Spurs meltdown in shootout

Adebayor,Huddlestone fail to convert versus Basel; Fenerbahce,Benfica advance

Written by Reuters | Published: April 13, 2013 1:11 am

FC Basel reached their first European semi-finals by beating Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 on penalties in the Europa League on Thursday after a dreadful miss by Emmanuel Adebayor in the shootout.

Clint Dempsey scored an 82nd minute equaliser for Tottenham to send the quarter-final second leg into extra time,which Tottenham survived with 10 men as the match ended 2-2 and 4-4 on aggregate. But it was all in vain as Togolese Adebayor casually leant back and fired his effort high and wide after team mate Tom Huddlestone had seen a previous penalty saved by Yann Sommer.

Defender Aleksandar Dragovic was hero and villain for the Swiss champions,gifting Tottenham a goal with a blunder in the first half but then scoring with a header while Dempsey scored both goals for the English Premier League side,who were missing the injured Gareth Bale.

Tottenham,the only former winners of the competition in the last eight,went ahead in the 23rd minute following a dreadful mix up in the Basel defence.

Scott Parker played a pass through the middle and Dragovic should have easily cut it out but instead miscued,allowing Dempsey to nip in,round Sommer,and tuck the ball into the far corner with a cool finish.

Basel replied four minutes later when Mohamed Salah burst clear on the right and scored a neat left foot finish,after which the Swiss side took control.

Austrian Dragovic made up for his blunder four minutes after the break,snapping up a rebound to score after Fabian Schaer’s header was parried at point-blank range by Brad Friedel.

Tottenham’s challenge appeared to have fizzled out until Dempsey scored from close range with eight minutes to go. The game took another twist when Tottenham had defender Jan Vertonghen sent off for tripping Marco Streller when he had a run at goal,followed by a scuffle as Basel were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area shortly afterwards.

Tottenham had their backs to the wall in extra time as Mohamed Elneny hit the post from 30 metres but survived,only to be let down by their efforts from the penalty spot.

Draw good enough

Fenerbahce reached the Europa League semi-finals after a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Lazio saw them progress 3-1 on aggregate to seal a place in the last four of a continental competition for the first time.

Senad Lulic gave Lazio hope of an unlikely comeback with a thumping header on the hour but Caner Erkin’s strike after 73 minutes with Fenerbahce’s only shot on target took the pressure off the Turkish side who eased into the last four. Lazio,who had to play the game behind closed doors at the Olympic stadium as a punishment for their fans’ poor behaviour,had the best of a tight first half but had to be content with shooting from range. Midfielder Lulic got Lazio back into the tie when he powered home a header from Antonio Candreva’s superb free-kick. But despite dominating play and frequently forcing the visiting side into some clumsy defending,Lazio were effectively out of the competition 13 minutes later when Erkin struck.

The hosts did not give up and could have scored twice more,first when Demirel had to stretch to save Lorik Cana’s powerful header after 82 minutes and two minutes later when Joseph Yobo almost headed past his own keeper from outside the area. But Fenerbahce held on to take their place in Friday’s semi-final draw and leave the Italians rueing their missed chances.

EUROPA RESULTS: Basel 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur,halftime: 1-1,90 mins: 2-2,penalty shootout: 4-1,First leg: Tottenham Hotspur 2 2 Basel,Basel win 4-1 on penalties; Lazio 1 1 Fenerbahce,halftime: 0-0,first leg: Fenerbahce 2 0 Lazio,Fenerbahce win 3-1 on aggregate; Newcastle United 1 1 Benfica,halftime: 0-0,first leg: Benfica 3 1 Newcastle United,Benfica win 4-2 on aggregate; Rubin Kazan 3 2 Chelsea,halftime: 0-1,first leg: Chelsea 3 1 Rubin Kazan,Chelsea win 5-4 on aggregate.

Europa semifinal line-up: Chelsea vs Basel; Fenerbahce vs Benfica

Lampard-Luiz flare up

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez played down the argument between Frank Lampard and David Luiz in Thursday’s Europa League match at Rubin Kazan,an incident that hinted at internal discord heading into the season’s climax. With an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City to come on Sunday and the fight for Champions League qualification hotting up,Benitez refused to question his players’ passion for the cause and said it was a good thing to see them arguing on the pitch.

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