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Bale brace puts Spurs in driving seat
Gareth Bale scored two sensational free-kicks as Tottenham gained the advantage over Lyon with a thrilling last-gasp 2-1 win in the Europa League at White Hart Lane.
Samuel Umtiti looked like he had earned a draw for Lyon when he smashed home a stunning half-volley equaliser in the 55th minute, but once again Bale came to the rescue for Spurs.
The Welshman put Tottenham ahead with another physics-defying set piece from 35 yards in first-half stoppage time, and he came up with the goods again just 10 seconds from the final whistle.
There was no hint that Bale was set to have a successful evening in the eighth minute when he steadied himself to meet Kyle Walker's cross, but the Welshman ballooned over from 10 yards.
The away side penetrated the Spurs box for the first time in the 14th minute and they should have had a penalty when Jan Vertonghen tripped Bafetimbi Gomis, but the referee waved play on, much to the anger of the Lyon bench.
Bale trickled a weak shot in to Remy Vercoutre's arms and the Welshman then had the worst miss of his career, shooting wide of an open goal from six yards after Walker had cut out the Lyon goalkeeper with his cross.
Bale soon had his manager jumping for joy, however. Alexandre Lacazette hacked down Mousa Dembele 35 yards out and Bale lashed a dipping drive which left the beaten Vercoutre dumbfounded.
Lyon flew out of the blocks in the second half and equalised thanks to Umtiti's stunning striker. William Gallas thought he had cleared the danger when he glanced Steed Malbranque's excellent cross clear, but the ball fell to Umtiti, who hit a peach of a half-volley straight in to the top corner past a stunned Brad Friedel.
Lacazette almost doubled the lead six minutes later when he beat three Tottenham defenders, but veteran Friedel demonstrated the reflexes of a 20-year-old to tip the forward's shot over.
And there was to be one last twist in the tale. Captain Maxime Gonalons felled Bale and he picked himself up before firing a beautiful curling shot past the French goalkeeper to send the home crowd in to ecstasy.