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The Great Escape


Photograph: Michael Mayhew/Sport

Wherever Harry Houdini is, he must be grinning from ear-to-ear and clutching a cockerel close to his chest because Tottenham Hotspur have just joined him in the pantheon of great magicians.

Arriving in Inter Milan’s San Siro stadium with a 3-0 first leg advantage Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas seemed supremely relaxed and perhaps, dare we say, overconfident. Ninety minutes later that aura had surely disappeared as his side had bungled away the three goals and should’ve lost in the final minute after Estaban Cambiasso found himself in ten yards of space after another William Gallas gaff.

Even after that let off, Spurs still did their best to ensure that the paltry but rowdy crowd remained glued to their seats.

What AVB said to his shattered troops during the full-time break must’ve had some potent power as his team and Emmanuel Adebayor in particular somehow found the strength to score when all looked lost.

To give credit to Inter though, they didn’t roll over. In fact they took the game to the visitors, equalized on aggregate and then with the last kick of the game should’ve won it again when Ranochia headed wide.

Poor Brad Friedel must be wondering when it’s Hugo Lloris’ turn to stand behind a back line that has conceded seven in the last two matches.

What the 120 minutes of nerve shredding entertainment did show is that Spurs without Gareth Bale are a team that are there for the taking because as much as Inter showed character, they’re not the greatest team in the world.