Spurs suffer Champions League heartbreak against Juventus
Mauricio Pochettino's men are left stunned by dramatic comeback as Italian champions hit two goals in three minutes
07 March, 2018 — By Dan Carrier at Wembley
SPURS 1 (Son, 39), JUVENTUS 2 (Higuain 63, Dybala 65)
Juventus win 4-3 on aggregate
SPURS crashed out of the Champions League as two second half Juventus goals turned a tie Mauricio Pochettino’s team had dominated on its head.
Spurs had earned themselves a battling two-all draw a fortnight ago in Turin – setting the tie up nicely for a classic showdown at Wembley.
But after taking a first-half lead through Heung-Min Son, a three-minute spell saw the Italian champions get back into the game and then take the lead. Despite a frantic onslaught that saw Harry Kane hit a post in the dying seconds, Spurs could not find the vital equaliser.
Speaking after the game, a shellshocked Pochettino said he was proud of the way his players had gone toe-to-toe with a side that has appeared in the Champions League final twice in the past three years.
He said: “It was not a lack of experience or concentration. They created three chances and scored twice, We created a lot more chances but could only take one.
“I feel very proud. Juve are a very good team and we dominated them. Over the two games we were better, but at this level, we lost due to three-minute spell.”
And he dismissed the idea that his side were not streetwise enough to turn their territorial advantage or the number of good opportunities they made into goals to seal the tie.
He added: “I am happy with my players, and I think they did all they can to try and win. If you lose a tie against a side that’s better than you, you can say you need more quality – but we showed our quality and showed we were as good as a team that has played in two finals in three seasons in this competition.”
Juve were given some early warnings when Son broke free on 10 and nearly found the lurking Kane centrally. Moments later Tottenham’s talismanic number 10 rounded Juve keeper Gianluigi Buffon but could not get the angle quite right and instead hit the side-netting.
Juve came back at Spurs on 16. The bubbly Douglas Costa went past Jan Vertonghen, who brought him down in the box but the referee did not give the penalty that Juventus felt they deserved.
It was a scare but one that was to be isolated in a dominant first half from Spurs. They saw a penalty call of their own not given as Medhi Benatia got a handful of Vertonghen’s shirt as he rose to head home a corner.
Buffon was then tested with a drive from the edge of the box by Dele Alli on the half-hour mark and Spurs kept Juventus at arm’s length while threatening whenever they got forward. The home side took the lead on 39 when Son, who had missed a gilt-edged chance moments earlier, was found in space on the left by Keiran Trippier and he got enough on his scuffed shot to get it home.
Spurs looked the more dangerous as the second half opened but an equaliser on 63 from Gonzalo Higuain got Juventus back in it when he converted from the left. Then, as Spurs looked a little rattled, Paulo Dybala broke clear and made it 2-1.
Spurs threw everything at Juventus, who were content to defend the lead, and saw a Kane header come off the post and be cleared off the line as they fought so hard to get back into a tie they had dominated for all but five crucial minutes. But it was not to be and Tottenham’s Champions League adventures are over for another year.
Spurs: Lloris, Trippier, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Son, Kane, Dier (Lamela, 73) Dembele, Alli (Llorente, 85) Eriksen, Davies.
Juventus: Buffon, Chiellini, Benatia (Lichtsteiner, 61) Pjanic, Khedira, Higuain (Sturaro, 83) Dybala, Costa, Sandro, Matuidi (Asamoah, 60), Barzagli.