What an absurdity of a curio that was. Inter were good and Spurs were bad, like a child that keeps thinking you've stolen its nose even when they've been walked through the thumb between fingers ruse. But credit to them for somehow dredging up a goal when they seemed more likely to locate a dodo-winged unicorn - somehow, they're in the next round. I'd be off for a lie-down, but instead I'm off to Chelsea-Steaua - as Henry Kelly might say, why don't you come too?
FULL-TIME!!!! Inter 4-1 Spurs (agg 4-4, Spurs win on away goals)
HOW NOT TO LOVE FOOTBALL!
120+2 min Superb from Steven Caulker! Another left wing cross, again towards Ranocchia, and the merest chunk of head is enough to send the ball away.
120 min There shall be two added minutes, and in the first of them, Holtby slides a ball into Adebayor who suddenly has a view of goal - when from nowhere, Chivu slides in to steal possession.
That is exceptionally odd or exceptionally clever or both. Inter, with seconds left to lump it in the mixer, take the corner short and make an angle for Cassano to curl over yet another cross. Caulker rises with Ranochia, but too late to compete for the ball - but his man can't direct his header, and it drops a few yards wide.
...they're shoving and touching in the goalmouth...
119 min Inter win a corner down the right, and the keeper is up....
118 min Gallas contrives to clatter a clearance into Cassano, who charges it down and bundles forward, but Walker is in pursuit and catches up to avert the danger.
117 min Flapping desperation on both sides, Cassano eventually flighting in another cross from the left that Caulker does well to nick away.
116 min This has been a ridiculous evening.
115 min Adebayor, now down by the corner flag, loses possession to Gargano so swings a five iron of a boot at him, and is booked.
114 min Juan Jesus goes over the ball as Adebayor messes around wasting time on the left touchline, and is booked.
113 min Cassano is just finding so much space and Spurs aren't even attempting to prevent him from so doing. Again, he hangs back and gets into character, spinning in a cross that Gallas does well to eject from the box.
Cassano drifts into space on the left and arcs over a cross towards the back post. Vertonghen gets caught underneath it, misjudging the flight and leaving Alvarez with a free header. He crashes his forehead into the ball, and though Friedel gets a forearm to it, the power takes it in.
GOAL! Inter 4-1 Spurs (agg 4-4 but Spurs lead on away goals)
It's crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy life...
108 min Vertonghen dashes into a challenge with Alvarez, somehow winning a free-kick, staying down for as long as possible and pretending to be hurt. Of course he's not hurt, he's made of iron windmills.
107 min Last change for Inter. Jonathan leaves, centre-back Ranocchia arrives, and goes up front - along with his mask, adorned with his name and number, lest any of his opponents be curious.
106 min We beginagin. Jim Beglin is discussing the "beautiful stuff" we've seen from Spurs tonight, which I must have missed - they've been horrific. But Freidel has done well, and fists out a shot from distance - from whom, I'm unsure.
HALF-TIME in EXTRA-TIME: Inter 3-1 Spurs (agg 3-4)
Well, when is something so unexpected as to be expected? When it's that Adebayor goal, that's when.
105+5 Very good and important defensive header from Gallas, after Cassano slings over a cross from the right aimed at Cambiasso, who is just behind him.
103+3 Caulker makes an error, missing his header and presenting Palacio with the ball just inside the box on the right. He clumps a first-time shot, but it's straight at Friedel and Spurs escape.
105+1 min Dembele struggles to the touchline, barely able to open his eyes, before wandering back on and muttering to himself about toadstools and lawnmowers and purple conkers.
105 min There shall be two additional minutes, once poor old Dembele is sorted. Spurs have used all their changes, and he looks far too woozy to continue.
105 min Yikes! A corner finds its way to Cassano, loitering on the right edge of the box, and he bounces a cross off the inside of his foot. Palacio jumps and nuts Dembele and ball, and Dembele looks in some trouble. There is a break while he receives treatment.
103 min There's a pause whole Spurs make a change, Naughton going off and trying to walk around the pitch, but the ref is having none of it - which actually consumes more time. Caulker comes on, and either Vertonghen or Gallas will go to right-back.
100 min Cassano finds space on the left byline and rockets a cross that Friedel snatches. Zanetti waves his hand in encouragement, but looks like he could easily cry.
100 min Inter look like a pack of bloodhounds.
100 min Suddenly the Spurs are going marching in.
Away goal salvation! We'll give you that one, Peter. Dembele, who has flitted in and out but still looked Spurs' most likely doer of something, wriggled some space just outside the box and lashed a left-footer across Handanovic from just outside the box, which the keeper could only parry - to Adebayor, who slid into a hitchkick, that should, finally, deal with this tie.
GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL Inter 3-1 Spurs (Adebayor) (agg 3-4)
94 min Another good corner, picking out Gallas, rushing into it with frontal lobe primed. He should score, but instead thunders it wide of the left-hand post.
94 min Sigurdsson's corner is from the left and it's good, Vertonghen jumping and heading down well, Handanovic doing well to shovel it behind - it's right down by his bootlaces.
92 min Spurs almost score! Adebayor holds the ball up well on the left, and slips it inside to Parker, who has been remarkably useless. But he does well here, waiting for Lennon to tear across before slipping the ball down the side of Chivu. Lennon thinks he's in, but Zanetti doriangrays across and slides in to deflect the ball behind.
91 min Not that you could ever need it, but if ever you needed evidence of the nonsense that is the away goals rule, here it is. More Inter possession.
91 min Inter kick off extra time. Scratch it and give me a beat, as they say.
Gallas watch: he has so far refrained from kicking any advertising hoardings, which is just as well, he'd only divert them behind.
That's math, right there. Spurs were thoroughly, utterly and completely bad. They defended badly, they passed badly, they attacked badly and they tried badly. And their manager picked his team badly and amended its badness badly. This has been real, real bad.
Spurs = Spurs = Spurs.
FULL-TIME: Inter 3-0 Spurs (agg 3-3)
Let's have some extra-time, yo.
90+2 Cassano turns and rolls a ball towards Cambiasso on the left - but worry not! William's got this! Go on William! William sits down into a weak prod of nonsense, allowing Cambiasso to advance, through on goal with seconds to go. He swings a left foot at it, it looks like it's going in, it still does - but the ball zoots inches wide.
90+1 min The standard of risibility on show in this tie has been of a quite exceptional standard.
90 min All Spurs had to do was avoid losing 0-3. Oh, Spurs! There are to be three additional minutes.
89 min A cross from the left, and Walker waves a head at it, the ball dropping to Kovacic to welly and deflected shot at Friedel, deputising for the rested Welshman, Lloris. He watches it well, and clutches ball to bosom.
86 min This has been stirring stuff from Inter, who were a limp as a dead carp with two busted kneecaps only this time last week. They've not exactly pummelled Spurs with brilliant football, but have shown the belief and thew desire to redeem themselves. Andre Villas-Boas, on the other hand, is scrabbling around on the floor looking for almighty gonad that has slipped from his grasp.
84 min Naughton suddenly skips inside and flays a right-footer that's swerving away from Handanovic - but he flings himself leftwards, pushing it behind for a corner that eventually comes to nothing.
82 min Yet another ball over the top, and suddenly Palacio is staring out Friedel, waiting for the ball to drop. Lennon does exceptionally well to dart in and poke it away.
81 min Spurs muster a small piece of possession in a threatening area, Dembele swerving forward and forcing a pass through for Holtby, who forces another into Adebayor. He manages to kick through one challenge as he breaks into the right side of the area, but is subsequently crowded out.
80 min I note Cassano wears number 99. Insert your flake and fat gags here.
79 min A Cassano cross is deflected behind for a corner, which Gallas is able to head clear without imbecilling into his own net.
78 min Benassi replaces Kovacic.
76 min Walker achieves a booking for diving over Juan's tackle, and he'll miss the first qualifying round for next seaosn's Champions League.
William, William it was - really unnecessary. Cassano's free-kick is no use, into the wall and travelling slowly towards Gallas. Equally slowly, he swings a right leg at it while pondering the meaning of life, the meaning of meaning, and whether meaning means anything, slicing the ball past Friedel. Parity!
GOAL! Inter 3-0 Spurs (Gallas own goal) (agg 3-3)
74 min Kovacic rolls a pass into Zanetti, just outside the box on its left hand side, and Walker dangles a leg into him for discernible reason. Free-kick, in a dangerous position....
73 min Excellent. While we hang around waiting to discover the outcome of this here football match, Simon Everett settles the burning issue of the day.
"As a History Teacher (removes pipe, strokes beard) I can back you up on the 'tea before Empire' debate. British Govt only took direct control of India after the ungrateful locals had the nerve to revolt against the regime of the East India Company. And China was never in the Empire of course, except for the Treaty Ports. On a more serious note, if I was looking to build an empire I'd want Brad Friedel on the ship with me, probably chewing a cigar."
71 min Change for Inter - Guarin departs, Alvarez arrives.
70 min Spurs introduce Lennon for Livermore, which should give them a little more penetration on the break. He might want to penetrate Holtby's nose too, and remind him of where he is.
68 min Guarin rolls Zanetti in behind Naughton, Holtby ambling in the most freezing pursuit imaginable, but he's cutting in from a narrow angle, so can only jab an effort across Friedel that he saves easily enough.
68 min The MBM is nothing if not the playground of the rich and famous, so here's Franny Lee (not the toupeed toilet roll one).
"My uncle Christopher supporting Spurs? He was always the black sheep in the family, though."
65 min Spurs have some possession, looking to slow things down rather than seek the knockout goal. I'm not sure about that, because they can't keep it for 27 minutes, and Inter look likely to score almost every time they have it.
64 min Palacio wriggles away on the right, pacing past the jogging Vertonghen, and his low cross is only just too long for the huffing, puffing Cassano.
63 min James Womack wants us all to know everything works: "I'm stuck at home on baby duty tonight, and for some strange reason they're not showing the match on Spanish domestic telly, so the only way I've had so far of following the match is by triangulating this MBM with the shouting from the partisan crowd in the Italian restaurant downstairs. Is it reallt as exciting as their screams make it appear to be? Are you deliberately toning your report down?"
It's a funny one - Inter aren't peppering the goal, it's just that every time they manage to connect a couple of passes, they find themselves behind Spurs' defence.
60 min Vertonghen concedes a free-kick about forty yards from goal and level with the right edge of the box. Cassano's cross doesn't quite have the required pace, though, so though Cambiasso reaches it, his header floats wide.
57 min I'm semi-surprised Villas-Boas went for Holtby, rather than Huddlestone to sit in front of the back four - and he's embarrassingly robbed by Kovacic, left on his coccyx and relieved when the attack comes to nothing.
57 min Nick Lad-ner sends in a veritable panoply of Romanian footballers whose name ends in U. Ok, I concede - it's no foods that begin with Q.
56 min Holtby replaces Defoe, "his upbeat manner and body language an asset" according to Peter Drury. In which case, where's Kriss Akabusi?
Inter 2-0 Spurs (Palacio) (agg 2-3)
Old Tottenham are back! This is just more, and intense abjectivity. All it takes is a single pass from Cambiasso, setting Palacio away just left of centre, and he draws Friedel, collects himself, opens his body, collects his future self, and slides a finish into the far corner.
51 min Inter break, and suddenly!
50 min Adebayor takes possession and rampages forward, Vertonghen alongside him to his right. he squares, and suddenly there's a proper chance for Spurs, Vertonghen sweeping a lame effort into Handanovic's body, thanks to the distraction of Chivu's composed challenge.
49 min If you read mischievous as mischieveous, we have nothing more to say to one another. We have broiges.
48 min Does Andre Villas-Boas have a steady? Two strikers, still two strikers, and top button undone suggest a man in mischievous mood.
46 min Palacio is caught offside again, racing off in pursuit of Chivu's pass - another warning for Spurs.
46 min Spurs prepare to kick-off, do kick-off, and we're all of a pootle.
Simon McGrother has a point. "Question about cause and effect: I'm sure empire was founded on music hall and resolute phizogs, but didn't we need the empire to get the tea in the first place?"
Tea came following small piece of accidental colonisation that preceded Empire. Or something.
Marie Meyer has some words for our delectation: "During the 1990s the American network NBC had such a fantastic set of programs that aired on Thursday night that the streets were noticeably quiet and restraunts and bars were curiously empty. It started with Cosby, Family Ties, Cheers and then LA Law; a few years later it morphed into Seinfeld, Mad About You, Frasier, Friends and ER."
Ah yes - like Tuesdays that had Bad Boyes - whose dad in real life played for Crystal Palace - followed by Grange Hill.
"Something similar must be going on in Italy, as the San Siro looks about half empty."
Yes - there seems to be a much more liberal attitude to voting with your feet in Italy. I can't decide whether or not this is a good thing.
Anyway, some Bad Boyes, with added Andy Crane, broom cupboard, and Ed the Duck.
Richard T Arthur is back. 'Reminded: Please recall something else for us this instant.'
"Um, got me there. Staying on the topic of destructive forces, how about Defoe? I remember (with the help of my online dictionary) that 'foe' is from the Old English fāh ‘hostile’."
Rather like the word 'foe' I suppose. Not having that. Bow your head in shame.
Half-time entertainment. What a world: the ganze eilom was not like this in my day.
Spurs should be happy to come in only one-down. Inter have sliced and diced the right side of their defence without even having to try especially hard, and are finding space in the box where none ought to exist. They've had a couple of decent attempts themselves, but if Inter score again, trousers will warm.
HALF-TIME: Inter 1-0 Spurs (agg 1-3)
45+2 min Well it could be close to o-ver. Juan gets himself into a frightful old tangle, Adebayor harassing him and then poking the ball away - and suddenly, he's only the keeper to beat. But the angle is narrow, so he attempts a chip, which sails a yard over the bar. That was a less good chance than it looked.
45 min There will be two minutes of added time. In the meantime, Guarin finds space in the Spurs box, this time on the left, chasing a bouncing ball, turning, and bringing it back to make the angle for a shot, hammering a right-footer that's straight at Friedel.
44 min Inter have just stepped this up again, Kovacic finding Palacio deep inside the Spurs box and running at Vertonghen. He does extremely well to get outside him and then directs a low, hard cross towards the far post, but it's too strong for the on-lolling Cassano.
42 min Richard T Arthur is on one: "Players ending in 'u': Your baleful pun reminded me that Bale is from Old English balu, bealu, "evil considered as a destructive force."
Reminded? Reminded? Please recall something else for us this instant.
Guarin pastes a shot that's wide enough to give Begbie heart failure. Subsequently, Friedel delays the restart, and is booked.
40 min This has been a better period for Spurs, Inter haven't torn in behind Naughton for at least seventeen seconds. They even win a corner on their left, but Handanovic is brave and decisive handing it off and away.
38 min Meanwhile, Christopher Lee wants to know what's going on. "Do you think Villas-Boas will change things up a bit at half time? The high line their holding looks to be presenting Inter with far to many opportunities. I mean why run the risk? Also, Gallas looks incredibly unsure."
An adjustment or two are definitely necessary, in mine - but he might still fancy Spurs to score.
37 min Spurs win a free-kick wide on the right, and Sigurdsson whips it across, to where Walker is first to rise, waving the side of his head in its direction and seeing the ball scoot wide. He chastises himself, but he needn't - that was a good effort.
34 min Dembele muscles away from Cambiasso and drags the ball by Kovacic with the studs of his right foot - what a player he should become - which is the centrepiece of a good stretch of possession for Spurs, ending with Defoe having an inaccurate crack.
33 min No longer Baleful, Spurs are much less baleful.
31 min Palacio again finds space behind McNaughton, but is offside. He needs to defend wider, with Parker dropping deeper to fill the gap, because otherwise Inter will score again.
30 min Imagine being called Jan Vertonghen. Your entire sense of self would be altered so drastically that suddenly you would become a giant hunk of athletic man.
27 min Friedel botches a clearance, and Cassano pounces, again down that right side. I'm not sure what Naughton is doing, maybe wearing a scarf and stripy jumper, carrying books. But this time Livermore is on hand, and thanks to an extra screech of pace is able to get ahead of his man and tidy up.
25 min Inter are inter
rim this now, and almost score again. A ball over the top, a simple ball, and Palacio is away from Gallas, lifting a chip over Friedel and onto the bar. Spurs need an extra midfielder and their defensive line to drop, else this is going to continue.
23 min Back to Holtby, Richard Coopey explains. "I think that the theory with Holtby is that he was brought in early with the Sandro injury in mind, especially as I think Dembele was out for a while at the same time. Dembele then recovered, as did Parker, meaning that Holtby didn't need to be rushed into the first team. He can train and play a bit part role these six months, meaning that he should be ready to hit the ground running next season. Which would be well worth a couple of million quid.
It's also a really good indicator of the AVB meritocracy – Sigurdsson is playing well, so he keeps his place. That keeps the players hungry, rather than the Harry approach of a clear first team meaning that the second string didn't bother whenever they did get picked (I'm looking at you Niko Kranjcar)."
Hmmm. Holtby isn't competing with Parker, though, or even Dembele - but I agree about Sigurdsson. Spurs are doing well at the moment, but the one thing they've missed this season is guile that means they can score without going wide or long.
Ooooh, things are happening here now. Peter Drury squeaks a peculiar non sequitur, but in the excitement, I forget it. It was similar to "Parity!" and "Basecamp!" of recent times.
Anyway, Inter again rushed Spurs' left side, Palacio bursting into the box and clipping a cross to the far post, precisely onto Cassano's forehead, and he headed down firmly - so down and so firmly, it looked like it might hit his foot or bounce up and over the bar - but it did not, finding the roof of the net.
Inter 1-0 Spurs (agg 1-3)
19 min Inter are starting to play here, and, and, and
17 min Cassao finds space in the inside-right channel again, and bearing down on goal, introduces himself to the grass. According to commentary, his preference for that rather than shooting is sufficient evidence not to award a penalty, regardless of whether or not Gallas fouled him. He probably did, but Cassano is a child for the behaviour nonetheless.
16 min Sinan Alnajjarm wonders what Defoe's completed pass stats are like, but I'm sure he's alright really.
14 min Livermore is booked for time-wasting, and Neal Butler sends an email. "AVB with a tie, top button undone? And, presumably some "designer" stubble? Sounds like a perfume ad from some quarterly glossy."
I was being kind in leaving it out, but you've forced me - he's also got a cold sore. Though given the state of everything nowadays - red trousers, jack-ups, skinny jeans, tank-tops, cardigans and the rest - it probably counts as high fashion.
13 min Another long ball, Cassano this time managing to stay onside, wide on the right, bouncing towards goal. With Palacio imploring him to cross, he shot, but his effort was too close to Friedel and he got down to it well.
11 min Spurs build down the right, and Defoe has a speculative shooting opportunity, but several men alongside him in support. He shoots, and receives glares and choice words.
10 min Cassano is caught so far offside he's almost back onside - I wonder if Spurs catch more sides than anyone else in the Premier League. They condense games into a thirty yard patch in the middle of the pitch, so it only takes one pass to set one of their wingers away. Some might call it rugby league.
8 min Other footballers ending in U - Ndlovu, Kanu, Emre Belözoğlu. Thanks to the various.
7 min Jonathan launches a ball forward, Guarin haring after it, but Vertonghen thudded his enormous body into a challenge and that was pretty much that. He is quite a piece of human.
x min The timestamp on my screen has vanished. Here's Ethan Dean-Richards: "Is it weird that Holtby isn't really starting games yet? He's going to be a major force for them next year, surely. Particularly if he gets to send passes to Bale and Lennon still. "
I'm surprised he's not in the side for this one, especially given that they chucked in some precious cash to get him. But Sigurdsson is playing really well at the moment, so is in his spot - Livermore has been picked for apparent solidity.
3 min Footballers whose names end with U. Kwame Ampadu, Ugo Ehiogu.
2 min Spurs win a free-kick out on the left, which Sigurdsson swings in and Chivu heads away.
1 min Zanetti is playing left-back. He has a blinder.
1 min We start.
Nicholas Murphy is a-wondrin: "Are Inter **** cause they allowed themselves to be wooed into a rather large night out with Mourinho and have woken up from that heavy night before vaguely remembering something great happened but curious as to why their bank account now says -41p?"
I'd say not. The performances he coaxed out of Milito, and the good behaviour he mustered from Eto'o were principal reasons, much more so than cash spent.
The players are in the tunnel, and now emerge. Adebayor is bouncing around, but fooling no one.
"There is no more vindication of a project than a trophy," says Matt Smith, but he's wrong. An A is clearly better. Richard III and Jack the Ripper, Junior 3 and Junior 4.
Andre Villas-Boas is sporting a tie, with top button undone. He's confident.
What, in human society, is more serious than a telly quiz show?
No hell below us, above us only Scott-y Parker's face. And chwhat a face it is. Cups of tea + music hall + determined faces = Empire.
BREAKING NEWS! This game kicks off at eighteen hundred hours Greenwich mean time, not at the seventeen hundred and a half hours I had been led to believe would host its commencement. More as I get it.
Back to the teams, Inter leave out Ranocchia, Pereira, and Alvarez from last week's execrable showing, with Guarin, Jonathan and Palacio the lucky supplicants. For Spurs, Bale is absent with suspension issues - though unconfirmed reports suggest that there is currently a phone-in on Talksport asking whether Villas-Boas was right to leave him out - so Adebayor comes in for his periodic loaf. Lennon is on the bench, his place taken by Livermore.
ITV Update: Bradley Walsh is asking questions of a lady with bright pink hair. Atmosphere and tension build.
Teams, of all the things.
Inter (4-3-1-2): Handanovic; Zanetti, Chivu, Juan, Jonathan; Guarin, Cambiasso, Gargano; Kovacic; Palacio, Cassano.
Subs: Belec, Alvarez, Ranocchia, Benassi, Pasa, Colombi, Belloni.
Tottenham (4-3-1-2): Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton; Dembele, Parker, Livermore; Sigurdsson; Defoe, Adebayor.
Subs: Lloris, Huiddlestone, Lennon, Holtby, Assou-Ekotto, Caulker, Carroll.
Preamble Manchester United v Porto, 1997; Arsenal v Juventus, 2001; Liverpool v Juventus, 2005; and now, Spurs v Inter 2012. The common factor? Games in which English sides set about big-name opposition with frantic, focused fury from the very first minute and distributing not just a beating-up, but a beating-down.
Ok, there are degrees of opposition - this is no vintage Nerazzurri (get me, etc) - but the point remains. Each of those performances illustrated the savage beauty of English football at its best; pace, power and remorseless running, yes, but plenty of guile and skills too. Have that, Charles Hughes.
This, on the other hand, could very well be very terrible; consider the two games that featured second legs. So, eyes down for some escapism - another traditionally English trait, as we JIVE LIVE at FIVE.