A pair of Emmanuel Adebayor goals set Real off to an ultimately flattering 4-0 drubbing of Tottenham Hotspurs in last night’s Champions League quarter final first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. Although, Harry Redknapp will have more than enough ammunition to argue that his side contributed to that score line just as much as their more illustrious hosts.
Reflecting on the pasting will be a chastening task for Redknapp who surely must concede the dream is over after an impressive debut campaign in Europe’s premier club competition. His pre-match injury woes were improbably added to in the immediate minutes before kick-off when Aaron Lennon was taken ill – the England winger not even afforded a place on the bench after interference from UEFA officials. There are bad starts and then there are bad starts and even before the UEFA representatives had removed Lennon from the bench and issue revised team-sheets, Adebayor had nodded in a fourth minute corner past the leaden footed duo of Heurelho Gomes and Luka Modric on the line.
It had been a racy start from Real and Spurs appeared blinded by the lights as the pure white Real zipped and buzzed in front of them. In a conscious effort to up the ante after a sluggish start, Peter Crouch collected two needless bookings to render the improbable impossible. From fifteen minutes in, 1-0 up and facing an injury ravaged 10 men, Mourinho’s men did little wrong and lots right. Their ball retention was superb, they used every blade of the vast acreage of the Bernabeu baize to tease and torment the visitors who were unsurprisingly convalescing from the circumstances which had transpired against them.
By the time Felix Brych had put the Londoners out of their misery, Real had notched another three times. The second from Adebayor and last from Cristiano Ronaldo were further additions to the end of season Spurs defensive howlers DVD, but the third from Angel Di Maria was a sumptuous reminder of just how much ability is contained within this batch of Galacticos. This side do not need help against the mortals.
Four goals, a clean sheet and another win with Gonzalo Higuain and Kaka gaining more match minutes and Ronaldo coming through the game unscathed – a typically perfect night in Europe for Mourinho, although, like many of Real’s other similarly impressive results and performances this season, judgement is reserved not because of what they have done, but of what they will have to do.
The victory has booked Real’s place in their half of the upcoming all Spanish semi-final with Barcelona – football’s barometer of brilliance. La Liga has gone, the Champions League is desired and Mourinho and his men will need every bit of quality and luck if they are not to resemble bridesmaids in their beautiful white.