DAVID SMITH - Friday, February 15, 2013
Brad Friedel and Clint Dempsey were both in the starting lineup for Tottenham's last-gasp win over Lyon while Steve Cherundolo's presence was missed as Hannover were soundly beaten by Anzhi.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 1 Olympique Lyon
Brad Friedel went the distance between the posts and Clint Dempsey put in a 67-minute shift, but it was a pair of free kick goals from Gareth Bale that saved the day for Tottenham in its first-leg win over Olympique Lyon.
Both Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor saw wonderful chances go wanting in the latter stages of the first half, but the Welshman atoned for his miss at the stroke of half with a moment of brilliance.
After Mousa Dembele was fouled 35 yards from goal at the start of first-half injury time, Bale delivered a swerving free kick which looped over the four-man Lyon wall and bounced in just inside the left post.
Ten minutes into the second half, the former French juggernauts struck back in nearly as spectacular a fashion, with Samuel Umtiti volleying a blocked shot from the upper left corner of the penalty area, easily beating Friedel at the far post.
With the game looking headed for a draw, Bale proved to be the architect of Lyon's demise, drawing a foul in the third minute of stoppage time and stepping up to fire an arching free kick from 25 yards out into the far corner to secure the win.
A draw in next Thursday's second leg in Lyon will be enough to see the Spurs through to the round of 16. They will have a full week of rest heading into the game thanks to their early elimination from the FA Cup.
Leverkusen third-string keeper, David Yelldell, did not dress as the team narrowly lost at home to Benfica by a 1-0 margin.
Steve Cherundolo is recovering from knee surgery and was forced to watch from afar as Hannover put their chances to advance in jeopardy in a 3-1 loss in Russia to Anzhi Makhachkala.