Benfica vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Final score 2-2, Spurs come up just short

That was almost awesome.

Remember last year's Europa League tie against Inter Milan, where we had it in the bag, totally screwed it up, then won anyway? Tottenham Hotspur's tie against Benfica this year was the exact opposite of that.

No one gave Spurs much of a chance to mount a comeback on Thursday after they suffered a 3-1 defeat at White Hart Lane in the first leg, especially with no senior central defenders available. And, for 78 minutes of the second leg, Spurs didn't look capable of mounting a comeback. But the last 12 minutes plus stoppage time were hectic, with Nacer Chadli scoring twice and Spurs generating numerous chances to force extra time. But, ultimately, Benfica won a late penalty to seal a 5-3 aggregate victory and a 2-2 draw on the night.

The first half was fairly even, though mostly uneventful. Roberto Soldado had a big chance in the 15th minute off a corner, but whiffed on a volley at the near post. Benfica went on to find a way to take advantage of Spurs' lack of true central defenders and went ahead on the night in the 34th minute, with Ezequiel Garay heading in a cross by Eduardo Salvio after a set piece.

There wasn't much improvement from Spurs in the second half -- which was excessively boring -- until Spurs started to make substitutions. Harry Kane entered in the 71st minute and Christian Eriksen followed soon afterwards, turning the game on its head. Their introduction moved Chadli to the left flank, where he went on a tear in the closing minutes.

His first goal was an opposite-Bale special, scored from 20 yards with a bullet to the near post after he cut in from the left flank. Just 90 seconds later, he scored a second time, poking in a knockdown from Kane after Aaron Lennon crossed to the far post.

Spurs had multiple chances to level the tie late, but came up short. They should have been given a penalty in the 88th minute when Miralem Sulejmani shoved down Kane from behind in the box, but the referee saw no infraction. There were also two big stoppage time saves from Jan Oblak off headers by Gylfi Sigurdsson and Kane.

The result was sealed with the last kick of the ball by Lima, who scored a 94th minute penalty after Sandro shoved him down in the box. Once again, it was a solid effort from Spurs, but one that did not produce a result.

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