Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 1 Lyon

Match info: Europa League - Round of 32 at White Hart Lane

Date: 14/02/2013 KO: 20:05 Ref: P Proenca Att: 31,762

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

Tottenham

Gareth Bale 45+1,90+3

2
vs
1

Lyon

Samuel Umtiti 55

FT (ht: 1-0)

  • Last Updated: February 14 2013, 23:59 GMT

Andre Villas-Boas heaped praise on Gareth Bale after his match-winning display put Tottenham in the driving seat against Lyon in their Europa League clash.

Gareth Bale scored two goals for Tottenham
Gareth Bale scored two goals for Tottenham

An under par Spurs side were dragged over the line by the in-form Welsh winger, whose fine season continued in the first leg of their round of 32 tie at White Hart Lane.

The north Londoners went in at the break ahead after a Bale free-kick on the stroke of half-time, although Lyon looked to have secured a draw through Samuel Umtiti's thumping effort 10 minutes into the second half.

Bale, though, had other ideas, firing home another stunning free-kick in stoppage-time to give Villas-Boas' side a 2-1 lead heading to central France.

"Incredible," the Portuguese said. "Not only his all-round game but the ability he has to strike these free-kicks.

"The ball gains so much power when he strikes it and it changes direction very, very easily.

"Today we saw not only two great moments of brilliance but three as their goal was absolutely fantastic, too.

"It played out to be an excellent game. Maybe the first half was a little more exciting as in the second half both teams struggled to get the ball on the ground and get it moving.

"It was a bit sloppy but we saw some moments of individual brilliance and Gareth was fantastic once again."

Tonight's strikes mean Bale has scored seven goals in his last five matches for club and country, again leading to suggestions he is among the best players in the world.

Asked if Bale was up there with the Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, Villas-Boas said: "Yeah, he is going through a great individual moment.

"I think you have to recognise that. He is scoring lots of goals for the team and I think this is his best goalscoring season for Tottenham.

"You can see the player is enjoying his football and getting a buzz out of it.

"Once things like this happen, individual players keep their motivation high and they are able to help the team reach their objectives."

Tottenham now have seven days to prepare for the second leg in France, which Villas-Boas believes is delicately poised due to Umtiti's strike.

"It is difficult," he said. "Their goal can obviously represent a lot for them.

"We are a team that normally scores away from home so we hope to cancel their away goal in some way.

"We are going to set out the same way - to try to attack and score.

"Even if they score before, we are going to attack to try to cancel out this goal. Obviously it gives them an initial advantage in the beginning."

Defeat was harsh on Lyon after an impressive all-round display in north London.

It was particularly galling for manager Remi Garde, once a player at rivals Arsenal.

The Frenchman, though, believes Les Gones can turn things around on home turf.

"Well, what I would say is that in the tie we are still just at half-time, aren't we," Garde said.

"It is the same feelings I might have at half-time in an ordinary game. We lost the first set, if you like.

"The main thing is we come away from here with one away goal and we've got the second leg to come.

"We will maybe approach that slightly differently now after a harsh result.

"If you look at how the game developed, I think it is quite a harsh result and not quite what we deserved but it is only half-time."

Garde's main frustration after the match was the performance of Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca and his team of officials.

"Let's see what sort of referee we get in the second leg," he added.

"Let's see if he blows for free-kicks that are free-kick, or free-kicks that aren't really free-kicks or award a penalty if it is a proper penalty. Let's wait and see."


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