OPPONENTS Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium
COMPETITION Champions League Quarter final Second Leg
DATE Wednesday 17th April 2019
PREVIEW It doesn't seem that long ago that Peter Crouch was nodding the ball past Marton Fulop in the City goal at the Ethiad to secure Tottenham's first involvement in the Champions League.  Since then, we have made year on year progress in the competition, as most English clubs have had to do, to come to terms with European football.

Having done that with significant perfomances against Real Madrid, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund, Spurs have shown that they are worth their place at the top table, so it is a little ironic that this season, our opponents are not European, but domestic.  And we turned in another Glory, Glory Night under the floodlights at our new stadium to take a 1-0 lead to the Etihad this time.  It was the performance that I had hoped we could produce and the high energy closing pressured the defensive City side Guardiola picked into forced errors and a lack of cohesion.  City didn't play to their potential, but that was because we wouldn't let them.

From Hugo's penalty save to Son's goal, the whole side were part of a great night that they will have to reproduce to see Tottenham into the semi-final, where Ajax await.  Without Harry Kane this time, Pochettinoa has a crucial selection to make, but with Lucas Moura in good form after his hat-trick on Saturday, I guess he is the number one choice to start as the lone striker.  His pace could cause the City defence problems, as they didn't like being run at last week. 

We know that City have many talented footballers, some of whom Guardiola left on the bench at the Lane, but it is how they perform on the day and how they function as a team.  On their day, they can take teams apart, but on our day, we are equally capable of damaging teams and an early goal for Spurs could set the cat among the pigeons.  They are not used to chasing games and that could leave the vulnerable to breaks with Sissoko, Son and Moura able to move forward at pace. 

It's an important game and one that is more vital considering the tightness at the top of the Premier League, but in my opinion, it is something we might be able to do if we can give a performance that shows we can go to these grounds and get a result.  The result could take us into the semi, but more importantly, it could set the club up for the future.  The old guard of Real and Juve are now beatable and new sides are emerging in the European competitions.  We need to be there to continue our development as a side and also to lure players to Tottenham now that the physical infrastructure is in place.

It might be edge of the seat stuff, but when hasn't that been the case with Spurs.  Hang on and let's hope that VAR is on our side for a change !!

PREDICTION Manchester City    1        Tottenham Hotspur    1
Champions League Quarter final Second Leg Kick off 20:00
Manchester City  4 (3)  
Tottenham Hotspur  3 (2)
Aggregate 4-4 (Spurs win on away goals)

Sterling  03 m 50s
B. Silva  10m 44s
Sterling  20m 32s
Aguero  58m 23s


Son  06m 52s
Son  09m 02s
Llorente  72m 31s

Crowd :   53,348 Weather :  Dry, mild
Referee : Cüneyt Çakır (TUR) Assistant Referees :  Bahattin Duran; Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Fourth Official :  Artur Dias (POR)  
Video Assistant Referee : Massimiliano Irrati (ITA) Assistant Video Assistant Referee :  Marco Guida (ITA)
UEFA Delegate : Martin Sturkenboom (NED) UEFA Referee Observer :  Domenico Messina (ITA)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the North Stand in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 11 minutes.
- (- )  - 



Sissoko  (going off injured too slowly)  42
Son  (foul on de Bruyne)  48
Rose  (foul on )  54
Wanyama  (foul on de Bruyne)  77


Manchester City : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit

  2  Kyle WALKER
  4  Vincent KOMPANY
  Aymeric LAPORTE
22  Bernard MENDY  (19  Leroy SANE  84)

20  Bernardo SILVA 
17  Kevin de BRUYNE
21  David SILVA  (25  FERNANDINHO  63)
  7  Raheem STERLING   

  -  Sergio AGUERO 

Unused subs: 
  Arijanet MURIC
  5  John STONES
  Nicolas OTAMENDI
26  Royad MAHREZ
33  Gabriel JESUS


    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
  3  Danny ROSE       (  6  Davinson SANCHEZ  90+1)

17  Moussa SISSOKO       (18  Fernando LLORENTE  41  )
  Victor WANYAMA     

20  DELE Alli 
23  Christian ERIKSEN
  7  Heung-Min SON        

27  Lucas MOURA  (33  Ben DAVIES  82)

Unused subs: 
21  Juan FOYTH
  Oliver SKIPP

Manager :  Pep Guardiola Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Etihad Airways Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

A Champions League quarter final second leg that defies description saw Spurs win through on away goals in the last minute, but not through a goal of their own, but a VAR decision that chalked off Raheem Sterling's 92nd minute goal that would have seen Manchester City progress to the semi-final in Tottenham's place.

As the teams were announced, Alderweireld, Son and Trippier returned to the Spurs starting line-up with Dele and Lucas both included in the side to face City, who brought back their big guns for this leg, although they were missing Fernandinho and left Sane on the bench.  City had issued flags and put up banners to try and make it obvious this was their home, but the Spurs fans were making themselves heard despite being massively outnumbered.

The way the game was going early doors, it looked to be in City’s favour when Bernardo SIlva blatantly pushed Rose, who was shepherding the ball into touch in the first minute and got nothing more than a few words from the referee from Turkey.  It looked even more that way, when de Bruyne came in from the right and played the ball across left to Sterling, who came inside Trippier and bent a shot past Lloris into the net just inside Hugo’s left hand post with less than four minutes on the clock.

It looked as though it might be a long night, (which it ended up being), but in the seventh minute, Dele played a pass from a central position through to find Eriksen’s run, but Laporte got in the way, only succeeding in laying it into Son’s path on the 18 yard line and his low first-time shot beat Ederson, who perhaps had gone one way too early to  recover his positioning.  Cue joy in the Spurs section and that became even more fevered, when, three minutes later, Lucas made a great run and committed players, after nicking the ball away from Laporte who had over-run it, before passing to Eriksen. He swept the ball left and Sonny took a touch inside Walker to bend one around Ederson into the top corner to turn the game on its head.  City were shocked that Spurs had come and scored twice so early, compared to their timid first leg performance, when they rarely threatened our goal.

That wasn't to be the case in this match, with Sterling and Bernado Silva operating wide and stretching the play, Spurs struggled to keep them in check, so, when Aguero moved the ball forward and played it right to Bernardo Silva, in lots of space and shot at goal. It was going wide and the ball hit Danny Rose and left Lloris stranded as it crept inside his near post to make it 2-2.  City's crowd roared as it brought them back to within a goal of levelling and two from going through.  You know that City are prolific at home, so it was going to be a tough task for Tottenham to keep them out.

The game took a bit of a breather after the hectic first 12 minutes. David Silva struck a free-kick over the bar and Eriksen had sent a 25 yard shot sailing over the bar, but then  from a quick free kick, de Bruyne slid a ball all the way through the six yard box for Sterling to run the ball in at the far post. It was becoming a crazy game and there was still 70 minutes to go.

Tottenham were holding onto possession better and Dele almost freed him beyond the City back line, but a City player just stopped it getting through. City then reverted to their tactics of the first leg by crashing into tackles and getting away with it. Pochettino’s diamond was working in the attacking sense, but defensively, it was leaving us a little exposed at times. Winning possession at the back, Spurs were creating their own problems by giving it straight back to them. It needed some calm heads with a long way to go and the next goal would be crucial in the outcome of the game. Sissoko opened up his groin and despite getting treatment and carrying on, in the end, he has to be substituted in the 40 th minute by Fernando Llorente. Then the idiotic referee booked Moussa for going off the pitch at the half-way line, as players are supposed to do. The substitution would affect Spurs, as Dele dropped back and they would lose the strong running of Sissoko and Llorente wouldn’t be as quick closing people down.

However, Fernando was involved in move straight away that saw Eriksen hit Son on the left and he  took on Walker into the box, before stepping over the ball and hitting a shot across Ederson, but wide of the far post. De Bruyne had a left foot effort from 22 yards after coming inside, but it was low and lacked real power to trouble Lloris unduly. Trippier pulled on Sterling’s arm and conceded a free kick on the City left in added time and when de Bruyne swung it in, with it being chested down by Toby, with the home fans crying for a penalty.

The half-time break came as a slight relief to the non-stop action and after it, Spurs fans were finding their voice, but de Bruyne’s run to the edge of the box was halted when Son pulled him back and gave away a free kick 22 yards out in the middle of goal, but he put it over the bar. The worse thing was that Son received a yellow card and that ruled him out of the next European game for Tottenham. Five minutes into the half, a low ball across picked out Sterling, who hit it straight at Hugo in the six yard box and then the loose ball was shot wide and a goal kick resulted, even though City fans, as always, wanted a penalty.

Pressure was building and Spurs could not get the ball away. When Son lost the ball on halfway on the left, it came to Aguero and he slipped it to de Bruyne, who struck it well, but Hugo dived to push it wide with the upper hand. It like one of the saves he made against Dortmund in the second leg and was a great reflex stop. Rose was booked for a foul in the build up and although the corner was cleared, the ball stayed in our final third.

David Silva flashed a header over at the near post from a free-kick, then Son nearly got away, but couldn’t get away from Kompany, but the second phase saw a cross onto Llorente’s head and he forced Ederson to a save, as did Eriksen with a shot from the resulting corner.  Just when it looked as though we were getting into the game again, it became 4-2 to City when de Bruyne ran at our defence and the ball was played through to Aguero, inside the right channel in the box, who powered a shot past Lloris at his near post to give them the aggregate lead.

To shore things up, Guardiola brought on Fernandinho for David Silva, but it was Tottenham who looked like they needed shoring up, as they frequently gave the ball away in midfield and put pressure on our back four. The Spurs players were looking tired and unaware of what was going on around them ,allowing City to take the ball off them to easily.  Trippier played a ball down the right side of the box to Son, who was denied a shot by Ederson coming out to meet him, but the keeper didn’t do so well from the corner, stretching at the far post and giving away another corner.  The ball came in from our left by Trippier and the ball, flicked on at the near post by Toby, hit Llorente and went in at the near post.  Pandemonium !!  It looked as though it came off his hip, but the VAR came into play and the ref looked at it on the replay before pointing to the centre spot and at 4-4, Spurs were back level on aggregate, with the benefit of away goals.

Spurs almost went ahead on the day, with Eriksen having a shot blocked and as City came away with the ball, Wanyama bundled de Bruyne over and got a yellow card. Silva went for goal and it took a deflection wrong-footing Lloris, but it went wide. Gundogan then smashed one over the top and Aguero headed Walker’s cross at goal, but within Lloris’ reach as he dived to his right.

Ben Davies came on for Moura and Rose pushed forward into midfield, while Mendy went off and Sane came on for City, which was not good news for Spurs, as he was adding pace against a tiring side.  Eriksen tried a 55 yard effort on goal, as he was left with little option, but Ederson was back behind it and then Gundogan volleyed Sane’s header back from the far post on their left, but way too high.  When Tottenham did get the ball to move forward, there were few players getting up with play and it got turned over, with City coming back each time. All you could hear now was Spurs fans, as the home crowd were not even whistling and booing when Spurs had the ball.  Nerves had set in.  Tottenham were also dropping  deep and that would only bring City forward more.  Pochettino threw his last change in, when Davinson replaced Rose for the five added minutes.

Two minutes into added time, Spurs had repelled a City attack and played the ball out to Eriksen.  Christian  lost the ball 25 yards out, with three players around him and Aguero passed it inside to Sterling on the right of the Spurs goal, ten yards out.  The England winger stepped inside and shot past Lloris.  The blue areas of the ground went barmy !  They were cheering, chanting and Guardiola did a Mourinho and sprinted down the line to join the celebrations.  But wait. It ain't over to the Video Assistant Referee reviews.  VAR came to Tottenham’s rescue and the referee disallowed the goal for offside, with the video screens breaking the news to the City fans and breaking their hearts at the same time !  Guardiola was down on his knees and Pochettino, who had thrown his coat off in disgust, was suddenly the one enjoying the moment.

Spurs camped on their 18-yard line to try and prevent City breaking through and then Fernandinho played the ball in, but Vertonghen blocked it with the expected City claims for a penalty. Spurs played it away and Dele got away on the left and held the ball up well.  Ben Davies supported him and received the ball before he played Son in on the right, but it was put out for a corner by Sane.  Then the final whistle saw the Tottenham section go mental, with the players ecstatic, but the majority of the ground was stunned into silence.  So many times, we have suffered and this time it was someone else's turn.

Little Tottenham, who have nowhere near the funding City have and don't possess the greatest manager in the world, had come to City and done what they needed to for a semi-final place.  Surely, the team and our manager will be feted for what they are ... as Pochettino said ... "Heroes".  Was the game lost in the last minute here ?  Were City robbed by VAR not once but twice ?  Well, Guardiola needs to look at himself for not believing in his own philosophy, whereas Poch stuck with the way we play and got his reward.  We battered them at home and were slightly second best in the Etihad, but were worth a narrow defeat at the very least.  By taking a cautious approach in the first leg, Pep had no away goal to play with and as soon as Spurs started scoring, they were always chasing that extra goal.

The team all put in a shift, with nobody shying away from their responsibilities.  Wanyama didn't have a great game, but kept going until the end and the effort put in was massive. The rewards will hopefully match that input.

But in the short term, they have to return on Saturday and do it all over again to try and maintain our top four placing.  City only have the League to play for now, as surely they will roll over Watford in the Cup Final, so they know that a win over Spurs, in their hardest remaining game, will set them up for the run-in. 

For the moment though, let's bask in this moment that most of us haven't known in our life-time and while we will be slagged off for "only" getting to the semi-final, it is still progress and console yourself by imagining what the Gooners, Irons, Chelsea and Leicester fans were feeling like when Sterling scored at the end of the game ... and how they must have felt a minute later !!

Stan Chun

Match facts

This was Manchester City's first win over an English side in Europe.

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What you thought
Ted Maul Well, it wasn't quite as classical as Crouchy's goal, but Llorente's bundled effort at the same end brought as much joy and was just as important in terms of this competition for Tottenham.
Barry Levington So, Pep Guardiola.  What was that you were saying about "The Harry Kane team ?"
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Other scores in the quarter final first legs :
Juventus (ITA) 1 Ajax (HOL)  (Won 3-2 on agg.) 2 Tuesday
Barcelona (SPA)  (Won 4-0 on agg.) 3 Manchester United 0 Tuesday
FC Porto (POR) 1 Liverpool    (Won 6-1 on agg.) 4 Wednesday


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