Dimitar Berbatov made a match-winning return to former club Bayer 04 Leverkusen, scoring the only goal as Tottenham Hotspur FC secured their passage to the UEFA Cup Round of 32.
No room for sentiment
Berbatov spent five and a half years at Leverkusen – scoring 69 Bundesliga goals in 154 appearances - prior to joining Tottenham last summer but there was no room for sentiment as the €16m Bulgarian striker swooped on 36 minutes, turning in the rebound after goalkeeper Jörg Butt had stopped Aaron Lennon's shot. Although Berbatov did not celebrate, his Tottenham team have plenty to smile about after this third straight victory in Group B. Leverkusen, on the other hand, have much to do having taken just one point from a possible six so far.
It was a deserved success for Martin Jol's side who created plenty of opportunities on a wet night at the BayArena. Berbatov threatened twice before finding the net – heading wide from a corner and then drilling an effort at former colleague Butt. The 25-year-old had chances to add a second too, notably when he missed the ball completely after Steed Malbranque's cross had set up a straightforward-looking finish in the second half.
Michael Skibbe's men stepped up a gear after the break, with Paul Freier and Andriy Voronin both forcing goalkeeper Paul Robinson into action. The closest Leverkusen got to an equaliser was in the 65th minute when Bernd Schneider rattled a post, while Voronin drew a smart stop from Robinson shortly afterwards. Yet for all Leverkusen's endeavour, the visitors continued to menace. Robbie Keane was denied by Butt after 64 minutes after one jinking run while Keane again and substitute Mido both spurned opportunities as Leverkusen tired in the closing stages.