto's well-directed clearance and volleying at goal, forcing another flying stop.

But there was nothing the visiting stopper could do just two minutes into the second half when van der Vaart controlled Crouch's knock-down inside the box and hammered another volley firmly home.

You could see how much his second Spurs goal meant to him, running to the dug-out to celebrate with the rest of the squad and coaching staff.

It was the perfect start to the half and things got even better when another penalty was awarded just moments later, this time after Roberto Rosales had brought down Bale.

And this time it was Pavlyuchenko who stepped up and confidently sent Mihaylov the wrong way and his team into a two-goal lead.

But Twente were quick to respond. Marc Janko headed onto the roof of the net before Janssen's free-kick caused havoc in our box and substitute Chadli hammered home on 55 minutes.

And when van der Vaart clattered into Rosales to pick up his second booking of the night a five minutes later, things were looking far less rosy for 10-man Spurs.

So it's just as well we remained on the front foot and were rewarded another penalty soon after when Nicky Kuiper blocked a Pavlyuchenko effort with his arm.

Again, the Russian was cool as you like with a cheeky chip that deceived an unmoved Mihaylov to restore our two-goal cushion.

Twente pressed hard looking for a way back into the game, with Chadli, Luuk de Jong and Rosales all wasting decent chances.

At the other end, a last ditch tackle from Douglas prevented Modric slotting home - but it was the Brazilian's misplaced header that resulted in the game being put out of sight five minutes from time.

Bale raced onto it and calmly slotted inside of Mihaylov's near post to give the scoreline a convincing look and hopefully start the ball rolling on what has been a stop-start beginning to our season overall.

Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Hutton, King, Bassong Assou-Ekotto; van der Vaart, Huddlestone, Modric (Lennon, 82), Bale; Crouch (Jenas, 66), Pavlyuchenko (Keane, 87)
Subs not used: Cudicini, Corluka, Kranjcar, Palacios

Twente (4-2-3-1): Mihaylov; Rosales, Douglas, Wisgerhof, Kuiper; Brama, Janssen; Ruiz, Landzaat (de Jong, 69), Bajrami (Chadli, 28); Janko
Subs not used: Boschker, Bengtsson, Parker, Vujicevic, Schimpelsberger