Tottenham 0-1 Real Madrid (agg 0-5): Gomes howler as Spurs crash out
Published 21:38 13/04/11 By Martin Lipton
No drama, no tension, no comeback.
But you don't get miracles in North London.
Not playing a team like this, not against the Special One, not when your keeper lets any remaining air out of the balloon with the sort of calamitous blunder that could haunt him.
As Heurelho Gomes' gift to Cristiano Ronaldo ensured Spurs' European world ended with a whimper not a bang, the two clubs were headed in very different direction.
For Real it is four games against Barcelona in 18 days, at stake the Spanish Cup, La Liga and a place under Wembley's glimmering arch.
For Spurs, it is Arsenal, West Brom, Chelsea, Liverpool, Blackpool, Manchester City and Birmingham, the target enough points to make sure the likes of Inter, Milan and the Castillian aristocrats come down the Lane again next season.
The home fans who gave their team a standing ovation at the end, as the final attempt to earn a consolation strike petered out, knew that too.
They were applauding the effort and commitment of the evening, sure. The breathtaking pace of Gareth Bale, the silky skills of Luka Modric, the energy and intensity.
But more than that, they were thanking Harry Redknapp and his players for the magic carpet ride that saw them stun the San Siro twice, made them the side all of Europe wanted to see, brought a revitalising approach to a competition that is so often stifled and dull in its initial phase.
Amd expressing the hope, the prayer, that it was not all a glorious one-off, that their heroes can chisel City or Chelsea out of the top four and take their place among the elite once more next September.
Last night, in truth, Spurs were not quite good enough.
Never good enough to dream of the greatest comeback in the history of the Champions League, even when they dragged Real into the high-tempo game they probably did not want to play, as the Lane screamed three times in vain for the first half penalty that might have brought a moment of doubt to Mourinho's men.
Certainly not when Gomes, who saw Ronaldo's 30-yarder all the way as it swerved straight at him, somehow contrived to let the shot squirm through his hands and loop slowly but inevitably up and eventually, apologetically, over the line.
"We're gonna win 6-1" they sang, but not with any conviction, the excitement of those early stages long since dissipated.
In truth, even had Spurs got off to a flier, they had been eliminated in the Bernebeu, by Peter Crouch's red card and the legs that collectively died in the final half hour.
They did their best, too, with Bale's explosive pace drawing reactions of approving relief from Mourinho as his bursts past Sergio Ramos and Raul Albiol brought no reward.
Bale may have anticipated a nudge that never came from Xabi Alonso in the third minute, but 180 seconds later, as the Welshman's surge down the flank induced a panicky punch by Iker Casillas, the former Liverppol midfielder got plenty of Modric but none of the ball.
Italian Nicola Rizzoli saw nothing, just as he did when another Bale dash resulted in Roman Pavlyuchenko being upended by Albiol.
Aaron Lennon, who made it out of the dressing room this time, hinted at what might have been as he caused all sorts of problems for Ricardo Carvalho - who ruled himself out of the first leg of the semi - Alvaro Arbeloa, Pavyluchenko wastefully squandering the best opening from 16 yards.
And while Gomes had saved from Mesut Ozil and - with more difficultly - Ramos before the break, Real had not really threatened seriously before the Brazilian dropped the mother of all howlers.
Even Ronaldo didn't really fancy himself from that distance and Gomes - just like Ray Clemence against Barcelona at the same end in 1982 - must have wanted the ground to swallow him up.
Spurs tried everything. Pavlyuchenko should have scored from Rafael Van Der Vaart's cross and lively substitute Jermain Defoe was twice thwarted by Casillas.
But it was not to be. Real, who themselves might have got a second on the counter, Kaka the closest, were too good on the night, too good over two games.
Mourinho waited to embrace Bale at the end, maybe whispering sweet nothings in his ear.
Two tasks left. Top four and keeping their best players. The adventure ends. The hard work begins.
Tottenham (4-4-1-1): Gomes 5; Corluka 6, Gallas 7, Dawson 7, Assou-Ekotto 6; Lennon 7 (Defoe, 60, 6), Huddlestone 6 (Sandro, 71, 6), Modric 8 (Kranjcar, 83, 6), Bale 8; Van Der Vaart 6; Pavlyuchenko 6
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas 7; Ramos 7 (Granero, 57, 6), Carvalho 7, Albiol 6, Arbeloa 6; Xabi Alonso 7 (Benzema, 75, 6), Khedira 7; Ronaldo 7 (Kaka, 65, 6), Ozil 7, Marcelo 6; Adebayor 6
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)
Hero: Modric - wanted the ball all night and a right handful for Real
Villain: Gomes - what a shocker for the Brazilian