Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Gareth Bale gives Tottenham Hotspur the edge over Lyon

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale

Tottenham 2 - 1 Lyon: Gareth Bale scored two sensational free-kicks as Tottenham gained the advantage over Lyon with a thrilling last-gasp win in the Europa League at White Hart Lane.

Samuel Umtiti looked like he had earned a draw for Lyon when he smashed home a stunning half-volley equaliser in the 55th minute, but once again Bale came to the rescue for Spurs.

The Welshman put Tottenham ahead with another physics-defying set piece from 35 yards in first-half stoppage time and he came up with the goods again just 10 seconds from the final whistle.

Maxime Gonalons upended Bale 20 yards out, the crowd called the 23-year-old's name and he stepped up to crack a swirling shot over the wall and past a spinning Remy Vercoutre.

The Spurs winger, who played most of the first half up front alongside Emmanuel Adebayor, has now scored seven goals in his last five games for club and country.

Andre Villas-Boas has a point when he compares his star man to Real Madrid marksman Cristiano Ronaldo.

Spurs will now not require an away goal in Lyon next week to make the last 16.

Bale struck his first after Alexandre Lacazette hacked down Moussa Dembele 35 yards out and the Welshman lashed a dipping drive which left the beaten Remy Vercoutre dumbfounded.

Lyon flew out of the blocks in the second half and equalised thanks to Umtiti's stunning striker. William Gallas thought he had cleared the danger when he glanced Steed Malbranque's excellent cross clear, but the ball fell to Umtiti, who hit a peach of a half-volley straight in to the top corner past a stunned Friedel.

Bale continued to pile forward and found a way through in injury time but Vercoutre saved well.

There was one last twist in the tale, however. Gonalons felled Bale and he picked himself to fire a beautiful curling shot past the goalkeeper to send the home crowd into ecstasy.

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