Tottenham 2 - 2 FC Basle: Spurs draw game, lose Bale
Scorers: Tottenham - Adebayor (40), Sigurdsson (58); FC Basle - Stocker (30), F Frei (35)
However, Tottenham are hoping Bale’s ankle injury is not as bad as it might have been after the forward was carried off on a stretcher close to the end of their quarter-final first-leg clash with Basle at White Hart Lane.
Bale went over on his ankle when challenging for the ball and stayed down in clear pain before being carried from the pitch. On first viewing the injury looked serious, but Villas-Boas is hoping for good news.
“He rolled on his ankle, at the moment there is a lot of pain, but hopefully not as bad as it could have been,” the Portuguese said.
“There is a big, big possibility he will be fit for the Man City game (on 21 April) and it will only take him out of two games.”
Basle arrived in north London with a reputation for giant-killing after last year’s defeat of Manchester United and Bayern Munich. The Swiss champions lived up to the hype, scoring two impressive away goals.
Valentin Stocker punished Kyle Naughton’s lax marking by slotting home the first and Spurs were 2-0 down by the 35th minute when Fabian Frei was left alone to head home a corner.
Emmanuel Adebayor’s fifth of the season and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s second-half effort brought the scores level.
Spurs were sloppy in possession at times and their reliance upon William Gallas, who had a particularly poor game, will worry their fans.
The Europa League may be derided as the ugly sister of the Champions League but the opening 45 minutes was a real humdinger of end-to-end action.
Gallas needed treatment after being clattered by Serey Die, and Tottenham soon came under pressure from the Swiss. Gallas gave Marco Streller half a yard and he fired at Brad Friedel, but the American saved well. Markus Steinhofer then shot just over with a powerful volley.
Kyle Naughton went close with a long-range effort and Bale tested Yann Sommer twice, but the Swiss continued to rattle the home defence.
Tottenham went 1-0 down after Benoit Assou-Ekotto gifted Basle possession with a needless punt upfield. Fabian Schar found Streller, whose shot rebounded off a post and fell to Stocker, who stroked the ball home.
Five minutes later Basle were 2-0 up. Jan Vertonghen accidentally flicked Stocker’s corner into the path of Frei, who directed his header beyond Friedel. Then Stocker shot just wide when he should have made it 3-0.
Spurs pulled one back seconds later. Adebayor completely missed the ball, but was given a second chance when Scott Parker’s shot fell into his path and he stabbed the ball past Sommer. Parker then wasted a golden chance just before the break.
In the second half Sommer pulled off a world-class save to deny Naughton from long range, but when the equaliser came Spurs needed a slice of luck, Sigurdsson slipping inside from the right flank and firing a powerful shot that would have gone straight at Sommer had it not taken a big deflection and looped over the keeper.
Friedel tipped Stocker’s free-kick around the post and Jacques Zoua shot wide from 10 yards as the Swiss pressed.
Spurs went down to ten men after Gallas hobbled off and Spurs ended up playing with nine men after David Degen stood on Bale’s ankle and he had to be carried off on a stretcher.
Tottenham: Friedel, Naughton, Gallas, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto (Dawson 57), Dembele, Parker, Lennon (Sigurdsson 24), Bale, Holtby (Dempsey 63), Adebayor. Subs not used: Lloris, Huddlestone, Livermore, Caulker.
Basle: Sommer, Steinhofer, Schar, Dragovic, Voser, El-Nenny, Die (Cabral 66), Salah (D Degen 84), F Frei, Stocker, Streller (Zoua 71). Subs not used: Vailati, Ajeti, A Frei, Sauro.