Pienaar shines in stormy tie

2011-02-16 10:59

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Bafana Bafana star Steven Pienaar has been lauded for his performance in probably the most searching examination he has yet faced at club level.

VIDEO: Gattuso headbutt on Joe Jordan

The former Everton player, who recently joined Tottenham, played an influential role as Spurs earned a famous 1-0 victory in their European Champions League round-of-16 first leg tie against Italian icons AC Milan at the San Siro on Tuesday night.

It was a feisty affair, to put it mildly, but the product of no-nonsense Westbury in Johannesburg kept admirable composure as he contributed to the smash-and-grab raid which leaves the Londoners well-placed to advance to the quarter-finals.

On a night when Milan captain Gennaro Gattuso spectacularly lost his rag – the yellow card he got for a foul on Pienaar means he misses the second leg, although that was the least of his indiscretions – the South African earned decent laurels in English newspapers.

In giving him a match rating of seven out of 10, the Daily Telegraph noted: “A slight surprise selection ahead of Niko Kranjcar on the left, but his ability to drift inside helped Spurs dominate central midfield and largely nullify AC Milan.”

Legendary writer James Lawton, in The Independent, said: “If Pienaar was not (injured Spurs wunderkind Gareth) Bale ... he was steady, progressive and impressively composed.”

And the mass-criculation The Sun, in handing him an impromptu  “Best Newcomer” gong from the encounter, commented: “Pienaar was not expected to start, but showed no nerves on the biggest club stage he has performed.

“The South African ace coped with defensive pressure, despite heckling from the crowd.”


  • Perfume - 2011-02-16 11:14

    I am just glad that my team beat AC Milan!!!!!!!! Go Steven...I wonder why men think that women know nothing about soccer lol.

      Tshifhiwa - 2011-02-16 13:15

      So it is your team since Pienaar joined? hmmmm....traitor.

  • mafilo - 2011-02-16 11:26

    Its not like skillo is new in this tornament...the last time he played in this tornament with ajax he was the best perfomer for his team - well done boy! keep doing your thing kasi style...i just wish spures would stop tip towing behind the so called big 4 in the EPL en start buldozing everything in frant of them - they are a very good team - mybe they not sure of themselve - but my view is that the second spot is theirs to claim in the EPL behind the kings of the premier league MAN UNITED.

      Ambiorix - 2011-02-16 11:49

      Well said mafilo....the brits seem to think he's a newby to the euro champ stage. I'm a spurs fan and obviously hoping to see man U slip up on some points:) Here's to the SA boys making us proud..

      Rob - 2011-02-16 13:33

      English correctons: tournament not tornament, performer not perfomer, spurs not spures, tip toeing not tip towing, and not en, bulldozing not buldozing, front not frant, maybe not mybe, they are not, not they not, themselves not themselve. But I must agree Man U are the kings!

      FD - 2011-02-16 14:15

      @Rob - Well spotted - i must check my spelling otherwise i will be in trouble with Rob. lol. I guess you are an English Man who gets upset if people distort his language - i get irritated as well if my Zulu is spoiled though i tollerate a bit those who show interest to learn as opposed to those who resist.

      mafilo - 2011-02-17 08:18

      hahahaha...thanx Rob, ill try ma best 2 mind ma spelling mate.

      Andy49 - 2011-02-17 14:04

      @Rob - your English corrections lesson was proceeding fairly well until I spotted the following typo "But I must agree Man U are the kings!" Now as punishment for this careless error please write out 1,000 lines, "I am a Queen for saying that Man U are the Kings".

  • mjmjanuary - 2011-02-16 11:40

    New South African legend is born . Will be talked abount in years to come . Long live Pienaar long live

  • Johnny Sidestepper - 2011-02-16 11:42

    Good game Steve & good decision on not going to chelsea

  • TRUE Red - 2011-02-16 12:09

    let me firstly say that Milan & Juve have been my lifelong Italian teams, so even as an EPL fan, I was obviously supporting the Rossoneri as always. I am in my early 30's, so I must admit it seemed strange seeing Spurs playing Milan in the 1st place. LFC, Man Utd, the Gunner's, ofcourse, that seems "right", but MY WORD, Spurs KILLED us last night & massive respect to them - don't think people realise just HOW huge this win is ! 'Arry got it spot on & Lennon's run that led to the goal will be shown in highlight packages for years, but I must admit, as a South African, and a Jozi boy, i felt a HUGE sense of pride seeing Skillo step out into the San Siro ! WOW ! As for Gattuso, he has never lacked heart, but last night, he crossed the line, many a time - I reckon out of frustration. Pity Ibra's bicycle goal was ruled out. Hopefully for the return leg at WHL, Pato plays from the start & hope to see the REAL Seedorf ...

  • spiderkzn - 2011-02-16 12:20

    Now i'm supporting Tottenham cos Pienaar make me and our country proud!

      Gatvol - 2011-02-16 12:47

      i don’t have any choice now, spurs is my team but I’ll still watch my Chelsea

      terrype - 2011-02-16 13:18

      A typically fickle supporter who changes sides with his underpants! Chelsea, by the way, have only recently been known as the Blues; they were (and are getting there again) always known as the Pensioners. Maybe Terry Payne will recall this and pass a comment on the Monday Night Manchester United Show - if he's got the courage!! I have been an Arsenal supporter since I had a trial with them in 1957 - and will always be one - even if they don't win many cups. I have also been an admirer of Harry Rednapp, both as a player, a manager, and an international player maker. Last night Harry, Joe Jordan and their wonderful team delighted all lovers of the great game - irrespective of allegencies to other clubs!! Good on you Harry, and well played Stephen and your new found team mates, you gave us a wonderful evening of real quality entertainment. Thankyou!

      Albo - 2011-02-16 16:32

      @terrype - "even if they don't win many cups" - they don`t win ANY cups!!

  • myjdjames - 2011-02-16 12:55

    he scored vs Milan for Ajax so he's been there..done that.

  • Justin - 2011-02-16 13:03

    In defense he was great, a constant bother for Milan's right attack - but if he wants to be a regular starter, he's got to start backing himself on attack, and not to get over-complicated when in front of goal. Rafael Van Der Vaart was magic. I'm converting from a toffee to a hotspur!

  • courage22 - 2011-02-16 13:45

    Awesome Pienaar and Spurs display! May the Super Spurs go marching on!!

  • mycousin - 2011-02-16 14:44

    Schillo in da AREA

  • Andy49 - 2011-02-16 15:46

    Great win Spurs, as a supporter/folower since mid '60s (even when they were relegated) you guys make me feel so proud..

  • The horse - 2011-02-17 11:33

    Has any one ever wondered why in the country we don't have top strikers, because they all below to COSATU, hence we forever have strikes even over petty things

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