an Old Lady.
Eighty minutes of football where Spurs made one of the giants of the European game look like one of those little teams that flat back ten it against a rampant Spurs.
There was that opening ten minutes of course.
A panicky start by Spurs, where it all looked to be going Spursy, poor passing led to Dembele’s foul – practically the only thing he did wrong all night – after just 30 seconds, a minute later Higuain had opened the scoring after finding himself all alone in the box from the free-kick. He didn’t half take it well.
Minutes later he was stepping up all on his own to double the lead from the penalty spot, after Davies moment of “err, what are you doing?”. Hugo got his fingers to the ball but it wasn’t enough to prevent the second.
From here things could have gone one of two ways. First Spurs could have completely crumbled and the tie could have ended there and then. You know, one of those embarrassing defeats that ends up in the opposition putting double figures past a team over the two legs, like Bayern did last season.
Or you could something Spurs don’t normally do and Juventus normally don’t have done to them.
Thankfully, Spurs took the latter option. Pretty much completely dominating the remaining 80 minutes plus added time. Hope was raised just after the half hour when Dele’s through ball was latched onto by Kane, one touch left Buffon floundering in no man’s land, his second halved the deficit.
By then this goal could have made it 2-2 or could have brought it back to a two goal lead for the home side, 3-1. Harry’s header earlier from Eriksen’s pinpoint cross was pretty much straight at Buffon, though you wondered if the old man was going to have a Tim Krul day. While Higuain muffed his chance for a first half hour hat-trick.
Spurs possession for that first half was way up around the 80% mark and they were creating a bit of panic themselves but not as much as Aurier did with his kamikaze tackle on Costa to give away another penalty just before the break. Higuain again muffed his hat-trick chance, pile driving the shot straight down the middle, Hugo got it spot on and stood still. Did he get a touch? Who cares it smacked off the crossbar and the ref blew the half-time whistle as the ball was still rising.
You need a bit of luck, they got it there at the end of what must have been the fastest 45 minutes on record. That half seemed over in the blink of an eye.
The second half pretty much followed the same path with Spurs camped out in the Juve half and them trying the counter attacks but not succeeding.
There had been some questions earlier about the team Pochettino picked with Lamela coming in for Son. Now you can see the logic of playing a player who had experience of playing Italian football. But that was a while ago, he’s been at Spurs knocking on five years now, and he didn’t win against Juve when at Roma. The thing is as well, was it really working on the pitch. Now Lamela saw a bit of the ball and was constantly keeping those in black and white occupied but he kept coming inside, where everyone else was. The Juve team were basically as wide as the box, it needed some width from Spurs and Davies wasn’t quite doing it. You’d think Son would.
I know it’s nitpicking after such a good result but Son’s inclusion and the introduction of Wanyama earlier than added time could have helped it be a better result.
As it was most Spurs fans would have snapped your hand off if offered a draw before the game, one with two away goals. That second away goal coming courtesy of an Eriksen free-kick. Not for the first time Dele was kicked into the air. From which the Dane perfectly put his low shot past the wall and the aging Buffon. Amazingly for a player who seemed to score from free-kicks on a weekly basis this was his first since 2015, though of course Kane takes a few more these days.
From two down to level. The first time Juve have given up a two goal lead like that since they moved to their new stadium in 2011. It’s only the second time they’ve ever failed to win a Champions League game when ahead by two goals. The opener was the first goal they’d conceded at home since November 5th last year, they hadn’t conceded at all so far this year in winning their last load of games.
So, yes Spurs have the right to celebrate this draw against one of the giants of the European game. An imperious display, with Dembele pulling the strings, hell he even injured a player that was five yards away from him with a little shake of the hips. Just got to finish the job now.