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Spurs back at Wembley - by the skin of their teeth

PUBLISHED: 09:24 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 07 September 2010

PATRICK MOONEY REPORTS ON A CARLING CUP CLASSIC.

Late, late goals in extra-time from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe broke Burnley s hearts to set up a dream final against quadruple-chasing Manc

SPURS are back at Wembley in the Carling Cup final - by the skin of their teeth, writes PATRICK MOONEY.

Late, late goals in extra-time from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe broke Burnley's hearts to set up a dream final against quadruple-chasing Manchester United on March 1.

Yet, with just 117 seconds left, it was the Championship outfit who were Wembley-bound as they led on the away goals rule with them 3-0 up in the second leg - and the aggregate score at 4-4.

But football can be a cruel game and those late strikes gave the Lilywhites a 6-4 win on aggregate - and the chance to retain the trophy as well as a place in next season's Uefa Cup.

Spurs, who led 4-1 from the first leg at the Lane, were never comfortable at Turf Moor on Wednesday night. Boss Harry Redknapp was forced to give Ben Alnwick a first-team debut in goal for the injured Heurelho Gomes.

And the youngster was quickly called into action when team-mate Benoit Assou-Ekotto overhit a back pass and he did well to claw the ball out for a corner.

Then, after Defoe saw an early shot scrambled away by Burnley keeper Brian Jensen, Alnwick was beaten by Robbie Blake's clever free-kick in the 34th minute.

After the break substitute Gareth Bale - on for the injured Jamie O'Hara - missed a great chance to seal his side's passage but he screwed his shot hopelessly wide when through with only the keeper to beat.

Burnley raised the stakes when Chris Man made it 2-0 with 18 minutes left. Spurs were on the ropes now as Burnley piled forward in search of a third goal, which would send them through to the final on the away goals rule in extra-time.

Yet, Spurs should have wrapped up the tie when Bale played in fellow substitute Pavlyuchenko but the Russian spooned the ball wide from close-range.

It was a miss that was to prove costly as Burnley made it 3-0 and forced added time when Jay Rodriguez home after Alnwick had dropped Blake's free-kick in the 88th minute.

But there was to be another twist in the tale of this pulsating semi final. As the Burnley players' legs tired in the final two minutes of extra-time, Assou-Ekotto pulled the ball back to Pavlyuchenko to put Spurs ahead on aggregate - and keep up his record of scoring in every round of the competition.

And Defoe made sure of Tottenham's return to Wembley in the final minute when he beat his marker to bent in a shot past Jensen from the edge of the penalty.

Tottenham: Alnwick, Gunter (Taarabt 95), Woodgate, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto, Bentley, Zokora, Huddlestone, O'Hara (Bale 62), Modric (Pavlyuchenko 65), Defoe.

Not Used: Cesar, Giovani, Campbell, Rocha. Booked: Bentley.


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