Tottenham rally to thwart Juventus
Tottenham mounted a remarkable comeback to deservedly draw at Juventus in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
The home side flew out of the blocks with Gonzalo Higuaín on target twice inside nine minutes. The Argentinian striker volleyed in Miralem Pjanić’s clever free-kick then converted from the spot after Ben Davies had felled Federico Bernardeschi.
But the visitors regrouped and, after Gianluigi Buffon had repelled Harry Kane’s point-blank header, the Spurs striker rounded the keeper to pull one back in the 35th minute. Higuaín hammered his second penalty of the game against the bar on the stroke of half-time following Serge Aurier’s foul on Douglas Costa and Spurs capitalised thanks to Christian Eriksen’s low free-kick 19 minutes from time to leave the tie tantalisingly poised heading to Wembley on 7 March.
Key player: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
When Eriksen plays well, Spurs invariably play well and the Dane was at his influential best here. In the first half, his diagonal passes in behind caused all sorts of problems for the much-vaunted Juve defence, before he won the ball in midfield in the build-up to Kane’s goal. The 25-year-old crowned a fine display with the free-kick equaliser, a memorable way to mark his first UEFA Champions League knockout appearance.
Reporter talking points
Paolo Menicucci, Juventus: Juventus had a terrific start but Tottenham managed to calm their nerves and earned a precious and deserved draw. Kane – who else? – gave them confidence with his seventh strike of this campaign while Eriksen did the rest in the second half. The Bianconeri can still travel to London with confidence considering the chances they created tonight, not to mention the return of some key players from injury.
Daniel Thacker, Tottenham: What a superb comeback from Tottenham, who seem to grow at UEFA Champions League level with each game. Two goals down inside nine minutes, the visitors’ heads could have dropped; instead they met fire with fire and – with Eriksen and Mousa Dembélé inspirational in midfield – hauled themselves back into the tie and achieved yet another statement result. With two away goals, Pochettino’s men will rightly be favourites to progress.
- Juventus conceded for the first time in 2018 and double the number of goals they had shipped in their previous 16 matches
- The Bianconeri have not lost a home game in Europe since 2 October 2013
- Kane is the first player to score nine goals in his first nine UEFA Champions League games
- Kane has equalled the record for most goals scored by an English player in a UEFA Champions League season (7), set by Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard in 2008/09
- Eriksen struck his first UEFA Champions League goal since scoring for Ajax in a 3-1 win against Manchester City on 24 October 2012