|OPPONENTS||Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium|
|COMPETITION||Champions League Quarter final Second Leg|
|DATE||Wednesday 17th April 2019|
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
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|
Tottenham Hotspur 3 (2)
Aggregate 4-4 (Spurs win on away goals)
Sterling 03 m
Son 06m 52s
|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|
- Sergio AGUERO
Hugo LLORIS (c)
Fernando LLORENTE 41
27 Lucas MOURA (33 Ben DAVIES 82)
|Manager : Pep Guardiola||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : Etihad Airways||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : Nike|
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
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
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 !!
This was Manchester City's
first win over an English side in Europe.
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|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
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.
So, Pep Guardiola. What was that you were saying about "The
Harry Kane team ?"
|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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