Spurs qualify for Europa, relegate Birmingham

BY foxsports • May 22, 2011

Tottenham qualified for the Europa League while relegating Birmingham with a 2-1 victory on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday.

Roman Pavlyuchenko's second-half double consigned Birmingham to life in the League Championship, although the central England team will also be in Europe's second-tier knockout competition next season.

Birmingham qualified for the Europa League in February by ending its 48-year title drought with a victory over Arsenal in the League Cup final.

But since that Wembley success, Birmingham won just two of the last 12 Premier League matches and now go down with Blackpool and West Ham.

Spurs registered just three wins over the same period, preventing Harry Redknapp's side qualifying for the Champions League for the second successive season.

They will have to settle for the Europa League, which Liverpool missed out on by ending a turbulent season with a 1-0 loss at Aston Villa.

Birmingham had the first chance of the game at White Hart Lane through Keith Fahey, who fired into Carlo Cudicini's arms, but otherwise the visitors were on the back foot throughout the half.

Barry Ferguson appeared to use his arm inside his own box but referee Mark Clattenburg waved play on before Ben Foster saved well to keep Sandro out with two efforts in quick succession.

Peter Crouch then fired just wide before he just failed to get on the end of Danny Rose's whipped cross.

The visiting Birmingham fans cheered loudly twice as news filtered through that fellow relegation candidates Blackpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers had gone behind in their respective matches.

But Tottenham continued to push for the opener, which came in the 49th minute. Pavlyuchenko picked the ball off Rose, took a touch and curled a shot that beat goalkeeper Ben Foster at his far post.

Spurs looked for a second and they almost got it when Jermain Defoe raced past three Birmingham defenders before Davies blocked his shot with a brave header.

Birmingham equalized in the 79th when Jean Beausejour's corner found its way to Craig Gardner and he shot through a crowded penalty area past Carlo Cudicini.

The midfielder raced over to celebrate in front of the delirious away support but Wolves' second goal against Blackburn in an eventual 3-2 loss meant that Birmingham dropped into the bottom three on goals scored.

The news filtered through to manager Alex McLeish, who urged his Birmingham players on to score a winner they needed to stay up.

Three minutes of injury time were added and Foster came forward for a corner, but the cross sailed through the box and Spurs survived.

Pavlyuchenko raced up the other end and with 15 seconds of play and his strike flew in off the bar, sealing Birmingham's demise.