Tottenham and Olympique Lyonnais treated North Londeners (and the traveling French) to a Last-32 Europa League Valentine’s Day fireworks show at White Hart Lane, which included three of the best goals of the week from any competition. The main pyrotechnics involved: Spurs winger Gareth Bale and Lyon’s lanky 19-year-old defender, Samuel Umtiti.
Bale tallied the first of his two free kick goals with a dipping, diving, dodging, [add any other dynamic adjective here] 35-yard blast right before halftime, effectively allowing Spurs fans to forget the sitter he missed from six yards out just minutes earlier. Lyon’s Umtiti then replied with a gorgeous half-volley shortly after half-time. With his left boot, Umtiti threw all six feet of his gangly body into the ball from the corner of Tottenham’s box.
But Bale had the last word, expertly pummeling a free kick into the opposite corner before the referee blew the whistle for full time. Both of Bale’s free kicks from yesterday’s match should remind soccer fans–especially those from North London–of Thierry Henry’s stationary bullets, muscled knucklers that don’t rely on finesse like Beckham’s wafts but pure power and swiftness. And while the United States fawns over LeBron’s recent statistical zenith, don’t forget about Bale’s: six goals in his last four games.
Anyways, watch the highlights below. Spurs will meet Lyon at Stade de Gerland for the second leg on Thursday.