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Tottenham Hotspur to meet Inter Milan in Europa League after Mousa Dembele's late strike seals success over Lyon
10:38pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in Sport
Tottenham's difficult week in Lyon ended on a dramatic high after Mousa Dembele fired his team into the last 16 of the Europa League with a stunning last-minute strike to secure a 1-1 draw tonight.
Maxime Gonalons, the Lyon captain, looked to have fired Lyon to the 1-0 win they required to advance with his first-half goal.
However, Dembele popped up in the 90th minute, hammering a blistering 25-yard strike past Remy Vercoutre to clinch the tie 3-2 on aggregate and set up a mouthwatering tie against Inter Milan.
Much of the pre-match focus had been on the attack by a group of 50 locals which hospitalised three Spurs fans on Wednesday night.
Spurs looked like a team on the edge from the start, as Clement Grenier swung in a teasing corner in the first minute, and Brad Friedel was caught in two minds with Jan Vertonghen putting in an emergency clearance.
Grenier tested Friedel again soon after, whipping over a looping ball, but Alexandre Lacazette could only head into the goalkeeper's arms. Careless defending from Benoit Assou-Ekotto allowed Lacazette to break free down the right, but luckily for the Cameroonian, referee Wolfgang Stark brought play back for a foul.
The first time Gareth Bale had a say was when his shoddy marking allowed Lyon to break the deadlock after 16 minutes.
Kyle Walker fouled Lisandro Lopez and when Grenier clipped the free-kick to the near post, Bale turned away from Gonalons, who beat a rooted Friedel from eight yards.
Scott Parker and Dembele were painfully slow in possession in midfield while Emmanuel Adebayor struggled up front on his own.
Spurs came out much more confidently after the break as Parker worked the ball out to Adebayor, who whipped a beautifully shaped ball to the back post, but Bale sidefooted barely an inch wide.
Lyon raced up the other end and Tottenham needed a superb save from Friedel to deny the ever-impressive Grenier. The goalkeeper then made an error trying to clear a chipped ball over the top, but Assou-Ekotto muscled past Lacazette to retrieve the ball.
Vercoutre had a nightmare trying to punching away two crunching efforts from Bale in quick succession. Adebayor hooked the ball on to the top of the Lyon bar and Aaron Lennon had a penalty appeal turned down soon after.
Clint Dempsey went close twice soon after his introduction, and it seemed Spurs were destined to go out. Dembele had other ideas, however, dropping his shoulder to beat Grenier before hitting a powerful long-range shot beyond Vercoutre.
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