Gareth Bale scored two stunning free-kicks to give Tottenham a 2-1 advantage after the first-leg of their Europa League last-32 tie at White Hart Lane.
Gareth Bale was once again the hero for Tottenham, as they beat Lyon 2-1.
Bale, playing for much of the match in a central role behind Emanuel Adebayor, continued his fine scoring streak as he struck from a wicked long-range free-kick in first-half injury time. But Lyon responded with a memorable goal of their own through young defender Samuel Umtiti early in the second period. With the match ticking toward its conclusion Bale improbably struck from a similarly positioned set-piece.
The scoreline was perhaps harsh on Lyon after an evenly contested match between two sides who should have hopes of going a long way in the competition. Although Hugo Lloris was denied the opportunity to play against the side he departed last summer, with Andre Villas-Boas opting to give Brad Friedel an outing—Tottenham fielded a strong lineup that showed their determination to progress.
And it was the home side that had the first real chance just before the half-hour mark. Moussa Dembele strode forward and invited Adebayor to shoot with a fine through ball, but the striker struck his first-time effort disappointingly wide of the near post.
It looked like it would be a night to forget for Bale when he missed as clearer chance as you’ll see on 37 minutes. After Kyle Walker danced through challenges on the right before astutely picking out the Welshman, rendering the goalkeeper helpless as he did so, but somehow Bale side-footed wide back across the goal.
But Bale redeemed himself and more in first-half injury time. The Tottenham talisman has improved many areas of his game in recent months, including, he proved, his free-kicks. From all of 35 yards Bale ran up to the ball and truck it with phenomenal movement as it dipped and swerved before dropping with fearsome velocity into the corner to leave Remi Vercoutre with no chance.
It was a strike that would win many goal of the month competitions, but as it would turn out, it may even have been the best goal of the match.
Lyon scored a potentially vital away goal with an astounding strike 10 minutes after the break. When William Gallas’ clearing header from Steed Malbranque’s testing cross reached the corner of the box, few would have suspected there was any immediate danger. But they didn’t count on a stunning first-time rasping drive from left-back Umtiti that arrowed into the far top corner.
The goal lifted Lyon’s levels even further and they almost went in front courtesy of a third glorious goal of the game just past the hour mark. Alexandre Lacazette gave a glimpse of his potential as he drifted in from the left and past three challenges before firing a strong left-footed drive from the edge of the box that Friedel did exceptionally to tip over the bar.
But it would be Bale who had the final say as Lyon conceded a free-kick in injury time and Bale struck once more, this time from 25 yards, but with equal menance to take it into the top corner.
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