Sevilla ends Tottenham European dream

Tottenham 2 Sevilla 2 (Sevilla win 4-3 on aggregate)

Tottenham’s second-half comeback at White Hart Lane was not enough to keep their European dream alive as Sevilla knocked them out to reach the UEFA Cup semi-finals.

The Spanish side extended their lead from the first leg with two early strikes, the second from former Spurs striker Frederic Kanoute, which left the hosts needing four goals.

Jermain Defoe came on to pull one back before Aaron Lennon gave them hope, but the Spanish side held on despite the scare, their pacy attack illustrating why they are second in La Liga.

Kanoute has scored 19 times in the Spanish league this season but the Mali marksman is merely one part of their efficient attack, with support from Dani Alves and Adriano on the flanks meaning

Spurs effectively had to deal with four forwards when the visitors broke.

It proved too much for a Spurs defence that had Ledley King returning after more than three months out with feet problems, and Teemu Tainio deployed as a makeshift full-back.

King received a huge ovation before kick-off, with a sharp contrast in atmosphere to that of the first leg of the quarter-final when Spurs fans accused Spanish police of unprovoked attacks.

Spurs boss Martin Jol used his programme notes to tell fans that a win would be “for you all” following the scenes at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, but their European dream looked over after just three minutes when Sevilla opened the scoring.

Their highly-rated coach Juande Ramos had stated that defending a lead was not in his nature.

Alves looked to attack from the start and earned a free-kick which was headed behind by King.

Jose Luis Marti’s corner was met by Christian Poulsen and Steed Malbranque sliced his clearance on his line into his own net.

Kanoute should have immediately doubled the lead when he headed wide from Aleksandr Kerzhakov’s cross, but he was not made to wait long for his goal. In the eighth minute, Kanoute exchanged passes with Kerzhakov before shimmying his way past goalkeeper Paul Robinson and slotting home.

Spurs needed four goals and were urged forward but greeted with a sea of florescent shirts guarding David Cobeno’s goal.

The visitors were also accused of time-wasting, the familiar dark act of Spanish football, but Ramos’ team also attacked swiftly as their best form of defence.

However, Robbie Keane had sight of goal when Dimitar Berbatov slipped him through but was forced too wide, while Berbatov struck the post before the break.

They switched Lennon, who got little change from Antonio Puerta, to the left flank for the second half but still struggled to break down the visitors.

Didier Zokora felt he should have had a penalty following a challenge by Javi Navarro but play was waved on, and it took the introduction of Defoe after 65 minutes for Spurs to pull one back.

The England striker steered in from close range with his first touch after latching on to Keane’s scuffed shot.

Lennon then bundled home in the 67th minute after Berbatov’s cross found its way to the back post.

Despite being urged forward by fans, it was Sevilla who came closest to scoring next, Robinson forced to save from Puerta late on from a low drive. Puerta then tested the England goalkeeper from closer range, with the Spanish side holding on for victory and Tainio sent off for a challenge on Sevilla’s full-back.

Michael Dawson stabbed Spurs’ best effort into the ground and over the bar, with home fans clinging on to tame penalty shouts to restore parity.

Spurs still preserved their unbeaten record at home in the competition but now only have European qualification to play for this season, their small consolation being that Sevilla will probably be in the Champions League.

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