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26 Aug 2010

A Peter Crouch hat-trick helped Tottenham secure their debut in the lucrative Champions League group stages as they saw off Swiss side Young Boys.

Spurs trailed 3-2 from the first leg of the qualifier but drew level when Crouch headed in a Gareth Bale cross.

Jermain Defoe appeared to control the ball with his arm before lashing in a controversial second for Spurs.

Crouch powered in a header and added his third with a penalty after Senad Lulic was sent off for a foul on Bale.

Spurs will now be eagerly awaiting the draw for the Champions League group stages on Thursday as they take their place among Europe's elite for the first time since 1961/62.

Their place had been far from guaranteed after their first-leg defeat but the thought of throwing away the hard work they had put in to finish fourth in the Premier League last season helped provide the inspiration to overcome Young Boys.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp wanted his side to launch an onslaught on the Youngs Boys goal from the off and the home side set about the visitors with a pace and energy which quickly earned them the lead.

Crouch had scored the goal against Manchester City to secure a top four top-flight spot for Tottenham last season and he was left unmarked to steer in a header at the far post from Bale's floated cross.

The home side were pressing Young Boys high up the pitch with the type of dynamism their play lacked on the artificial surface of the first leg.

Spurs were dominant but had a slice of luck as Defoe contentiously added to their lead in his final game before undergoing surgery on a groin injury.

He appeared to handle the ball as he controlled a Bale pass and, despite pausing guiltily after lashing in a left-footed shot, the extra official behind the Young Boys goal failed to see the offence and the goal was was given.

Defoe dragged another effort just wide and the only worry for Spurs was keeper Heurelho Gomes signalling that he wanted to come off with an injury only to be kept on by Redknapp.

The move nearly backfired when Xavier Hochstrasser sent a dipping strike just wide of the Spurs goal, with Gomes looking as if he would struggled to save it if it had been on target.

Gomes and his defenders then left a Mark Costanzo cross to each other, but Henri Bienvenu sent his header over the bar.

The Brazilian goalkeeper was then belatedly replaced by Carlo Cudicini at the interval.

Those chances for the Swiss side left a hint of anxiety among the home faithful, but that was all but vanquished when Crouch put Spurs 3-0 up.

The England striker had seen Marco Wolfli block his shot from point-blank range but the Swiss keeper had no chance when Crouch beat Ammar Jemal to a Bale cross and headed in for a now rampant Spurs.

Having set up all three goals for Spurs, the influential Bale then won a penalty after being brought down by Lulic.

Crouch stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way from the spot to complete his hat-trick and leave the Spurs faithful to joyously revel in the glory of the awaiting Champions League group stages, which could be worth in excess of £20m.


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