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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 22:09 GMT
Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal
By Saj Chowdhury

Julio Baptista after scoring his second at White Hart Lane
Julio Baptista enjoyed a reversal of fortunes at White Hart Lane
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.

They made it 2-0 when Baptista knocked the ball into his own net from Tom Huddlestone's free-kick.

But Baptista fired in from six yards to reduce the deficit, before being fed by Justin Hoyte for a simple tap-in.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger's decision to stick with a youthful side similar to the one that obliterated Liverpoool backfired early in the match.

But it was a more experienced duo that gifted Tottenham the opener.

The buzzing Jermain Defoe looped in a cross from the right that both captain Toure and keeper Almunia left to each other, allowing Berbatov to sneak in to score with a very simple header.

The Bulgarian, who had earlier smacked Almunia's right-hand upright with a fierce shot, was forced to leave the field soon after with a groin injury.


Nevertheless, substitute Robbie Keane seamlessly slotted into Spurs' attack.

A couple of minutes after the striker's introduction, Spurs doubled their advantage when Huddlestone fired in a low free-kick from the left that Brazilian Baptista inadvertantly flicked into his own goal at the near post.

The second strike jolted Arsenal into life, with Hoyte going close with a shot that was blocked by the impressive Michael Dawson, while England international Theo Walcott and Jeremie Aliadiere were starting to stretch the Spurs midfield.

But it was Baptista, who scored four at Anfield, who had the best chance to get Arsenal back into the game, before half-time.

A corner from the left landed conveniently into the feet of the burly forward, but he could not get his shot away, much to the frustration of him and his team-mates.

But he atoned for his first-half nightmare with a stunning second-half riposte.

The 'Beast', as he is affectionately known, barged his way into the 18-yard area and played a one-two with Walcott before passing the ball past Robinson.

And the smile on the Brazilian's face became broader when he was first to Hoyte's low centre from the right to slide in the equaliser.

Spurs fans might well have been left wondering why Paul Robinson had raced out of his box to deal with Hoyte and leave his goal totally exposed.

But it was the least Wenger's young side deserved, and they also went close through Cesc Fabregas' header and firm 20-yard shot and Walcott's close-range effort that flew narrowly wide.

Tottenham: Robinson, Chimbonda, Dawson, Gardner, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Zokora, Huddlestone, Malbranque, Berbatov (Keane 18), Defoe (Mido 81).
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Young-Pyo Lee, Ghaly.

Booked: Defoe.

Goals: Berbatov 12, Julio Baptista 21 og.

Arsenal: Almunia, Hoyte, Toure, Senderos, Traore, Denilson, Fabregas, Diaby (Hleb 56), Julio Baptista, Aliadiere (Eboue 60), Walcott, Hleb (Flamini 81).
Subs Not Used: Poom, Randall.

Booked: Julio Baptista, Toure, Traore.

Goals: Julio Baptista 64, 77.

Att: 35,485

Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

Wenger praises Arsenal fightback
24 Jan 07 |  League Cup
Wednesday's football photos
24 Jan 07 |  Football


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