Basel break Spurs' hearts from the spot
Thursday, April 11, 2013
FC Basel 1893 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur FC (agg: 4-4, Basel win 4-1 on pens)
Two-goal Clint Dempsey forced extra time for the visitors before Basel secured a first ever last-four berth in the penalty shoot-out.
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Yann Sommer proved a spot-kick hero for FC Basel 1893 for the second round in succession as the Swiss champions eliminated Tottenham Hotspur FC 4-1 on penalties at the end of a 2-2 draw.
A scintillating match in regulation time was bookended by goals from Clint Dempsey, opening the scoring and then forcing extra time. In between, the hosts responded via Mohamed Salah and Aleksandar Dragovic, and although they could not profit from Jan Vertonghen's 91st-minute red card, Sommer denied Tom Huddlestone in the shoot-out before Emmanuel Adebayor missed. Marcelo Díaz buried the decisive penalty.
Attractive football was a priority for both teams despite a significant downpour, but Dragovic fell foul of the slippery conditions when he fell attempting to cut out a Vertonghen pass midway through the first half. That allowed Dempsey to skip beyond Sommer and side-foot into the unguarded goal.
The home supporters urged their players on and energised, Marco Streller swept a simple ball into the path of Salah, who stabbed a shot beyond Brad Friedel with the outside of his left boot from 20 metres.
Tottenham won the first UEFA Cup in 1972 as Friedel was nearing his first birthday, but it was Sommer who had the most work to do in the opening period. The Basel No1 beat away a curling effort from Mousa Dembélé before the more comfortable task of fielding Adebayor's low drive. When Friedel was called upon four minutes after the restart, he was only able to parry Fabian Schär's flick-on, with Dragovic predatory from close range.
Against Olympique Lyonnais and FC Internazionale Milano, André Villas-Boas had seen his side emerge unscathed late in the day despite almighty scares, and Dempsey made it a hat-trick of dramatic conclusions, finishing beyond Sommer's outstretched right hand on 83 minutes. Spurs went into extra time a man short, though, after Vertonghen was shown a red card for bringing down Streller in added time.
Basel were the more adventurous with the extra man, Mohamed Elneny driving against the woodwork from 25 metres and Alexander Frei taking up several superb positions after coming on as a substitute. Keeping cool heads in the subsequent shoot-out, Basel converted all their attempts. Díaz buried the decisive penalty after Sommer – who crucially saved a Roman Shirokov penalty against FC Zenit St Petersburg in the last-16 – saved low to his right from Huddlestone and Adebayor fired over.