By DAN KARELL
Tottenham’s Champions League hopes took a big hit on Thursday evening.
Spurs midfielder Gareth Bale was stretchered off in second half stoppage time after a bad-looking right ankle injury, forcing Tottenham to finish their 2-2 draw with FC Basel down to nine men. Bale has been a key player for Spurs this season, scoring 22 goals in all competitions.
Early reports suggest Bale will likely miss just two matches with the injury.
Tottenham’s draw was part of a so-so day for English clubs in Europa League. Newcastle saw a 1-0 lead evaporate into a 3-1 loss to Benfica in their quarterfinal first leg in Portugal. Chelsea FC jumped out to a big lead in their tie with Russian side Rubin Kazan, posting a 3-1 victory Stamford Bridge.
In the day’s lone match not involving English clubs, Fenerbahce knocked off Lazio, 2-0, in Turkey.
In the Benfica-Spurs tilt, William Gallas also limped off late in the match for Spurs, who lost Aaron Lennon to injury in the 24th minute. Adding to the problems, the two goals on the evening from Basel give them the advantage with the return leg in Switzerland next Thursday.
Basel jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first half, scoring first from Valentin Stocker in the 30th minute, and five minutes later a goal from Fabian Frei. In the 40th minute, Spurs forward Emmanuel Adebayor got on the board, cutting the deficit in half heading into the break.
Spurs came out attacking in the second half and their play was rewarded with a goal from substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson in the 58th minute to tie the match. Stocker and his Basel teammates Marco Strellar and Mohamed Salah came close in the second half, but Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel made a number of clutch saves to keep the home side in the tie.
What do you think of the results? Do you see Spurs finishing in a Champions League place without Bale? What did you think of Fernando Torres’ performance?
Share your thoughts below.