Juande Ramos remains on course for an unprecedented three successive UEFA Cup triumphs after Tottenham Hotspur FC went to Belgium and picked up the point they needed to assure qualification from Group G.
Ramos, who has tasted success with Sevilla FC in the past two seasons, saw his side come back from behind against RSC Anderlecht when Dimitar Berbatov scored a penalty in the 71st minute after they had fallen behind to a Bart Goor effort just three minutes earlier. While the English side are now assured of a last-32 place the Belgian champions must now win their final game, against Getafe CF in a fortnight, to guarantee progress.
The match was the first meeting of the sides since Tottenham had prevailed in the 1984 final. It began at a high tempo with both teams showing attacking intent despite the driving rain in Brussels. Chances were at a premium, though, with only two attempts on target in the opening half hour – a low Jermaine Jenas effort for Tottenham followed by a shot from just outside the penalty area at the other end from Nicolas Frutos.
Anderlecht ended the half the stronger with Paul Robinson forced into the first serious save two minutes before the interval to keep out Marcin Wasilewski's drive. And after chances at either end early in the second period for Robbie Keane and Frutos, the home side broke the deadlock as Goor took advantage of an error by Michael Dawson to poke the ball in.
Within three minutes Tottenham restored parity, however. Jenas was felled by Jelle Van Damme and substitute Berbatov was calmness personified as he sent Daniel Zítka the wrong way from the penalty spot. Anderlecht might still have stolen the points when Robinson reacted smartly to keep out Cyril Théréau, but Tottenham held on to move into the next stage.
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