Live Commentary: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Olympique Lyonnais - as it happened

Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring his second in the Europa League match against Lyon on February 14, 2013
© PA Photos
Read how Gareth Bale netted a superb free kick double to give Tottenham a narrow 2-1 advantage after the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie with Lyon, courtesy of Sports Mole.

Tottenham Hotspur welcomed Lyon to White Hart Lane tonight in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 glamour tie.

Gareth Bale scored a wonderful free-kick to put the hosts ahead at half time, but Samuel Umtiti equalised for Lyon with a thunderous half volley.

However, the Welshman netted another set piece in stoppage-time to snatch Spurs victory on a memorable European night in north London.

Below, you can read how the Welshman continued his superb goalscoring run in what was an entertaining contest in the English capital.


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7.13pmEvening all! Hopefully last night's Champions League feast will have whetted your footballing appetite, but if you are still hungry, we have desert for you in the form of a Europa League cracker!

7.15pmTottenham Hotspur welcome Lyon to White Hart Lane tonight in what is arguably the glamour tie of the round of 32.

7.17pmHere are tonight's teams...

7.19pmSPURS: Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Dembele, Parker; Lennon, Bale, Dempsey; Adebayor

7.20pmSUBS: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson, Caulker, Livermore, Holtby, Sigurdsson

7.21pmLYON: Vercoutre; Lovren, Fofana, Reveillere, Bisevac; Umtiti, Lacazette, Malbranque, Gonalons; Lisandro, Gomis

7.24pmSo, Andre Villas-Boas, who won the Europa League with his native side Porto in 2011, names a very strong side, signalling his intent to take this competition seriously.

7.26pmEmmanuel Adebayor is handed a recall to the Spurs lineup following his return from the Africa Cup of Nations.

7.27pmBrad Friedel is chosen in goal in place of the rested Hugo Lloris, who joined Spurs from their Ligue 1 opponents in the summer.

7.29pmAnother Frenchman, William Gallas, has not started a Lillywhites match since Boxing Day but will partner Jan Vertonghen at the back this evening as AVB continues to rotate his central defenders.

7.31pmFringe players such as Jake Livermore and Gylfi Sigurdsson may have been hoping for a run out, but they will have to settle for a place on the home bench alongside new Spurs signing Lewis Holtby.

7.33pmAnd now onto the visitors...

7.35pmFormer Spurs winger Steed Malbranque is selected in the Lyon XI. The 33-year-old made 96 appearances for Tottenham during a two-season spell, including 16 in this competition.

7.37pmYoann Gourcuff is missing from the French club's midfield, as is Michel Bastos, who left in January to join Schalke as a replacement for Holtby, now of Tottenham.

7.40pmApparent deadline day Spurs target Lisandro Lopez forms half of a dangerous Lyon frontline. Bafetimbi Gomis, who has netted 14 goals in 28 appearances this term, is his partner.

7.42pmAlexandre Lacazette is the third forward named in Remi Garde's attacking side. Either he or Lopez, or both, will be forced to operate on the flanks. Interestingly, Garde enjoyed a short playing spell at Tottenham's fierce rivals Arsenal.

7.45pmHere are the Lyon subs, which evaded my keyboard earlier...

7.47pmLYON SUBS: Lopes, Kone, Dabo, Grenier, Ferri, Ghezzal, Benzia

7.49pmSpurs are 14/1 fifth favourites for the tournament with Paddy Power, while Lyon are available at 25/1. If Villas-Boas continues to put out strong sides, and Bale continues to perform miracles, there could be some value in those odds!

7.51pmThe Portuguese has claimed that this contest has a Champions League feel to it, due to the calibre of the two teams, who have both reach the quarter-finals of Europe's premier competition in recent seasons.

7.53pm"It's a difficult tie against a team that is very, very experienced and have many trophies in the bag," Villas-Boas told Tottenham's official website. "They also have a lot of experience in the Champions League.

"Our players are motivated to do well in this competition and they know that if they beat Lyon, it will serve as further inspiration for the rest of the tournament."


7.55pmAVB has again made changes in central defence, one of which is handing a recall to the experienced Gallas. However, the former Chelsea and Arsenal man's long-term White Hart Lane future is unclear.

7.57pmHis Spurs contract expires at the end of the season and Villas-Boas has this week stated his intent to go into next campaign with just four centre-backs.

7.59pmWith competition fierce in the shape of Vertonghen, Younes Kaboul, Michael Dawson and Steven Caulker, the 36-year-old may be sacrificed from the Tottenham ranks in the summer.

8.01pm"I don't know what will happen about my contract — I don't even think about it," Gallas is quoted as saying by The Sun. "Will I still be here next season? I don't know."

8.03pmRight then. The players have emerged from the tunnel. Kickoff is imminent.

8.04pmPREDICTION: Spurs sense this is a trophy-winning opportunity and should be pumped up for this. With home advantage in their corner, I'll back Tottenham to win 1-0.

0 minAnd we are underway at White Hart Lane...

2 min96 seconds into the match and Lyon have yet to touch the ball! Spurs keep possession well from kickoff and Walker eventually earns a free kick on the right flank.

3 minThe full-back whips the cross in himself put Clint Dempsey concedes a foul for climbing at the back post.

4 minThe American has started on the Spurs left, with Bale occupying a central position, playing off Adebayor. That is the position from which Bale has wowed the Premier League in recent weeks.

5 minCHANCE! Assou-Ekotto plays a give-and-go with Dempsey and crosses low. With Bale waiting, Anthony Reveillere deflects the ball behind for a corner.

8 minWalker sends a cross towards Bale at the back post, and the Welshman attempts an ambitious first-time volley. Under pressure from Reveillere, he blazes over the crossbar.

11 minDempsey combines with Assou-Ekotto again, but the forward's chipped ball over the top runs out of play, despite the best efforts of the chasing full-back.

13 minSHOT! Gueida Fofana drifts inside unchecked and unleashes a shot which swerves over the crossbar.

15 minPENALTY SHOUT! Gomis runs into the box and turns inside Vertonghen, whose outstretched foot catches the Frenchman. Gomis goes down, but nothing is given. There was definitely contact! A lucky escape for Spurs in my opinion.

16 minCHANCE! From a corner, Dejan Lovren finds space at the back post but can only direct his header straight into the grateful arms of Friedel.

19 minSpurs are enjoying a good spell and have twice got inside the Lyon left-back, Samuel Umtiti. However, on neither occasion can either Walker or Lennon find a white shirt with their cross.

21 minBOOKING! Bale delivers a very good free kick from the Spurs right, which came as a result of Umtiti's foul on Lennon, for which the Lyon man received a yellow card. Lovren is on hand to make the clearing header.

23 minThe visitors counter through Gomis, but Vertonghen shows that he has the pace to keep up with the highly-rated striker and eventually steals the ball from him. That should be an intriguing battle tonight...

25 minAssou-Ekotto challenges for an aerial ball and falls heavily on his back. He leaves the field for treatment, but his absence from the action is short lived.

26 minCHANCE! Dembele plays in Adebayor with a cracking through pass. The Togo frontman tries to wrap his foot around the ball with a first-time shot, which is sliced and finishes wide of the near post.

28 minSHOT! Dempsey controls a long Bale throw on the edge of the six-yard box, holds off a challenge from Lovren and plays a return pass to the winger. There is too much on the layoff, though, and Bale cannot generate any power on the shot, which dribbles into the gloves of Remy Vercoutre.

30 minBale is now proving his use at the other end, heading clearing a Lyon corner before blocking a Lacazette cross out for a throw-in.

32 minAdebayor tries to flick a Dembele pass into the path of Dempsey, but only succeeds in handing the Lyon defence possession.

35 minSKILLS! Assou-Ekotto gives the ball away in the Lyon half with a sloppy pass, but then charges back to pinch the ball away from Gomis, and then embarrass the French forward with a Cruyff-turn nutmeg!

37 minMISS! Walker exchanges passes with Lennon down the right and skips past Umtiti, before squaring for Bale. It's a great pick out from the England full-back, but, with the goal at his mercy, his much-hailed teammate somehow pokes the ball straight at Adebayor, who can't steer the mishit goalwards.

39 minThat's a really bad miss from Bale, who probably would have fared better if he had opted to shoot right-footed and not with his favoured left.

41 minSHOT! Gomis runs across the Spurs box and with passing options left, he decides to shoot. It proves to be the wrong option as the effort finishes several yards wide of Friedel's far post.

43 minFormer Lillywhite Malbranque clashes knees with Adebayor and limps away. Fortunately, he is okay to continue after some attention from the physio.

45 minGOAL! Spurs 1-0 Lyon (Gareth Bale)

45 minWho else? Gareth Bale hits a 35-yard Cristiano Ronaldo-esque free kick which dips viciously over the wall and beats the diving Vercoutre into the bottom right corner. Special.

8.53pmHALF-TIME: Spurs 1-0 Lyon

8.57pmThe hosts leave the field in-front and to chants of: "Gareth Bale, he was born to play for Spurs!" Just moments after missing a sitter, the 23-year-old added another goal to his collection of wonderstrikes for the season to put Tottenham ahead on the stroke of the break. And so the plaudits will continue.

9.00pmThat moment of magic capped off an entertaining first period, during which Lyon will feel that they should have had a penalty. At a closer glance, I would say that Spurs were fortunate to go unpunished as Vertonghen made sufficient enough contact to take Gomis to the floor.

9.03pmSTATS: Spurs have had a greater share of possession with 60% and also lead in corners (3 to Lyon's 2) and shots (5 to Lyon's 3).

9.05pmRESULTS: English clubs were also in action earlier this evening. Liverpool suffered a 2-0 defeat at Zenit St.Petersburg, but Chelsea fared a little better, picking up an away win against Sparta Prague.

45 minLyon resume the action in north London...

47 minBOOKING! Walker is shown a harsh yellow card for apparently catching Umtiti with his studs, despite there appearing to be little or no contact.

49 minSHOT! Lacazette dribbles into the box and shapes to shoot, but instead plays the ball inside to Gomis, whose deflected strike is easy pickings for Friedel. The Lyon striker has been unconvincing when shooting on his weaker left foot.

51 minWith Assou-Ekotto out of position, Vertonghen comes across from centre-back to make an excellent sliding tackle just inside the area, denying Lacazette a shooting chance.

53 minGallas dawdles on the ball and is robbed by Lisandro, who aims for Lacazette with a dinked cross. Assou-Ekotto cleverly leans into the Lyon man to prevent him making contact with the delivery.

55 minGOAL! Spurs 1-1 Lyon (Samuel Umtiti)

56 minLyon are level, and what a hit this is! Lacazette is involved again, sending a cross in which is headed clear, seemingly to safety, by Gallas. The ball falls to Umtiti, easily my favourite name in the world, 20 yards out on the left edge of the box, and the Lyon full-back smashes the cleanest of half volleys into the top corner without giving Friedel the chance to blink. The full-back milks the celebrations! Gareth Bale, over to you!

59 minBuoyed by their goal, Lyon win a corner which is cleared by a leaping Bale at the near post.

62 minSAVE! The lively Lacazette runs at the Tottenham defence with real pace, leaving three Spurs players on the floor in the process. Now centre of the goal, he shoots with power but 41-year-old Friedel shows the reflexes of a goalkeeper half his age to tip the effort over the bar. Lyon are flying at the moment.

63 minLouvren, who has been sent off three times in his last eight appearances, produces a perfectly-timed slide tackle to halt the progress of Dempsey in the penalty area.

65 minSHOT! Bale sends a side-footed shot through a crowded box, but straight at Vercoutre, whose unconvincing parry is eventually cleared away from danger by Fofana.

67 minSUBSTITUTION: Villas-Boas realises that it is important for Spurs to go to France with a lead and has turned to Lewis Holtby to try and regain it. Clint Dempsey makes way.

70 minHoltby finds Walker in an advanced area and his low cross is diverted behind for a corner by Lovren. The Tottenham full-back's set piece is overhit, though, and evades everybody on its way straight out of play.

74 minThe home fans are urging Spurs forward, but a sloppy pass from Walker which misses Lennon on its way out for a throw-in brings some contrasting groans.

77 minSUBSTITUTION: AVB turns to his bench again, swapping Aaron Lennon for Gylfi Sigurdsson.

78 minBOOKING! Fofana has the cheek to complain to the referee for the yellow card issued to him following his incessant tugging of Holtby's shirt.

81 minDembele cleverly allows the ball to run through his legs to Sigurdsson, who tries to find Bale with a deft through pass. However, the winger had made a run out to the left rather than through the centre.

82 minSUBSTITUTION: Spurs old boy Steed Malbranque leaves the action to a warm White Hart Lane reception. Clement Grenier is on in his place.

84 minLovren's powerful clearing header falls kindly to Lacazette, who turns and slips in Lopez. Walker makes up some good ground and wins the ball with his sliding tackle.

87 minSUBSTITUTION: Lisandro Lopez is replaced by young Algerian midfielder Rachid Ghezzal.

88 minLyon appear content with the draw and I expect this last few minutes and the stoppage time that will follow to be played mostly in their half.

89 minA superb run and cross from Bale comes to nothing, with Spurs only managing to get two men in the box.

90 minWe are now entering additional time, of which there will be three minutes...

90+1 minSHOT! Bale is forced away from goal by the Lyon defence, but somehow turns away from them and cuts back onto his left foot to shoot powerfully and force Vercoutre to punch away.

90+3 minGOAL! Spurs 2-1 Lyon (Gareth Bale)

90+3 minGareth Bale, you are taking the Mick! Dembele does excellently to win Spurs a free kick 25 yards out in the centre of the goal. The crowd immediately purrs with anticipation as Bale places the ball down before finding the top corner with another sensational dipping set piece. £40m? £50m? £60m? How much is this guy worth now?

9.56pmFULL-TIME: Spurs 2-1 Lyon

9.58pmYou can read more about Bale's brilliance in our full-time report, courtesy of Jack Prescott.

10.02pmSport Mole's @robsummerscales has just tweeted: "Gareth Bale, that is just taking the Mick! What a player. He is on another planet right now. World transfer record could be broken in summer." I am inclined to agree, Rob!

10.05pmForget the quality of Bale's goal, let's not overlook the importance of it. Without it, Spurs would have travelled to Lyon needing a win, or to score twice, and effectively behind in the tie. With it, they have the momentum and a crucial lead which will force their Ligue 1 opponents to come out and play. That will suit Spurs, and Bale in particular.

10.10pmAnyway, enough about Bale, let's briefly reflect on the match. Yep, so, two superb Bale free kicks either side of an equally eye-catching Samuel Umtiti strike has seen Spurs establish a one-goal advantage ahead of the trip to France.

10.15pmIt was an evenly-contested first half, which Tottenham slightly edged, but Umtiti's outrageous half volley buoyed the visitors, who enjoyed much the better of minutes 45-70. When they sat back, seemingly content with a draw, Spurs charged and were snatched a win by their star man, who has now netted the club's last six goals.

10.20pmThat's it from me for tonight. Thanks for joining Sports Mole this evening. Be sure to tune in for our coverage of the FA Cup fifth round this weekend. Over and out...

Hugo Lloris
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