Dutch international Rafael van der Vaart helped lift Tottenham Hotspur to a dramatic 4-1 Champions League victory over Eredivisie champs Twente Enschede at White Hart Lane Wednesday. After a dramatic but scoreless first half Spurs netted twice in five minutes to take a 2-0 lead. Twente answerred back five miutes later to cut the deficit in half. But Spurs would go on to score two more goals even after van der Vaart had been shown a red card.
The first half, while scoreless, had plenty of talking points and end-to-end action that saw scoring opportunities come and go for both sides. With less than five minutes gone by on the clock Tottenham’s Alan Hutton had his shot cut out by Wout Brama. Moments later Twente midfielder Theo Jansson fired a dangerous ball into the area that went just wide of the post.
Pavlyuchenko had a good opportunity in the 11th minute but he to fired his effort wide of target. Bryan Ruiz nearly opened the scoring for Twente a moment later when he dusted Tottenham’s back four and got a shot off on target forcing Tottenham keeper Heurelhio Gomes into making the save.
Rafael van der Vaart put in a stand out performance throughout the match. His 18th minute effort from the top of the box was curling towards the target when it was pushed away by Twente keeper Nicolay Mihaylov. Five minutes later van der Vaart fired the ball in from a corner for Peter Crouch who narrowly missed heading it home. Then in the 37th minute the Dutchman launched a terrific shot from the top of the 18 that unfortunately went straight into the arms of Gomes.
Pavlyuchenko to could have given Spurs a first half lead when he fired a cracking shot from distance that was punched away by the keeper. The match took a dramatic turn when van der Vaart got onto the rebound and crossed it in for Crouch who was wrestled to the ground by Peter Wisgerhof. The referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. Van der Vaart stepped up to the mark and while being encroached by several Twente players took his shot which was saved by Mihaylov. Replays revealed that the keeper had come off his line early.
With mere minutes remaining in the first half, van der Vaart received a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Nicky Kuiper.
Van der Vaart did manage to find the back of the net for Spurs just one minute into the second half with a dramatic volleyed strike that could easily be considered the goal of the tournament thus far. Five minutes later Roman Pavlyuchenko doubled the lead with a penalty kick from the spot which was awarded after Gareth Bale was felled just inside the area by Roberto Rosales.
Twente’s only goal came in the 56th minute when the ball fell to the feet of Nace Chadli who while loitering on the edge of the area, slotted it through a crowd of players into the back of the net.
Five minutes later van der Vaart received his second yellow card of the evening and was ejected from the match after a flying tackle on Rosales.
A moment later Spurs were awarded another penalty kick after Rasmum Bengtsson used his arm to block a shot from Roman Pavlyuchenko. The Russian international stepped up to the mark and handily chipped the ball over the shoulder of Miahylov who was diving the wrong way.
Tottenham scored their fourth and final goal with just five minutes left on the clock. Garth Bale swept in on a ball that had been poorly cleared by Franco Douglas and slotted it in between the near post and the keeper settling the score at 4-1 for Tottenham.