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Bale torments Inter in Tottenham win; Barcelona held by Copenhagen

Peter Crouch, left, congratulates his provider Gareth Bale after putting Tottenham 2-0 up against Inter Milan.
Peter Crouch, left, congratulates his provider Gareth Bale after putting Tottenham 2-0 up against Inter Milan.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tottenham move top of Group A with 3-1 win over defending champions Inter Milan
  • Young winger Gareth Bale is again London team's key player as he sets up two goals
  • Barcelona held 1-1 away to Copenhagen in Group D tie but remain in top spot
  • Manchester United crush Turkish champions Bursaspor 3-0 to head Group C

(CNN) -- Champions League holders Inter Milan crashed to a 3-1 defeat at English club Tottenham on Tuesday night as the Italian side were again tormented by young winger Gareth Bale.

The 21-year-old, who scored a hat-trick in the London team's 4-3 defeat at the San Siro two weeks ago, again embarrassed the much-vaunted Inter defense to set up second-half goals for strikers Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko after Rafael van der Vaart's opener.

The result put tournament debutants Tottenham top of Group A on goal difference, having joined Inter on seven points from four matches.

Dutch champions Twente boosted their hopes of reaching the second round with a 2-0 win at German club Werder Bremen, moving onto five points.

Your chance to ask Benitez your questions ...

Gareth was outstanding. No disrespects to the right-back Maicon, but he has given him a torrid time. It was amazing to see
--Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp
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Tottenham started the game boosted by the presence of key midfielder Van der Vaart, who injured his hamstring in Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Manchester United.

The Dutchman again had to go off at halftime, but made a vital contribution in the 18th minute as he timed his run to perfection to collect Luka Modric's clever pass and beat stand-in Inter goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi with a clinical left-foot shot.

It should have been 2-0 soon after but Crouch opted to try an ambitious volley from Bale's teasing cross when Van der Vaart was unmarked inside him.

Carlo Cudicini started in goal for Tottenham in place of the suspended Heurelho Gomes, sent off early at the San Siro, and the Milan-born keeper kept the score level at halftime with a superb save from Wesley Sneijder's right-foot free-kick.

Inter boss Rafael Benitez gave 19-year-old midfielder Nwankwo Obiora his first-team debut in the 52nd minute, but Tottenham went 2-0 up just after the hour when Bale raced down the left past Brazil fullback Maicon and curled a perfect low cross into the path of Crouch.

Benitez responded by bringing on teen prodigy Coutinho and May's final hero Diego Milito, but it was the Argentina forward's early-season replacement Samuel Eto'o who continued his hot scoring run to reduce the deficit.

The Cameroon striker cut inside fullback Alan Hutton and curled a right-foot effort past Cudicini -- who started his career at Inter's city rivals AC -- to set up a tense finish with 10 minutes to go.

But Tottenham sealed victory in the 89th minute when Bale took the ball inside his own half, pushed it past Lucio and sped past the veteran Brazilian World Cup winner with nonchalant ease to set up Crouch's replacement Pavlyuchenko in a near repeat of the second goal.

Milito skimmed the top of the bar in injury-time, but Inter fell to a first defeat in the tournament since the second leg of last season's semifinal against Barcelona.

"Gareth was outstanding. No disrespects to the right-back Maicon, but he has given him a torrid time. It was amazing to see," Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp told reporters.

"The whole team was brilliant. We outplayed them. We were the better team from start to finish. It was an outstanding performance -- it was a pleasure to be part of it."

Twente took advantage of Werder Bremen captain Torsten Frings' second-half sending-of to score two late goals and pick up a first victory of the campaign.

The midfielder was red-carded for hauling back Bryan Ruiz with 16 minutes to play, and the Dutch side capitalized five minutes later as Belgian forward Nacer Chadli fired in a shot that deflected off Per Mertesacke.

Chadli then set Ruiz free in the 84th minute and the Costa Rica international's cross was headed home by Luuk de Jong to boost Twente ahead of the trip to Inter on November 24.

Barcelona stayed top of Group D despite being held 1-1 away to Copenhagen, with both goals coming in the space of a minute.

Star forward Lionel Messi put the Spanish champions ahead just after half an hour in Denmark with a rare right-footed effort as he pounced on the loose ball to poke the ball in off the post.

But Copenhagen hit back immediately as Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, in for the suspended Jose Pinto, could not deal with Jesper Gronkjaer's cross and Brazilian midfielder Claudemir volleyed in the equalizer.

Pedro hit the post with a scorching late effort for Barcelona, who stayed a point ahead of Copenhagen.

Russian champions Rubin Kazan lost ground on the top two teams after being held to a second successive 0-0 draw by bottom club Panathinaikos, this time despite having home advantage.

Manchester United cruised to a 3-0 win away to Bursaspor despite fielding several fringe players against the Turkish champions.

The 2008 winners are now in pole position to qualify from Group C, needing just a point from the upcoming trip to Rangers to ensure a place in the second round.

Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher opened the scoring three minutes after halftime with a measured right-foot effort, then 21-year-old French forward Gabriel Obertan smashed in his first goal for United as the defense retreated in the 73rd minute.

Four minutes later, veteran midfielder Paul Scholes set up Champions League debutant Bebe for the 20-year-old's second goal for the English club.

Valencia moved above Rangers into second place, three points behind United, with a 3-0 home victory over the Scottish champions.

Spain striker Roberto Soldado scored in either half, forcing home from a corner in the 31st minute and firing a low shot underneath goalkeeper Alan McGregor with 19 minutes left.

Tino Costa sealed victory right at the end with a fine lunging left-foot volley that went in off the post, as Rangers were left to rue two efforts from striker Steven Naismith that came back off the woodwork.

Lyon remain top of Group B despite suffering a 4-3 defeat away to Benfica, with the Portuguese club taking a four-goal lead after 67 minutes.

Fabio Coentrao scored twice while Alan Kardec and Javi Garcia also netted before the French side rallied with goals in the final 15 minutes from Yoann Gourcuff, Bafetimbi Gomis and Dejan Lovren.

The result left previously unbeaten Lyon with nine points, while Benfica picked up their second win to close to within a point of second-placed Schalke.

The German club can still reach the second round despite drawing 0-0 away to bottom side Hapoel Tel Aviv, who now cannot qualify.

However, the result did little to help the position of Schalke coach Felix Magath, who is under increasing pressure after a poor start to the Bundesliga season.