Tottenham Hotspur took a monumental step towards a place in the Europa League quarter-finals after an emphatic 3-0 win over Inter Milan at White Hart Lane.
The Premier League outfit completely outplayed the Seria A side, who were a shadow of the team who won the Italian treble in 2010, while Gareth Bale once against showcased his class on a European stage and continued his fine goal scoring form.
And it was the Welsh winger who opened the scoring after only six minutes, rising unmarked in the box to unleash a powerful header after a looping cross from Icelandic star Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Sigurdsson then doubled Spurs’ lead in the 18th minute when he pounced on a loose ball to tap home after Jermain Defoe’s drive was parried by Slovenian stopper Samir Handanovic.
England international Scott Parker put in a trademark performance, doing well to break down Inter’s attacking play as he charged around just in front of the Lilywhites’ back four, while Defoe had a number of strong efforts well saved by Handanovic.
And Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen put the result out of doubt with Tottenham’s third after the break with a header inside the box following a sweeping corner from Bale.
The Italian side struggled with Spurs’ pace and couldn’t contain Aaron Lennon and Bale on the wings as both players exposed the gaps in the Inter defence.
Ricardo Alvarez squandered a gift of a chance when a deflected pass put him through on goal, but the Argentine dragged his shot hopelessly wide, while substitute Rodrigo Palacio had a shot well saved by veteran keeper Brad Friedel.
An excellent performance and result for Spurs, but they will have to be at their best and produce a similar performance to escape Inter's San Siro fortress unscathed for the second-leg in a week’s time.
Though they will have to do without the talismanic Bale, who is suspended for the team's trip to Milan due to a yellow card he picked for diving.