Tottenham, Schalke reach Champions League quarters
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Last Updated: Thursday, March 10, 2011, 08:05
  
Paris: Tottenham withstood an AC Milan onslaught to reach the Champions League quarter-finals, while Schalke came from behind to overcome Spanish high-fliers Valencia.

Champions League debutants Spurs on Wednesday produced a masterful defensive display to secure a 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane, after Peter Crouch's 80th-minute goal had given them a 1-0 win in the first leg at San Siro.

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri named an attacking line-up and saw his side go close on several occasions, most notably when William Gallas cleared off the line from Robinho in the first half.

Gallas formed a resolute rearguard action with centre-back partner Michael Dawson, as current Serie A leaders Milan were eliminated in the last 16 for the second season running.

"It's a great achievement for this club to be in the last eight of the Champions League," said Spurs coach Harry Redknapp.

"We worked our socks off out there tonight against a really good team who came here to play.”

"It was hard work. It's a difficult position to be in, bringing back a 1-0 lead, as you are caught between trying to defend the lead and also going for a killer blow."

Schalke ignored reports that coach Felix Magath will lose his job next summer by hitting back from a goal down to beat Valencia 3-1 for a 4-2 aggregate success.

Centre-back Ricardo Costa headed the visitors in front in the 17th minute but a sublime free-kick from Jefferson Farfan drew Schalke level five minutes before half-time.

Mario Gavranovic nudged the German side ahead with his first goal for the club and with Valencia pressing forward for an equaliser that would have sent them through, Farfan claimed an injury-time goal to kill the tie.

"The background to this game is of no interest to us, the truth was out there on the pitch," said Magath, whose side are currently 10th in the Bundesliga standings. "It's not interesting for me what the papers say."

Having seen their fierce north London rivals Arsenal eliminated by Barcelona on Tuesday, Spurs' fans knew they had a nail-biting evening ahead of them even before Allegri's team asserted control of possession in the first half.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic stung goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes's gloves with a rasping free-kick, before Gallas reacted superbly to hook a deflected Robinho effort away from beneath his own crossbar after Gomes had gone walkabout.

Spurs wasted a good opportunity early in the second half when Peter Crouch mistimed a header from Aaron Lennon's cross, but Milan were quickly back on the attack.

Gomes saved from Robinho and then saw the Spurs defence scramble the ball away, before home hopes were raised by the introduction of substitute Gareth Bale following a back injury.

The Welsh winger could do nothing but hold his breath like the rest of the stadium in injury time, however, as Alexandre Pato ruffled the side netting with a smart snap-shot from the edge of the area.

Valencia, currently third in La Liga, went ahead at Gelsenkirchen's Veltins Arena when Ricardo Costa deftly deflected a fizzing Mehmet Topal cross into the hosts' net from close range.

Farfan's stunning set-piece levelled the tie and raised the prospect of extra time until competition debutant Gavranovic, deputising for the injured Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, scrambled in a scrappy goal to put Schalke on top.

With German international goalkeeper Manuel Neuer outstanding between the posts, Schalke secured their place in the last eight when Farfan strolled through before chipping home to complete his brace.

Bureau Report


First Published: Thursday, March 10, 2011, 08:05


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