Crouch stoops to conquer as Spurs rout the Young Boys
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLAY-OFF Tottenham 4 Young Boys 0 (Tottenham win 6-3 on aggregate) By Ben Pearce at White Hart Lane PETER Crouch scored his second Tottenham hat-trick as Spurs completed their comeback against Young Boys and cruised into the group stages
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLAY-OFF
Young Boys 0
(Tottenham win 6-3 on aggregate)
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By Ben Pearce at White Hart Lane
PETER Crouch scored his second Tottenham hat-trick as Spurs completed their comeback against Young Boys and cruised into the group stages of the Champions League.
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It is the first time that the Lilywhites have qualified for Europe's elite competition for 48 years, since Bill Nicholson's side contested the European Cup in 1962.
Of course, it was Crouch who originally secured the Lilywhites' top-four finish back in May, heading the winner in a pivotal 1-0 win over Manchester City at Eastlands.
The �9million striker could only watch from the bench in Berne last week as his team-mates fought back from 3-0 down to salvage a 3-2 defeat in the away leg of their make-or-break play-off tie.
But the 6ft 7ins forward was Tottenham's hero again last night, netting two headers before completing his treble from the penalty spot to bag his second hat-trick for Harry Redknapp's side - the first coming in a 5-1 win over Preston in the Carling Cup last September.
"It's massive for the club," said Crouch, who started his career at Tottenham in 1998. "It was a very difficult first tie, but I think we played exceptionally well last night and deserve the bonus of Champions League football.
"It was all about last season's hard work, we put ourselves in a position to play in the Champions League [by finishing fourth] but didn't want to celebrate too much because we knew we had to get through this first.
"We want massive games, that's why we put all the hard work in last year. We want to play the likes of Real Madrid and Inter Milan at White Hart Lane - that's what the fans want to see.
"You don't know how good you are until you play against the best and we've got the chance to do that now so we are all looking forward to it."
Spurs went into last night's home tie knowing that victory would be enough to qualify for the last 32, and they were given the perfect start in the fifth minute as Crouch met Aaron Lennon's inswinging cross from the right on the corner of the six-yard box, directing the ball back into the far corner.
Tottenham doubled their lead in fortuitous circumstances as Jermain Defoe handled Gareth Bale's lobbed through ball but was allowed to proceed and fire home off the left-hand post.
Spurs endured a scare when Young Boys striker Henri Bienvenu headed wide from a good position shortly before the break, but any fears of a comeback were ended in the second half as Crouch headed home from Bale's corner.
Welshman Bale also played a key role in the fourth goal, racing into the box from the left flank before being brought down. The referee pointed to the spot and Crouch grabbed the ball before firing into the bottom left corner.
The England striker could have had a fourth but shot straight at the goalkeeper from close range as substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko rolled the ball across the goalmouth.
It did not matter as the match had long since been won, and Crouch claimed the match ball at the final whistle as Spurs await their fate in the group stages. The draw takes place at 5pm today in Monaco.