Match Of The Week: Milan 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Perhaps this what they mean when they speak of the importance of qualifying for the Champions League. Milan away, in the last sixteen of what is, for better or for worse, Europe’s premier club competition. The San Siro excels in evenings of high drama – it could even be argued that it is architecturally theatrical – and there are few clubs on the whole continent as experienced in this particularly rarefied air as Milan. Yet tonight, Tottenham Hotpur, for five full decades the bridesmaids of London football, never mind English or European football, gate-crashed the party and came away with a win that ranks alongside the cream of anything that they have managed during their years in the relative wilderness. Moreover, this was a Spurs team shorn of its creative heartbeat. Luka Modric, the waif-like genius through whom so much of their best football is played, and Gareth Bale, whose masterclass against Internazionale brought him to the attention of a full continental audience for arguably the first time, were both missing from this evening’s team. In other words, this was a Spurs starting eleven that could only scrape out of what could be described as third gear. Tonight, however, they made the best of these shortcomings, and played taut, attractive football of a type that few have managed to pull off against Milan at this venue over the years....

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