Spurs centre-back Gallas clears a Robinho shot off the line
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at White Hart Lane
Tottenham survived a night of gripping tension at White Hart Lane to overcome AC Milan and reach the last eight of the Champions League.
The Italians forced Spurs into a dogged rearguard action for long spells to protect the slender lead Peter Crouch's goal gave them from the first leg in the San Siro and ensure they succeeded where arch-rivals Arsenal failed in European combat.
And despite living on their nerves, especially during a first half dominated by the visitors, Harry Redknapp's side demonstrated that they have added a streak of defensive resilience to the verve that has characterised earlier contests in their Champions League campaign.
Milan, with ageless Dutch master Clarence Seedorf outstanding, laid siege to the Spurs goal in the first half.
Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes saved from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Pato, while William Gallas kept Milan at bay with a priceless goal-line clearance from Robinho's deflected shot.
The hosts improved after the break but it was still Milan who provided the threat, with Mathieu Flamini and Pato coming desperately close to forcing extra time as the home fans watched the clock counting down with increasing anxiety.
Redknapp has found heroes in attack as Spurs have progressed impressively in Europe but here they were uncovered elsewhere, with veteran Gallas magnificent in defence and the rapidly maturing Sandro a significant presence in midfield.
White Hart Lane exploded in jubilation when referee Frank de Bleeckere sounded the final whistle and Spurs marched on after another glory, glory night.
Redknapp, who becomes the first English manager to take an English side to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, has now masterminded victories over both Milan giants following the win over holders Inter Milan in the group stages.
Spurs can now await the draw for the last eight, which takes place on 18 March, knowing they have already created a huge impact in the Champions League - but with the enticing opportunity of going further into the latter stages.
Redknapp resisted the temptation to risk midfielder Gareth Bale, who has been suffering with a back injury, and his pace, power and threat were missed as Milan swiftly took charge of proceedings.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri, knowing the Italians needed a goal, made no concessions to conservatism as Pato, Robinho and Ibrahimovic all started and exerted influence on a first 45 minutes dominated by the Rossoneri.
Gomes, whose handling and lines of communication with his defenders were riddled with uncertainty during the early exchanges, saved well from Ibrahimovic's free-kick but was fortunate to escape as Milan almost opened the scoring after 25 minutes.
The keeper's ill-judged dash from goal allowed Pato to round him, and as he struggled to regain his ground Gomes was relieved to see Gallas clear Robinho's deflected shot off the line.
Spurs have become accustomed to exerting their authority at home in this Champions League campaign but found themselves on the receiving end of a Milan performance packed with the intensity conspicuously absent from the first leg in the San Siro.
Rafael van der Vaart almost made the visitors pay the price for their ambition with a dipping free-kick that landed on top of the net before Gomes was called into action again to save low down from Pato after he was played in by Ibrahimovic.
Crouch had troubled the Italians in the air but wasted an opportunity just after the break by heading into an empty six-yard area when an attempt on goal was the obvious option.
Flamini, jeered roundly for the twin crimes of previously playing for Arsenal and for his horror tackle on Vedran Corluka in the first leg, almost silenced the taunts with a low drive that flew inches wide with no colleague able to apply the final touch.
Gomes survived another scare after 64 minutes when he failed to hold Robinho's shot but recovered as the Brazilian tried to force home the rebound.
It was the signal for Redknapp to introduce Bale in place of Van der Vaart, who was not able to reproduce the explosive impact of previous European nights at White Hart Lane.
As the game entered its final 15 minutes Milan's efforts carried an increasing desperation, but an effort from Pato flew so narrowly off target that the massed ranks of visiting fans thought they had equalised.
Robinho almost grabbed the goal Milan craved as the tie entered stoppage time, but to the collective relief of Spurs and their supporters he was high with his fizzing drive - and moments later the party started.
90:00+3:00 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90:00+1:58 Alessandro Nesta concedes a free kick for a foul on Roman Pavlyuchenko. Gareth Bale takes the direct free kick.
90:00+0:54 De Souza Robinho takes a shot. Blocked by William Gallas. Outswinging corner taken by De Souza Robinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Heurelho Gomes. Direct free kick taken by Heurelho Gomes.
89:22 The assistant referee flags for offside against Roman Pavlyuchenko. Emiliano Thiago Silva takes the free kick.
88:29 Benoit Assou-Ekotto fouled by da Silva Alexandre Pato, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
87:43 Da Silva Alexandre Pato has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the target.
87:14 The offside flag is raised against Roman Pavlyuchenko. Alessandro Nesta takes the free kick.
86:13 Substitution Rodney Strasser joins the action as a substitute, replacing Mathieu Flamini.
85:59 The ball is sent over by Luca Antonini, clearance made by Michael Dawson.
84:29 Corner taken by Luka Modric from the left by-line played to the near post, Alessandro Nesta manages to make a clearance.
81:55 Substitution Roman Pavlyuchenko joins the action as a substitute, replacing Peter Crouch.
80:55 The ball is crossed by Luca Antonini, clearance by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
80:12 Alexander Merkel takes the outswinging corner, Vedran Corluka makes a clearance.
79:13 The ball is swung over by Vedran Corluka, save made by Christian Abbiati.
76:52 Da Silva Alexandre Pato produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.
76:40 The ball is swung over by Alexander Merkel, clearance by Raniere Sandro.
75:20 Substitution Alexander Merkel joins the action as a substitute, replacing Kevin-Prince Boateng.
70:00 Foul by Luca Antonini on Aaron Lennon, free kick awarded. Luka Modric takes the direct free kick.
70:00 Substitution Jermaine Jenas replaces Steven Pienaar.
69:12 Substitution Marek Jankulovski goes off and Luca Antonini comes on.
69:03 Centre by Steven Pienaar, clearance by Alessandro Nesta.
66:30 Mathieu Flamini concedes a free kick for a foul on Gareth Bale. Direct free kick taken by Heurelho Gomes.
65:35 De Souza Robinho takes a shot. Save by Heurelho Gomes. Shot from inside the six-yard box by De Souza Robinho goes wide right
of the target.
65:35 Substitution Gareth Bale joins the action as a substitute, replacing Rafael Van der Vaart.
64:00 Free kick awarded for a foul by Peter Crouch on Emiliano Thiago Silva. Christian Abbiati takes the free kick.
63:14 Mathieu Flamini challenges Benoit Assou-Ekotto unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed
by Rafael Van der Vaart from left wing, da Silva Alexandre Pato gets a block in. Rafael Van der Vaart crosses the ball, clearance
by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
63:14 Booking Da Silva Alexandre Pato receives a yellow card.
62:21 Booking Caution for Mathieu Flamini.
60:57 Free kick awarded for a foul by Alessandro Nesta on Peter Crouch. Direct free kick taken by Rafael Van der Vaart.
60:34 Zlatan Ibrahimovic is penalised for a handball. Heurelho Gomes takes the indirect free kick.
60:08 The assistant referee flags for offside against da Silva Alexandre Pato. Michael Dawson restarts play with the free kick.
59:34 Peter Crouch concedes a free kick for a foul on Alessandro Nesta. Free kick taken by Alessandro Nesta.
59:04 The assistant referee flags for offside against Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Christian Abbiati takes the free kick.
56:41 Outswinging corner taken by Rafael Van der Vaart, Headed effort from inside the area by Michael Dawson misses to the left
of the target.
54:33 Steven Pienaar fouled by Clarence Seedorf, the ref awards a free kick. Benoit Assou-Ekotto takes the free kick.
52:50 Peter Crouch challenges Alessandro Nesta unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Christian Abbiati.
51:07 Da Silva Alexandre Pato takes a shot. Michael Dawson gets a block in.
47:51 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Marek Jankulovski. Luka Modric restarts play with the free kick.
47:51 Booking Marek Jankulovski is shown a yellow card.
47:12 The ball is sent over by Ignazio Abate, Raniere Sandro makes a clearance.
46:32 Zlatan Ibrahimovic fouled by Michael Dawson, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Clarence Seedorf.
45:50 The ball is delivered by Aaron Lennon, Peter Crouch takes a shot.
45:01 The match restarts for the second half.
45:00+1:00 The whistle is blown to end the first half.
45:00+0:07 Shot from 35 yards by Benoit Assou-Ekotto missed to the left of the net.
44:16 Benoit Assou-Ekotto produces a cross, Marek Jankulovski manages to make a clearance.
41:37 Raniere Sandro challenges Kevin-Prince Boateng unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Clarence Seedorf.
40:37 Kevin-Prince Boateng takes a shot. Blocked by Luka Modric.
40:29 Ignazio Abate produces a cross, save by Heurelho Gomes.
39:08 Corner taken by De Souza Robinho played to the near post, Peter Crouch makes a clearance.
36:52 Da Silva Alexandre Pato is caught offside. Michael Dawson restarts play with the free kick.
36:09 Effort on goal by Rafael Van der Vaart from 20 yards. Christian Abbiati makes a save.
33:05 The offside flag is raised against da Silva Alexandre Pato. Indirect free kick taken by Heurelho Gomes.
31:38 Effort from 12 yards by da Silva Alexandre Pato. Save by Heurelho Gomes.
30:45 Foul by Steven Pienaar on Kevin-Prince Boateng, free kick awarded. Alessandro Nesta takes the free kick.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.