Tottenham produced a brilliant comeback to draw at Juventus after a disastrous start to their Champions League last-16 first leg in Turin.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side were 2-0 down inside 10 minutes after Gonzalo Higuain followed up a sumptuous volley with a penalty, awarded for Ben Davies’ foul on Federico Bernardeschi.
Harry Kane started the fightback after rounding Gianluigi Buffon following Deli Alli’s threaded pass and Higuain then missed a penalty for the hosts with the last kick of the first half, following Serge Aurier’s poor challenge on Douglas Costa.
Spurs dominated possession against the Italian champions and got their reward when Christian Eriksen’s low free-kick evaded Buffon to give Spurs the edge going into the second leg at Wembley on 7 March.
Spurs remain unbeaten since 16 December, and Pochettino said: “We are more mature. The team is growing and have stepped up in this aspect. I think the team was amazing in the way they reacted.”
Spirited Spurs show European mettle
Pochettino’s side still have work to do to overcome Juve in three weeks’ time.
Juve had not conceded a goal in 2018 before this match yet Pochettino will be wary his players cannot afford to start the second leg like they did in Italy.
In a pulsating game, Tottenham were a goal behind inside two minutes after Miralem Pjanic’s chipped free-kick caught out the visitors’ defence and Higuain beat Hugo Lloris with a quality finish.
Spurs looked anxious and their evening went from bad to worse when Higuain doubled the lead from the spot after Davies brought down Bernardeschi.
But the Premier League side then produced a comeback that will live long in the memory of their travelling supporters.
First Kane had a header saved from inside the six-yard box by Buffon, but the England striker was not to be denied for long, beating the veteran with a composed finish after Alli’s pass.
Alli headed over when he should have scored before Eriksen was denied by Buffon as Spurs peppered the Juve goal.
The turning point arrived on the stroke of half-time when Higuain hit the bar from the penalty spot.
Lloris produced a fine save from Bernardeschi after the interval but Tottenham got the reward their hard-work deserved when Eriksen scored from a set-piece.
In the end, Spurs had 12 shots – half of them on target – and 67% of possession, while half of Juve’s four shots in the opening 45 minutes were from the penalty spot.
Will Spurs end the season with a trophy?
Tottenham are now unbeaten in 13 league and cup games, as the business end of the season looms. As well as the Champions League, they are still in the FA Cup and are chasing a top-four finish in the Premier League.
This gritty display against the two-time champions of Europe will certainly give Spurs momentum going into a crucial spell of games.
“You need some luck always in football,” added Pochettino. “I think in the second half we played much better.
“We deserved the victory more than the draw. It’s so important to recognise and congratulate the players.
“The tie is open. Yes, we have the dream and hope that we can beat them at Wembley.”
Man of the match – Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
Spurs make history at the Allianz Stadium – the stats
- Tottenham are the first team to overturn a two-goal deficit at the Allianz Stadium since Juventus moved there in 2011.
- Juve are unbeaten in their past six Champions League home games against English sides.
- The Italian club failed to win a Champions League home game after being two or more goals ahead for the only the second time.
- Before Harry Kane’s goal, Gianluigi Buffon had not conceded a goal for 694 consecutive minutes for Juventus and Italy (last conceding against Sweden in November).
- Kane has equalled the record for the most goals scored by an English player in a single Champions League season (seven), level with Steven Gerrard in 2008-09.
- The England international has scored nine goals in nine Champions League appearances – the most of any player after nine games.
- Dele Alli has provided 19 assists for Kane for club and country.
- Gonzalo Higuain has scored four goals in his past four Champions League knockout stage games – double the amount in his previous 24 knockout matches.
Tottenham have three games before they host Juventus in the second leg at Wembley. They are at League One Rochdale in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday (16:00 GMT) before their next Premier League game at Crystal Palace on 26 February and a home match with Huddersfield on 3 March.
Source: BBC NEWS