I don’t have fingernails. My fingers are but a memory. There’s just a stump where my left hand used to be. That’s the price of tension. Apparently Spurs’ 0-0 draw with AC Milan lasted around 94 minutes – it just felt like an eternity.
Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League, but Tottenham roll on into the quarter-finals. It’s called 48 hours in football dreamland.
I really feared for Spurs ahead of the second leg with the seven-time European Champions. Too many supporters were worryingly complacent. Seasoned European performers Milan would undoubtedly perform better after underestimating Tottenham at the San Siro. Could a defence pierced three times by Wolves withstand a desperate assault from Ibrahimovic, Pato and Robinho?
How did Spurs survive? Sandro was again imperious. The Brazilian, still only 21, has this wonderful knack of effectively harrying and continually getting a crucial foot in. He was Milan’s nemesis again and helped Spurs desperately hold off wave upon wave of Rossoneri possession.
We were outpassed, but hung in there. The ageless Seedorf, anonymous at the San Siro, bossed the midfield. The ball seemingly attached to his feet by an invisible string. Attacks were repelled with a gritty steel not associated with a Tottenham side. The rearguard action was almost Italian in its nature. William Gallas was a key figure. A former Arsenal and Chelsea stalwart, Gallas’ football redemption is now surely complete after his brilliant goal line clearance and battling display alongside the outstanding Michael Dawson in the heart of Spurs’ defence.
Gareth Bale’s introduction may not appear to have had an impact, but his mere presence suddenly committed two or three Milan players to defence when they might have been bombing forward. We dug in as the seconds painfully counted down. The jubilation at the final whistle was only matched by the sense of relief.
Then a wonderful thought dawned upon the breathless Spurs faithful. 'Are you watching Arsenal?' The Champions League must look wonderful from the sofa.