Eye on El Clasico
Real Madrid should complete the formality of eliminating Tottenham Hotspur from the Champions League on Wednesday to set up a probable semifinal against arch-rivals Barcelona.sports Updated: Apr 12, 2011 23:37 IST
Real Madrid should complete the formality of eliminating Tottenham Hotspur from the Champions League on Wednesday to set up a probable semifinal against arch-rivals Barcelona.
Real travel to White Hart Lane brimming with confidence after demolishing Spurs 4-0 in the first leg of their quarterfinal last week. Barring the most unlikely of events, Real and Barca will meet each other in European competition for the first time since 2002.
Real coach Jose Mourinho, publicly at least, has paid Spurs and English soccer the greatest respect by saying only an English team could overturn a four-goal deficit.
If that is true, then that club are Spurs, who have dazzled in their debut season in the Champions League with some stunning fightbacks and re-kindled a flickering light from the past.
After Manchester United, Spurs were English soccer's trailblazers in Europe in the early 1960s when they became the first British side to win a European trophy, beating Atletico Madrid 5-1 in the European Cup Winners' Cup final in 1963.
A year earlier Spurs reached the semifinals of the European Cup when their manager Bill Nicholson, paying his respects to the all-conquering Real team of Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas, decided his team should change to an all-white kit for European games.
Real, some years later, became the first away team in 24 years ever to win a European tie at White Hart Lane when they beat holders Spurs 1-0 in the UEFA Cup in 1985 - and are easily equipped to score another win on Wednesday.
However, although Spurs are almost certain to go out, they will not go down without showing the spirit that has been a feature of their Champions League adventure.