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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal (1st Leg)
Carling Cup: Spurs Mess Up Golden Opportunity;
Julio Baptista went from zero to hero for Arsenal as they held Tottenham in an absorbing Carling Cup semi-final first-leg tie at White Hart Lane. Dimitar Berbatov gave Spurs the lead heading in after a mix-up between Manuel Almunia and Kolo Toure.

Berbatov injured his groin and soon had to be replaced by Robbie Kean with Jol electing to revert to a 4-5-1 formation with Jermain Defoe up front on his own. The tactic seemed to be working when Tom Huddlestone's free-kick was kicked into his own net by Julio Baptista as the Brazilian tried to clear the ball.

Match Highlights:

Spurs had the tie in their hands, but will surely be left wondering why they didn't push home their advantage from this point. They were fortunate to go in at half-time with their 2-0 lead intact but in the second half their luck ran out as they were outclassed by a weakened Arsenal side.

Although the first-team players of Eboue and Hleb were introduced and the duo helped further unsettle Spurs Arsenal eventually equalized thanks to two goals by Baptista, who now has six in his last two games in the competition. The second goal was a mess from Spurs' point of view as goalkeeper Paul Robinson inexplicably ran out of his goal to close the angle on an advancing Justin Hoyte, but the youngster just had to cross the ball to Baptista for a simple tap-in.

The two teams will meet again at the Emirates next week when it will be well and truly advantage the home team: Arsenal.

Post match Interviews: