Glory sweet for Basel, Spurs devastated
Friday, April 12, 2013
Shoot-out defeat meant "a cruel, cruel night" for Tottenham Hotspur FC's Michael Dawson, but victory was "historic" for FC Basel 1893's Serey Die and had "the sweetest taste" for Fabian Frei.
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Midfielder Serey Die saluted retiring forward Alexander Frei after FC Basel 1893 eliminated Tottenham Hotspur FC on penalties to reach the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.
The outcome reminded Fabian Frei of another rain-hit success against Premier League opposition, their 2011/12 UEFA Champions League defeat of Manchester United FC. Clint Dempsey's two goals had forced the tie into extra time, where Spurs played with ten men after the sending off of Jan Vertonghen. The goalscorer hopes the setback – called "cruel" by team-mate Michael Dawson – can spur the north London club on to a strong finish domestically.
Serey Die, Basel midfielder
It's historic. I'm very happy for all the team and for all of the supporters. Before the penalty shoot-out, we had a lot of confidence in Yann Sommer and we knew that he would save at least one penalty; we knew it would be enough to get through.
We were concentrating during the match on not conceding but after Dempsey's [first] goal, we had to respond. We woke up then and did everything we could. Then we turned the game and everything went well but when it became 2-2, we became scared of going out of the competition.
This was Alexander Frei's last game on this stage and his retirement is a loss for Swiss football but it was also important to show strong the Swiss standard of football is in general.
Fabian Frei, Basel midfielder
I don't know how I feel right now. You will remember these moments all of your life. This is a life of a professional footballer – in three days' time we have another game, so we already have to focus on that. We can't celebrate because the next opponents are just around the corner. It's the same as the match last season against Manchester [United] – the same feelings but the semi-finals for us are even greater. This is the sweetest taste.
Clint Dempsey, Tottenham striker
We were disappointed that we conceded the first goal in the way that we did and the second one, from a set piece, is frustrating. But we showed a lot of character for our second goal and playing a man down during extra time to get to a penalty shoot-out. When it comes to that, anything can happen – we were unlucky.
The legs were tired [at the end of extra time] so it was just about trying to rest as much as possible and have confidence and do the best with the shots that we had. But when you don't convert your penalties, it puts pressure on the next taker and in the end, we weren't able to stop any and we weren't able to score enough.
Everybody's upset with the result but like at any time in life, when you get knocked down, you have to focus on the next thing in life and that's the league and finishing in the top four.
Michael Dawson, Tottenham defender
It's a cruel, cruel night but that's football, that one has to win and one has to lose. After going down to ten men late on in the 90 minutes, we dug in and fought well during extra time and that's credit to the team, because we were the underdogs coming here after the first leg performance that we put in.
We're all devastated that we haven't gone through to the semi-finals. We were feeling confident going into penalties – we've been practicing and I believed in the boys. Tom stepped up and you have to give their goalkeeper [Sommer] credit because it's an excellent save and that can set the tone. But that's football.
We wanted to win the competition – the manager has said that since day one but it wasn't to be. Our fans who travelled out here were fantastic – they stayed until the end, they were cheering and unfortunately, we weren't able to send them home happy.