Barclays Premier League

Spurs reach Europa League

2011-05-22 19:12
Roman Pavlyuchenko (File)

London - Birmingham City's two-year stay in the Premier League came to an end at White Hart Lane as Roman Pavlyuchenko scored twice in a 2-1 win for Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Craig Gardner's equaliser looked to be enough to keep Alex McLeish's team safe until a dramatic finale when a Wolves' goal at home to Blackburn that would have sent Birmingham down on goal difference preceded a second from Pavlyuchenko that sealed the Blues' fate.

Harry Redknapp's Spurs' side qualified for European football with the win, but the focus will be on Birmingham's slump since ending their 48-year wait for a major trophy in February.

Spurs had first-hand experience of a post English League Cup hangover when they triumphed in the tournament in 2008, with Juande Ramos winning just three more league games before being sacked in the same year.

The difference with Birmingham's situation was that only two wins since Wembley left McLeish's men just above the relegation zone on goal difference heading into Sunday's final day of the season.

McLeish had also endured a difficult week, starting with goalkeeper Ben Foster having his professionalism questioned after allegedly celebrating into the early hours after collecting the club's player-of-the-year award.

Birmingham also had a host of injury problems.

Lee Bowyer, Martin Jiranek, Stuart Parnaby and Alexander Hleb were sidelined and David Bentley, on loan from Spurs, was ineligible against his parent club.

They were facing a Spurs team who still had something to play for as matching or bettering Liverpool's result at Aston Villa would seal a place in the Europa League next season.

Redknapp had Heurelho Gomes returning from a back injury but opted to stick with Carlo Cudicini in goal, while Rafael van der Vaart missed out with a calf complaint.

Foster was the busier of the two goalkeepers during the first half.

He saved twice from Sandro, firstly when the Brazil midfielder drilled towards the near post, before a dipping drive was tipping over the crossbar.

Peter Crouch, who had set up Sandro's first chance, also fired wide from the edge of the penalty area but was forced off before half-time with a head injury from a challenge with Roger Johnson.

Birmingham did not muster a shot on goal in the first 45 minutes and suffered nervous moments when Barry Ferguson was accused of handling in the penalty area, and when Younes Kaboul's drive flashed wide.

The opening goal came four minutes after the interval from a move that started with Danny Rose skipping past Sebastian Larsson on the left flank with a neat piece of skill.

Rose's pass ricocheted to Pavlyuchenko, who took a touch 25 yards from goal before curling his right-footed finish into the net for the Russia international's 13th goal of the season.

Jermain Defoe could have added another following an exciting run, but his shot was blocked by Curtis Davies.

Needing a goal to save their season, Birmingham started attacking and Johnson headed wide from a corner, while Keith Fahey volleyed over the bar.

McLeish made his move 16 minutes from time by bringing on Matt Derbyshire, a striker, in place of midfielder Larsson.

Gardner volleyed home after a corner was cleared to his path 25 yards from goal, sparking frenzied celebrations.

But Pavlyuchenko had the final say, smashing home from the edge of the area and in off the crossbar in the dying moments.

Read more on:    epl  |  roman pavlyuchenko


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Tue, 29 Jul 2014 @00:00
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

08 August 2015
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Old Trafford 13:45
Norwich City v Crystal Palace, Carrow Road 16:00
Everton v Watford, Goodison Park 16:00
Leicester City v Sunderland, King Power Stadium 16:00
Bournemouth v Aston Villa, Vitality Stadium 16:00
Chelsea v Swansea City, Stamford Bridge 18:30
09 August 2015
Arsenal v West Ham United, Emirates Stadium 14:30
Newcastle United v Southampton, St. James' Park 14:30
Stoke City v Liverpool, Britannia Stadium 17:00
10 August 2015
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City, The Hawthorns 21:00
Team P W PTS

With the season all but done, are you happy with your side's performance?

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.