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Tottenham shocks AC Milan; Schalke, Valencia draw in Champions League

Peter crouch


For Harry Redknapp and Tottenham, the club's first-ever knockout match in the Champions League couldn't have gone any better with Spurs edging AC Milan, 1-0, at the San Siro. Peter Crouch was the hero for the English side, as the lanky forward scored his third goal in the Champions League this season.

Both teams fought the rainy conditions from the outset. Tottenham controlled possession early on but a speculative chip from Rafael Van der Vaart was the extent of legitimate chances in the opening 45 minutes. The addition of Brazilian Alexandre Pato at halftime vastly improved Milan's attack, and the home side looked to be in control after the break.

Ten minutes from time, though, Aaron Lennon broke free on a counterattack, sidestepped Mario Yepes and squared the ball to Crouch, who slotted it home from 12 yards out for Spurs' crucial away goal. Zlatan Ibrahimovic looked to have equalized at the death, but his overhead kick was disallowed after the referee spotted his push-off of Michael Dawson.

The fireworks didn't stop with the final whistle. After the match, Milan captain Gennaro Gattuso headbutted Spurs assistant coach Joe Jordan. The two had gotten into an altercation earlier in the match with Gattuso pushing Jordan in the throat. Both player and coach had to be held back and forced into their respective locker rooms, after players and staff from both teams converged on the touchline. Gattuso had already been ruled out of the second leg because of a yellow card he picked up in the second half.

Tottenham takes its 1-0 lead back to London when the two teams meet again on March 9. Here are highlights of the match:


Schalke 04 came from behind to earn a draw against Valencia, as the two teams take a 1-1 scoreline into the second leg, though the Germans have the edge via their away goal.

Roberto Soldado put the home side ahead in the first half by finishing off a Jeremy Mathieu cross. Valencia looked likely to extend its lead with sustained pressure, but chances from Artiz Aduriz and Ever Banega went begging.

Schalke scored its equalizer in the 63rd minute when Raul's left footed shot found the bottom right corner. The goal made the former Real Madrid player UEFA's all-time leading scorer with his 71st goal in European competitions.

The two sides meet again in Germany on March 9. Here are highlights from the match:


What did you think of both matches? Impressed with Tottenham's performance? Do you see AC Milan recovering in London? Who do you think will advance between Valencia and Schalke?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. You have to remember that coming in Milan was considered one of the hotter teams in Europe and Spurs were without Bale and Modric in the starting lineups.

  2. Yeah, but the head butting was done by a Frenchman. Getting an opponent riled up by uttering some filth is time honored in every sport. Those guys in the NFL aren’t telling one another to “have a nice day.” Actually, going by stereotypes, the french are often thought of as supercilious, but not hot headed. Zidane, however, was notorious for his anger for years.

  3. All I said was they reminded me of that Leeds team in how they play… They did play well defensively but the 1st half was all Spurs as well.

  4. Comparisons to Leeds are superficial at best; Leeds mortgaged their future to make their Champions League run then when they failed to make the tournament the following year they had to sell players.

    I’d also have to counter that while Spurs may have been all-out attack up to this game, but second time around in Milan Spurs put on an exceptionally disciplined and defensively grounded performance.

  5. You guys are all missing the point he made. It was an Italian making dirty comments about his sister which set Zidane off.

    That being said, the french can be just as hot headed. 🙂

  6. I agree – Milan has sucked for years. Tottenham is this years Leeds who barnstormed to the semi’s all those years ago by attacking nonstop.

    They won’t make the final, but don’t be surprised if a semi’s is on the cards depending on how the brackets shake out.

    And no, Barca will not win it…

  7. Nice to see Flamini has gone from being Arsenal’s most important player to a thug for Milan. Two horrendous tackles. Always been a fan of his in the past.

    Actually the one on Galas was pretty bad too. Maybe 3.

    Was wondering if the Totters were going to get the ball past midfield again for a bit. Then it was in the net.

  8. Not sure why people continue to call Spurs the “underdog” and how it is “shocking” that they won.

    They won their group and would have knocked out Inter if they had been in the knockout stages.

    Why all the disrespect?

  9. To be fair, anytime the Italians see a person sprint they pass out in shock. Then they think, holy crap, is it almost the 90th minute already?

  10. Agreed. If you’ve followed the CL for the last few years, AC losing in the round of 16 isn’t shocking, especially when they are relying the the lazy but brilliant pair of Robinho and Ibra to do something creative while the rest fouled, dove the rest of the match. Pato really needs to get out of dodge. AC are a joke and so is Serie A if that is the best team in the league. Side note, how bad must Gooch have done to not get in that side?

  11. I don’t know, some hard men like Chellini I like because of his warrior like mentality. I think a better way to describe Gattuso would be to call him an enforcer, which soccer certainly doesn’t need. Like you said, leave it for the NHL and NFL.

  12. I do hate the whole “hard man” thing in soccer. I love the sport, but come on, hard men are in the NHL and NFL. Facial hair, some tattoos, and an uncanny ability to remain on the field despite constant cheating doesn’t make you hard, it makes you a wanker.

  13. Your characterization of a whole nationality is disgusting. I remember the Zidane incident, do you? It was not an Italian that was hot headed, nor even a Frenchman, but an Algerian.

  14. He might look funny, but his work rate is top notch. I love watching a player go out there and leave everything he’s got on the pitch. Love Crouch!

  15. T’ham gave as good as they got, gattuso is animated and makes a show of it so he looks like he’s the only one behaving badly.

    t’ham looked better on their chances, so the result was inevitable. yepes looked reaaal bad against lennon on that goal.

    not sure about the “aging” line up for milan as the reason for the loss. that said, seedorf did look a step slow on a sequence or two which led to give aways.

    anyone see huntlears whiff?? shameful.

  16. Headline in the papers tomorrow: “Tottenham think they can win CL Final.” But do they believe it? Gareth being out this match could give them that belief.

  17. Yea, Sandro was excellent. He needs to carry that into the BPL though. Really impressed with him. The mileage he put in tonight…whoa!?!

    I would have to say Gomes was MOM for me though. Excellent saves to keep Tottenham in the game. He just had it all covered tonight. Without that, the counter of Lennon and Crouch would not be possible (and Ibrohimavic was terrible).

    I thought AC MIlan was like a balloon tonight — just full of gas and put under enough pressure, they would explode. If they came out to begin the match similar to their second half, they might have come away with all points. Serves them right though, they played like little p#$$ies.

  18. I was impressed with sandro and palacios. I thought they would be run over by milans technique, but they played their hearts out.

    Will fifa suspend gattuso further? didn’t he put his hands on two players faces, push a coach by the neck, and headbunt another?

  19. I knew once that assistant coach got headbutted that he was the wrong guy to mess with. The reaction he had, you just knew he was tough as hell. So I looked up who he was in his playing days and its safe to say that Joe Jordan would probably be done with Gattuso in under 5 minutes if they were in a room together.

    anyone nicknamed Jaws because of the james bond movie was prolly a badass during his playing days.

  20. To be honest, Tottenham’s win wasn’t that shocking to me. Milan’s narrow formation(4-3-1-2) was always going to make them very vulnerable to attacks down the flanks, something Tottenham are very good at, particularly with Aaron Lennon and a pair of good attacking fullbacks. God only knows what would have happened if Gareth Bale were healthy. Moreover, Milan are a very slow, aged side, making them especially vulnerable to the raw pace and energy of Tottenham.

    Either way, Redknapp and Tottenham have showed their ability to deal with European football. Both San Siro dwellers have been taken down by this club. They’re definitely my dark horse for Champions League finalist.


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