TOTTENHAM’S rollercoaster ride in the Europa League came to a dramatic end last night as they suffered penalty shootout heartbreak in Basle.
Scorers: Basle - Salah 27. Dragovic 49; Spurs - Dempsey 23, 82
Basle win 4-1 on penalties, 4-4 on aggregate (2-2 on away goals)
Clint Dempsey put Spurs ahead, before Mohamed Salah and Aleksandr Dragovic scored to put Basle on course for victory. Dempsey took the tie to extra-time with just eight minutes of normal time remaining – but Tottenham’s task was then made much harder by the injury-time dismissal of Jan Vertonghen.
Basle threw everything at the Londoners in extra-time, but they could not find a way through and the game went to penalties.
Tottenham had not won a penalty shootout since 1994 – and it showed. Tom Huddlestone and Emmanuel Adebayor both missed from the spot while Basle converted all four of their efforts to send Andre Villas-Boas’ team crashing out. Despite their hard work last night on a ground where Bayern Munich and Manchester United were defeated last year, a dramatic run that has included red cards, an off-the-pitch stabbing, racist chanting, and two last-gasp wins, has now ended.
Basle dropped deep early on in the game in an attempt to keep Spurs’ attack at bay and it was clear it would take something special to breach their two rigid banks of four, and that was exactly what Vertonghen produced in the 23rd minute.
The Belgian sliced open the Basle defence with a pass that left Dragovic flat on his backside and Dempsey rounded goalkeeper Yann Sommer before slotting into an empty net.
Villas-Boas jumped for joy – but he was soon cursing his luck after Mousa Dembele’s error allowed Basle to level.
Mohamed El-Nenny intercepted a sloppy pass from the midfielder and worked the ball out wide to Marco Streller, who found Salah – who poked the ball past Brad Friedel.
Spurs started the second half more lively, with Adebayor testing Sommer, but Basle raced up the other end and won a corner thanks to Friedel’s hesitancy in dealing with Streller.
And Tottenham were made to pay from the resulting flag-kick as Friedel palmed Schar’s header straight to Dragovic, who smashed in from close range.
With 17 minutes left Sommer saved well from Michael Dawson’s header, but Basle still looked as if they would hold on.
That changed in the 83rd minute, however, when substitute Huddlestone delivered a well-crafted chip that Dempsey drilled under Sommer.
Vertonghen made life tougher for his team when he tripped Streller as he ran through in the 90th minute and received a straight red card.
Despite being dominated by Basle in extra-time Spurs held on for penalties but their European adventure ended there.
FC Basle: Sommer, Philipp Degen, Schar, Dragovic, Park, El-Nenny, Fabian Frei, Die (Diaz 58), Salah (Alexander Frei 111), Stocker (Steinhofer 70), Streller. Subs Not Used: Vailati, David Degen, Cabral,Sauro.
Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton (Assou-Ekotto 78), Dembele (Carroll 59), Parker (Huddlestone 77), Holtby, Dempsey, Sigurdsson, Adebayor. Subs Not Used: Lloris, Livermore, Caulker, Coulthirst.
Referee: O Benquerenca (Portugal).