Pavlyuchenko strike saves blushes as Tottenham reach final

January 22nd, 2009 - 3:09 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 22 (DPA) Late goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe secured Tottenham Hotspur’s place in the Carling Cup final on the basis of aggregate, despite a 3-2 semi-final second-leg defeat against Burnley. Leading 4-1 from the first leg, Tottenham Wednesday were 100-1 favourites to reach the final against Manchester United, but with two minutes of extra-time remaining, they were heading out on the away goals rule.

Scores by Robbie Blake, Chris McCann and Jay Rodriguez had given Burnley a 3-0 lead.

But with Burnley tiring, Benoit Assou-Ekotto crossed for Pavlyuchenko to score the crucial goal. Jermain Defoe then added his second goal since his return to the club from Portsmouth.

Assou-Ekotto almost gave Burnley an early lead, drawing his own goalkeeper Ben Alnwick into a spectacular save.

The debutant Alnwick, though, was badly caught out after 34 minutes, advancing in expectation of a cross as Blake thumped a free-kick inside his near post.

Tottenham never looked comfortable, and Burnley struck again with 18 minutes remaining.

Blake was again at the centre of it, twisting and teasing on the left, before crossing low for McCann to poke in.

Pavlyuchenko fluffed a great chance to seal it for Tottenham before Burnley scored again with three minutes remaining.

Alnwick again was at fault, flapping at Blake’s free-kick, allowing substitute Rodriguez to level.

That took the game to extra-time, with Burnley knowing that if the score remained at 3-0, they would go through on away goals. But the longer extra-time went on, the more Burnley seemed to quail before the magnitude of their potential achievement.

The goals from Pavlyuchenko and Defoe may have been cruel, but they ensured Spurs will be in the final March 1 at Wembley.

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