Lyon 1-1 Tottenham (2-3 agg): Dembele rocket fires Spurs into last 16
Tottenham’s difficult week in Lyon ended on a dramatic high when Mousa Dembele fired his team in to the last 16 of the Europa League with a stunning last-minute strike last night.
Scorers: Lyon - Gonalons (17); Tottenham Hotspur - Dembele (90)
Tottenham win 3-2 on aggregate
Maxime Gonalons, the Lyon captain, looked to have given Lyon the 1-0 win they required to advance with his first-half goal.
However, Dembele popped up in the 90th minute, hammering a blistering 25-yard strike past Remy Vercoutre to set up a mouth-watering third round tie against Inter Milan.
Much of the pre-match focus had been on the nasty attack by a group of 50 locals which hospitalised three Spurs fans last night. But Andre Villas-Boas’ team looked like failing to give their vocal supporters a pick-me-up after a dire first half.
Dembele was one of the worst offenders. The Belgian’s passing, and that of Scott Parker, was very sloppy and Kyle Walker was given the runaround by Lisandro Lopez.
Gareth Bale had inspired Spurs to a first leg win with two stunning free-kicks but he missed a golden chance to give them a crucial goal in the second half, sidefooting wide while unmarked. That looked like being it for the Londoners but Dembele provided the magic they required with just 30 seconds remaining.
Amid a cacophony of noise coming from the Virage Nord, Spurs had looked like a team on the edge from the start. Clement Grenier swung in a teasing corner in the first minute, keeper Brad Friedel was caught in two minds and Jan Vertonghen put in an emergency clearance before Lyon could pounce.
Grenier tested Friedel again soon after, whipping over a looping ball but Alexandre Lacazette could only head into the goalkeeper’s arms.
Other than the lively Lewis Holtby, who was making his second start, Tottenham failed to impress.
Careless defending from Benoit Assou-Ekotto let Lacazette break free down the right but, luckily for the Cameroonian, referee Wolfgang Stark brought play back for a foul.
Bale, so devastating in the first leg, was anonymous for the first 15 minutes. The first time the Welshman had a say in the course of the game was when his shoddy marking allowed Lyon to break the deadlock after 16 minutes. Walker fouled Lisandro and, when Grenier clipped the free-kick to the near post, Bale turned away from Gonalons – who beat a rooted Friedel from eight yards.
Walker was having a poor game at right-back. The England defender was booked soon after for fouling Samuel Umtiti. He was not the only one underperforming, though.
Parker and Dembele were painfully slow in possession in midfield while Emmanuel Adebayor struggled up front on his own.
Villas-Boas came to the edge of his technical area looking concerned, and he had every right to be worried.
Spurs came out much more confidently after the break but they needed a superb save from Friedel to deny the ever-impressive Grenier.
Adebayor hooked the ball on to the top of the Lyon bar and Aaron Lennon had a penalty appeal turned down soon after.
Clint Dempsey went close twice soon after his introduction, and it seemed Spurs were destined to fail.
Dembele had other ideas, however, dropping his shoulder to beat Grenier before hitting a powerful long-range shot beyond Vercoutre.
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