their way to the Champions League semi final.
Spurs did it the only way Spurs would do it, it wasn’t gonna be easy, it wasn’t going to be without some anxiety, without some stress and down to the last second, as they got past Man City.
Well, that was a game that had nearly everything – there wasn’t a sending off or a penalty, so just nearly – from the very off.
Yeah, no one saw that coming. The cagey, chess game that was going to play out lasted four minutes, the board was upended and the pieces sent flying by the 11th minute, as the fourth goal in seven minutes went in.
All that diligent defending that Spurs produced in the previous three Champions League games, players on the ball with no howling errors, well that went out of the window early. It’s Raheem Sterling, he isn’t as good as everyone who is basically virtue signally is making out. Someone said to me last night that never mind Sterling’s 20 goals or whatever, Jimmy Greaves would have over 50 goals in this City side and he’s 79 and had a stroke.
Don’t show him on his right. He’s one footed, it’s his right and still defenders show him on it. Much like those that show Salah or Mahrez on their left. Why? They all know what will happen. Sterling on the left wants to come in on his right, push him down the line and he’s lost. But Trippier was in full anyone but Trippier mode. So Sterling comes inside and curls it into the net. Nice duck Toby.
All level… for three minutes. Moura goes through the middle plays it forward to Dele, who tries to find Eriksen but the ball bounces of the City player to Son who fires it first time through the keeper for the lead, overall and an away goal. Three minutes later and it was the lead on the night as well. Moura won the ball in the middle of the park, onto Eriksen who crossed it to Son, who took one touch and then curled a cracker inside the far post.
Yeah, I’ll keep on banging on about Son scoring important goals. The one in the first leg and now these two. I won’t apologise for banging on about it.
That lead though did not last long. Less than a minute later and Silva (B) is left all on his lonesome in the area to receive the pass from Aguero, take the shot which deflects off Rose’s leg to wrong foot Hugo.
Still got the aggregate lead and the away goals. The lead lasted ten minutes. Then de Bryune fizzed a cross across the face of the Spurs goal for Sterling to tap it in at the far post. Trippier leaving him all alone again.
Still had the lead… on away goals.
Just before the break and Son could have had his hat-trick. He’s comfortable on both feet so didn’t have to cut in, going wider, his shot just went past the post with the curve the shot had put on it.
It looked to be all over just before half-time, when after an innocuous challenge, Sissoko went down. He got up and went down another couple of times. He was done. And here we are, imagine a few months back thinking that losing Sissoko would be the end of days. Poch brought on Llorente which left a number scratching their heads.
Unfortunately just after the break Son indulged in a little professional fouling and picked himself up a yellow card, that’ll rule him out of the next game. People kept saying the cards are wiped after the game, yes they are but this was during the game, they’re only wiped if you haven’t picked up another in this game.
We then got the best and worst of Hugo. He made one excellent save from de Bruyne then he was beaten at his near post by, an admittedly hard hit, Aguero shot, after de Bryune ran through the middle of that Sissoko-less Spurs central midfield.
They were now ahead… on all counts. There was still half an hour to go and they were looking dominant. It didn’t look good.
Then just under 15 minutes later and a corner swings in and bounces off Llorente and goes in. Goes in their goal, not the Spurs goal. But wait the celebrations have to stop as the ref has his finger in his ear and is being told something. Oh, great, we’ve been here before. A handball, they’re saying. Now just before the game I’d watch some Italian league highlights, which again showed the ineptness of VAR.
But no. No. There was nothing they could see that could overturn the on field decision of a goal. All of a sudden VAR is the greatest thing ever. Even more so a couple of minutes int the five minutes added time.
Spurs had the chance to clear the ball but played themselves into trouble and coughed it up, yet again. It was onto Aguero he passed it to Sterling, who jinked left and hit it through Hugo.
Sterling, gurning his way through his celebration is cut short as it’s under review. When the ball is played back, by Eriksen – why? – it is deflected by a City leg before finding Aguero, who was offside when it hit that leg. Pep and Sterling aren’t celebrating now, as it’s chalked off. No quadruple as Pep yet again fails to buy the Champions League.
All hail VAR.
The clock ticks down and Poch can now celebrate and celebrate he did. With his staff, then the team and the fans. He looked quite emotional as he went over to the latter. Then in the dressing room…
Who can blame him. That was one hell of a ride. To end up losing the game, drawing on aggregate and win on the away goals. The semi final of the Champions League… not for the first time in the European Cup.
And now to Amsterdam for Ajax. Tough, when you look at who they’ve beaten in the last two ties and when you consider who Spurs will be missing… but that’s for later…