Mar 14 2013
Emmanuel Adebayor answered the racist taunts of Inter Milan fans by scoring a killer away goal on a night that ended with a 4-1 defeat for Tottenham.
Tottenham crushed Inter 3-0 in the first leg, but the Italian giants completely outclassed Andre Villas-Boas' shellshocked side in the first 90 minutes this time. Antonio Cassano put Inter ahead after 20 minutes and Rodrigo Palacio made it 2-0 after the break before William Gallas stabbed the ball into his own net to level the tie at 3-3 on aggregate.
Inter laid siege to the Spurs goal in the hunt for a killer fourth, but the visitors held on and Adebayor scored against the run of play in the first period of extra-time. Inter scored again through Ricardo Alvarez to bring the tie level on aggregate, but Adebayor's away goal was enough to see Spurs through to the last eight of the Europa League.
The match action was a thrilling advert for the often-derided competition, but the night was tarnished by racist abuse from the home fans towards Adebayor. The Togo striker, who has suffered racist abuse in the past, was the target of monkey chanting.
Cassano headed home a Kyle Naughton cross to beat Brad Friedel with 20 minutes gone. A flare went off in the home end and Inter's fans found their voice. Villas-Boas sprung to his feet and began ordering his team to remain calm.
Inter did not relent but had to wait until the second half to reduce the deficit further. Cassano found Palacio with a through-ball and he curled a shot beyond Friedel to make it 2-0. Villas-Boas threw on Lewis Holtby and Aaron Lennon in a bid to give his team more impetus.
Inter's quest to find a third looked set for failure until they won a free-kick 25 yards out with 15 minutes to go. Cassano struck the wall with a powerful low effort but it squirmed through and Gallas stuck out a leg and poked the ball past an off-balance Friedel.
Two minutes into injury time Gallas missed a horrible challenge on Esteban Cambiasso, but the Argentinian shot wide from 10 yards. Villas-Boas gathered his team together after the referee signalled led the end of the normal 90 minutes and Tottenham seemed reinvigorated by the talk from their manager.
Samir Handanovic saved well from Aaron Lennon and Jan Vertonghen, while Gallas headed wide unmarked from eight yards. Adebayor did not miss the target moments later, however, stabbing past Handanovic after the Inter goalkeeper spilled Mousa Dembele's shot.
The 2,000 travelling fans erupted in ecstasy, but they were back biting their finger nails again in the 110th minute when Ricardo Alvarez nodded home from Cassano's cross to make it 4-4 on aggregate. The away goal meant Tottenham remained on course to go through, and despite late attempts from the home side Villas-Boas' team held on to enter the hat for the quarter-finals.