|OPPONENTS||Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park|
|COMPETITION||Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg|
|DATE||Tuesday 5th March 2019|
Having a three goal lead from the first leg can be a two edged
sword. Do Spurs go for the one away goal, which would mean
that Dortmund have to get five or do they defend the led and try and
hold out ? We are not very good at the latter, so I guess that
Pochettino will want the side to keep it tight for the first twenty
minutes and then look to hit Dortmund on the break.
Although Borussia have slipped a little in the Bundesliga in recent weeks, they are still up there with Bayern Munich, so have a talented group of players, who the coach encourages to play in an attacking style. They were missing their leading striker Marco Reus in the first leg, but he is due to return, although Lukasz Piszczek is likely to be out and Christian Pulisic's pulled muscle in the first leg might rule him out in the second. Defensive injuries mean that Dan-Axel Zagadou plays again and Spurs must regard him as the weak link in the back four, although he nearly scored for Dortmund at the right end at Wembley being a physical presence in the penalty area of the opposition. Unfortunately for Borussia, he can be just as dangerous in his own box.
Guerrero is a dangerous player and has a good scoring record in this competition, while Omar Toprak will probably drop out of the defence, which will have to be sharper than in the first leg, as conceding a goal will make it a big mountain to climb for them. In attack, Gotze is a very technical player, as Dortmund expect from their players and remains a threat if given time to play.
Having finally drawn in the Premier League on Saturday, Spurs worked hard to get something from the game, when it looked like the early goal might condemn them to a third successive defeat. With Sissoko putting in an excellent performance, the return of Harry Winks and Eric Dier could provide a solid pairing in front of the defenders. Whether they play as a three is down to Poch, but with Trippier not travelling out for the tie, Aurier is likely to take his place and a more secure four might start the match.
Isolating Reus and Gotze by
cutting off the supply from Sancho and Dahoud could be the key to
frustrating Dortmund. This is a big chance for Spurs and an
opportunity to show that the mentality is fine in big matches.
|PREDICTION||Borussia Dortmund 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1|
|Champions League Round of 16 Second Lag||Kick off 21:00 local time; 20.00 UK time|
Tottenham Hotspur 1 (0)
Kane 47m 59s
|Crowd : 66,099||Weather : Mild|
|Referee : Danny Makkelie (HOL)||Assistant Referees : Hessel Steegstra; Mario Diks (HOL)|
|Fourth Official : Kevin Blom (HOL)|
|VAR : Pol van Boekel (HOL)||VAR Assistant : Jochem Kamphuis (HOL)|
|UEFA Delegate : Luca Zorzo (SUI)||UEFA Referee Observer : Marc Batta (FRA)|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Yellow Wall end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 5 minutes.|
|Borussia Dortmund :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Marius WOLF (34
Jacob Bruun LARSEN 62)
Marco REUS (c) (
Thomas DELANEY 74)
Hugo LLORIS (c)
|Manager : Lucien Fauvre||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : Evonik||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : Puma||Kit Supplier : Nike|
With a defensive performance that was as good as I have seen from a Spurs side, it was left to Harry Kane to score the only goal of the game to take Tottenham into the Champions League quarter-finals with a victory over Borussia Dortmund. It might be the Yellow Wall that Dortmund have to house their 25,000 standing supporters singing "You'll Never Walk Alone", but it was the White Wall that stopped a barrage of attacks on the Spurs goal in the first half, before opening out in the second to score the all important goal that left the home side needing five to go through.
An early corner saw Sissoko head the ball well clear and both sides were surrendering possession as the referee was allowing some physical contact, maybe following the ways of Dean and Taylor. Play was so congested that it wasnít possible to pass the ball out or to play it away with the ball bouncing off the home team playerís legs. When the ball came off Sanchez, it looked as though Reus was in on goal, but SuperJan produced a superb sliding tackle to not only tackle him, but hook the ball away from six yards out in the penalty area.
Alacaer shrugged off Davinson Sanchez to go on and poke the ball over Llorisí bar, but he was offside and at least the ref was being consistent when Davinson barged a yellow shirt off the ball. Twenty minutes in, Reus hot a shot that Lloris had covered, but Sanchezís attempted block saw the ball pop up off his heel and Lloris had to be lively to reach up and parry the effort, which he grabbed at the second opportunity. Spurs were having to stand firm, as Diallo went down their left, came inside into the box before pulling the ball back to Gotze to shoot from 25 yards, but Christian Eriksen blocked it.
It was on the half hour that Spurs created their first opening, when Kane poked a ball through for Son to run in on goal and he put the ball wide as Burki came out, although it looked as if there were questions over offside and a push on him by Wolf as he was about to shoot. The referee didnít bother consulting VAR or they didnít indicate that either matter was a clear and obvious error. Three minutes later a corner was flicked across goal and when it came back in, Reusís ball was flick headed at goal by Weigl and Hugo made a low stop and the same Borussia player looked to convert the rebound from a tight angle, but Ben Davies dived in to block it for another corner. This one was played back to Rues, who drilled a volley from 20 yards and Sanchez got a block on it to take it over the top. From the next corner the ball dropped for Gotze to curl and effort from the left of the goal and Lloris dived high to his left to tip the ball wide.
Lloris was down to stop a Sancho drive from their right before Vertonghen slid to block a low cross in from Wolf for a corner. It was all Dortmund and Spurs were defending with great solidity, managing to break away to win a corner, but that ended up as a goal-kick to the home team when Toby went in at the near post. When Tottenham did manage to get the ball in the Dortmund half, they had numbers back to dispossess Kane or Son. When we did get a short spell of possession, they handed the ball back by poor passing when not under pressure.
Borussia's Alcacaer forced
Lloris to a diving save to his left, but the Spurs captain got
everything behind the ball. Within a couple of minutes of half time,
Spurs were holding the ball better and won a corner that was
cleared, won back, lost and then Sissoko showed strength to win it
back again heading back towards his own goal. Reaching the interval
with the score-line goal-less was half of the battle, so into the
second half, would the home team press harder or would Tottenham hit
them on the break. At the start of the half, Reus was played in on
the Spurs right and put a pacy low ball across the face of goal, but
it was missing a yellow shirt on the end of it and then Reus popped
up on the other side before hitting a cross off the pitch on the
other side of the goal.
When Dortmund lost the ball from the kick off, Kane tried an outrageous effort on goal from 40 yards out, seeing Burki off his line, but the ball just sailed a foot or so over the bar. Winks had to go off with what looked like a recurrence of his hip problem or a pulled groin, so Pochettino brought on Eric Dier in his place. Whether the game opened up or the goal had rattled Dortmund, but the space that was not available to Spurs in the first half started to appear and they were able to move to receive the ball and maintain possession a little better. Fauvre was forced into making a double change on the hour, with Wolf going off and luckily for Spurs he had proved to be a like for like change for Zagadou from the first leg.
When Davies lost the ball 20 yards out, it looked as though it might be a dangerous situation, but winning the ball back and then breaking away, there was a corner won at the other end by Son after a surging run by Moussa. The so-called Wall of Sound was silenced and all that was heard was the drummer and a few whistles when Lamela replaced Son. On 74 minutes, Marco Reus went off with Thomas Delaney coming on in what might have been a flag of surrender thrown in by the Borussia manager. A quarter of an hour before the end, substitute Pulisic had a free header from 10 yards out, but he glanced it over and Lloris watched it comfortably miss the target.
With Kane leading the line
well, he played a ball inside to Eriksen on halfway and his pass out
to Aurier saw Serge play a good pass beyond a yellow shirted
defender for Sissoko to run onto. Unfortunately, he tried to dribble
around another and went down, but it never looked like a foul.
Tottenham were picking off Dortmund at will and when they released
Aurier on the right, his cross was too high for Lamela. Sub Bruun
Larsen had a volley with five minutes remaining, but it was half
blocked and Lloris took it easily in front of his face. From the
keeper, the ball was worked forward and Lamelaís ball beyond the
defence was just too late to allow Kane to stay onside.
You could pick out at least
one moment for each Tottenham player that made this victory happen
and the whole team deserve credit, as well as the coaching staff for
putting the performance together by practice on the training pitch.
The belief that they could come out of this bowl of noise with a
result to go through to the quarter-final was so strong that there
was little Dortmund could do. Maybe their finishing wasnít of
Kaneís quality, but they pushed and pushed, so it was only a
determination among the Spurs team that prevented them breaking
Pochettinoís change halfway
through the first half that moved the side from a 5-3-2 to a 5-4-1
pushed Son wide and made more problems for the home side. The way
the defence played made it difficult for the home team to get shots
past the blocking defenders and when they did, Lloris was in fine
form, making some super saves. However, the real credit should go to
Jan Vertonghen for the amazing tackle on Reus that inspired his
team-mates to perform to the level they produced.
The Heathrow Spur
Lloris keeps his 100th clean sheet for Spurs.
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