Tottenham burst into final
Tottenham secured their first win over Arsenal in nine years to book a place in the final of the Carling Cup.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 24/01/08 9:39am
Tottenham Hotspur secured their first victory over Arsenal in nine years to book a place in the final of the Carling Cup.
Spurs were in rampant mood at White Hart Lane and ran out 5-1 winners on the night to see the tie end 6-2 on aggregate.
Jermaine Jenas got the ball rolling for Juande Ramos' side after just three minutes with a low strike, before Nicklas Bendtner headed into his own net from Jenas' free-kick.
With Arsenal pushing for a way back into the game they were vulnerable at the back, and that proved to be the case as Robbie Keane latched onto Aaron Lennon's long ball to slot home early in the second half.
Tottenham's fourth came in the 60th minute when Lennon finished coolly, and while Arsenal struck back through substitute Emmanuel Adebayor, the evening was Spurs' to savour with Steed Malbranque gleefully tapping home in injury time.
The tone was set for the evening when Spurs got themselves off to a flyer inside the opening three minutes.
Dimitar Berbatov flicked the ball on to Jenas, who charged towards the edge of the area, before side-stepping Justin Hoyte and then coolly dispatching a low angled strike in off the far post.
Nicklas Bendtner had a half chance following some neat work around the right side of the Spurs box, but his well-struck effort flew just over.
However, the tie looked all but over on 26 minutes when Spurs went 2-0 up.
Jenas sent in a deep free-kick from the left, which floated into the Arsenal six-yard box.
Michael Dawson jumped with Bendtner - and the unfortunate Dane could only guide the ball past his own keeper.
Spurs continued to press, and Berbatov dragged his shot against the base of Lukasz Fabianski's right-hand post when he really should have scored after the Bulgarian was put clean through by the busy Jenas.
Spurs, though, had been here before - they were 2-0 up in the first leg of last season's Carling Cup semi-final only to eventually surrender their home
advantage and then bow out at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal almost found a lifeline when a near-post free-kick was headed goalwards by Bacary Sagna - but Radek Cerny produced a fine one-handed reaction save to show just why he is keeping out Paul Robinson.
Abou Diaby cut inside and blazed a 25-yard effort just over as the Gunners aimed to make Spurs pay for their careless finishing.
The hosts, however, continued to look dangerous on the break as neither side looked ready to let up on the relentless tempo ahead of the half-time interval.
The next goal would be crucial - and it was Spurs who secured safe passage to Wembley two minutes after the restart.
Berbatov flicked the ball onto Aaron Lennon in the centre circle, who then hit an exquisite pass with the outside of the boot as Keane ran into the box.
The Republic of Ireland striker sent a half-volley towards the bottom right corner from just inside the box, which bounced up in front of Fabianski and flew into the net.
Arsenal almost produced a swift reply but Bendtner saw his acrobatic effort hit the bar, before Fabregas, on for the injured Denilson in the first half, then smacked the rebound straight at Cerny.
Steed Malbranque had a great chance to make it four when he went racing clean through, but this time the young Pole stood his ground to make a decent save and quickly recovered the loose ball from under Berbatov's feet.
Their short journey across north London on 24th February was rubber stamped when Lennon got in on the overlap down the right from Keane's quick pass and slammed in a low drive through Fabianski's legs.
Adebayor pulled one back with 20 minutes left, linking up with Eduardo da Silva to smash home a 16th goal of the season from the edge of the box - butthis time, Spurs would not be denied a long-awaited victory as Malbranque netted a fifth in stoppage time.
|Tottenham Hotspur||Team Statistics||Arsenal|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||5|
|5||Shots off Target||6|