A vibrant attacking display by Tottenham Hotspur FC was rewarded with a healthy first-leg round of 16 home win against FC Internazionale Milano.
The game was only six minutes old when Gareth Bale opened the scoring, with Gylfi Sigurdsson adding a second soon after. Jan Vertonghen made it three early in the second half, yet Inter may rue not taking two huge chances that would have given them a decent foothold in the tie.
Given Bale's recent form and his starring role during Spurs' last meetings with Inter in 2010/11, it was little surprise that the Welsh international dominated much of the build-up. The man of the moment duly rose to the occasion too, continuing his incredible goalscoring run when he headed in Sigurdsson's right-footed cross from the left.
Jermain Defoe nearly struck a second immediately after but was denied by the strong hands of Samir Handanovič, before Bale picked up a booking that will rule him out of the second leg. Spurs were looking dangerous, though, and went two up in the 18th minute when Mousa Dembélé and Aaron Lennon combined to tee up Defoe. Sigurdsson had to jump out of the way of the England striker's shot, and was rewarded for his athleticism when he tucked in the rebound.
Tottenham seemed in control, but Inter served a reminder of their threat just before half-time when Antonio Cassano played in Ricardo Álvarez. The Argentinian just had Brad Friedel to beat but screwed his left-footed shot wide. The Serie A team were coming back into it, but the break checked any momentum they were building and, in the 53rd minute, they fell three behind when Vertonghen firmly headed in Bale's corner.
The hosts were playing with supreme confidence: a Bale surge and shot was followed by a Defoe effort smartly saved by Handanovič, before the goalkeeper denied Lennon at point-blank range. It was Inter who should have scored next, however, when Friedel stuck out a leg to deny a clean-through Rodrigo Palacio. It was a miss they may regret next week at San Siro.