Spurs hit back in style to earn draw against Juventus
Tottenham recover from 2-0 to make themselves favourites in second leg
13 February, 2018 — By Dan Carrier
UEFA Champions League, Round of 16, First Leg
JUVENTUS 2 (Higuain 2, 9)
SPURS 2 (Kane 35, Eriksen 72)
TOTTENHAM stunned Italian champions Juventus in the Champions League tonight (Tuesday) when Mauricio Pochettino’s side fought back from a 2-0 deficit to earn a draw in Turin.
Juve had raced into the lead, scoring twice in the opening 10 minutes, but goals from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen sealed a brilliant comeback and by the end Spurs could feel unlucky not to have won it.
Speaking after the match, Pochettino said: “What a mature performance. We are growing week by week.”
He admitted Spurs rode their luck when, at 2-1, they conceded their second penalty of the opening 45 minutes but Gonzalo Higuain, on a hat-trick, smashed his shot against the bar.
Pochettino added: “We needed some luck with the penalty miss – but we made out own luck. We were by far the better team. We have a dream and our fans will be roaring us on.”
Kane, who got Tottenham’s first, said afterwards he felt he should have got his side back into it earlier.
“I should’ve scored with a header,” he said, referring to a chance carved out from an Eriksen cross that he couldn’t guide past Gianluigi Buffon. “But it was such a good feeling to come back in such a tough environment.”
And what an environment. Juventus looked like they were going to walk it when Higuain banged his shot home on the volley after just 74 seconds, and made it two eight minutes later when he converted a penalty after Ben Davies fouled Federico Bernardeschi in the box.
But instead of folding, Spurs shook themselves, got up off the canvas and put together the combinations needed to hit back. They took the game by the scruff of the neck and, as Juventus sat back, content with the cushion, Spurs began to create. Both Kane and Dele Alli went close before Alli played a clever ball in behind the Juventus defence and as Buffon advanced, Kane slipped past him and rolled his shot home.
Spurs had steadied the ship, and started growing in confidence as the half progressed. But the effort they’d made was nearly thrown away when Serge Aurier was outpaced by Douglas Costa and conceded a penalty as he struggled to get back.
Higuain bottled the chance to seal a first-half hat-trick – he smashed his effort against the bar, helped by a whiff of Hugo Lloris’s glove, and Spurs went off with theirs tails up.
The response was all Pochettino could ask for. The second half saw Spurs scent blood and when Alli won a free-kick centrally on 72, Eriksen took his time and fired a low free-kick round the wall and into the far corner. It was a well-deserved equaliser.
Juventus were happy to sit back and absorb pressure, letting Tottenham have the ball and then hit their opponents on the break through the pace of Costa, but Spurs were solid.
They scored twice tonight – away at a side that has conceded just one goal in the past 16 games – 1,458 minutes, to be precise.
And with those two away goals, and a performance that shows they have nothing to fear against the Italian champions, the home tie is nicely set up for Wembley in two weeks’ time.
Juventus: Buffon, De Sciglio, Benatia, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Khedira (Bentancur, 66) Pjanic, Bernardeschi, Douglas Costa (Asamoah, 90) Mandzukic (Sturaro,75) Higuain.
Subs not used: Szczesny, Rugani, Marchisio, Muratore.
Tottenham: Lloris, Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen (Wanyama, 90), Alli (Son, 83) Lamela (Moura, 88), Kane.
Subs: Gazzaniga, Trippier, Rose, Sissoko.