With the group stages over, the Champions League reaches the business end with the last-16 round knockout stages. The draw saw some intriguing ties thrown up and Juventus‘ clash with Tottenham is certainly one of those.
It will be the first meeting of the two sides in a UEFA club competition and the first time the two nations have gone head-to-head since Juve’s clash against Manchester City in 2015/16.
Ahead of Tuesday’s first-leg tie, we look at four classic displays from English sides in Italy.
JUVENTUS 2-3 MANCHESTER UNITED, April 21, 1999
One of the most remarkable comebacks in European football for Manchester United. The Red Devils had a stern task ahead of them against a formidable Juve side who were bidding to reach the showpiece final for the fourth consecutive year.
When Filippo Inzaghi netted twice in the first 11 minutes, it was a long way back for United. But captain Roy Keane’s header gave them hope before Dwight Yorke saw them ahead on away goals. There was relentless pressure from the hosts but Andy Cole sealed the win on a memorable night for United.
INTERNAZIONALE 1-5 ARSENAL, November 25, 2003
The Gunners travelled to Milan knowing victory was a must if they wanted to progress to the knockout stages. A 3-0 home defeat to Internazionale in the first fixture in London hadn’t exactly inspired confidence going into the game, but fans at the San Siro were shocked as Arsenal dismantled the hosts.
Thierry Henry tormented Inter’s defence with his pace and was rewarded with the opening goal. Christian Vieri equalised but that was as good as it got for the hosts as Arsenal then took charge.
Freddie Ljungberg, another Henry strike, Edu and Robert Pires all got themselves on the scoresheet and completed a remarkable result for Arsene Wenger for them to advance to the knockouts.
AC MILAN 2-3 MANCHESTER UNITED, February 16, 2010
All eyes were on David Beckham as he faced his old club in the last-16 round, first-leg tie, but it was the Red Devils who spoilt the party with a deserved victory at San Siro.
Ronaldinho gave the hosts an early lead after a bright opening from Milan. When Paul Scholes levelled the scores, United gradually improved and took the lead thanks to a brace from Wayne Rooney – his 24th and 25th goals of the season.
Clarence Seedorf reduced the deficit late on and despite Michael Carrick’s stoppage time red card, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side secured a vital first-leg lead, extending their unbeaten away run in Europe to a record 16 matches. They would cruise into the quarter-finals courtesy of a 4-0 hammering in the second leg at Old Trafford.
INTERNAZIONALE 4-3 TOTTENHAM, October 20, 2010
The Italian side showed why there were defending champions by outclassing Spurs at the San Siro, but what a game this was and the launchpad for Gareth Bale’s career.
By the time the half-time whistle was blown the match was all but over with Javier Zanetti, Samuel Eto’o (twice) and Dejan Stankovic scoring to hold a 4-0 lead and leave a Spurs side lacking experience on the big European stage staring down the barrel of an embarrassing defeat.
It appeared things were only going to get worse in the second half for the visitors with goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes sent off, but Spurs gave it a real go. Welsh wonderkid Bale showed glimpses of his potential and his searing pace by surging down the left to score two identical goals before completing his hat-trick deep into stoppage time.
The runaway Premier League leaders will go into the first leg of the last-16 tie in Switzerland full of confidence, with captain Vincent Kompany believing the club are now ready to win the competition.
Winger Sane was initially ruled out for up to seven weeks when he suffered ankle ligament damage in quadruple-chasing City’s FA Cup victory at Cardiff on January 28.
But the German has made a rapid recovery and proved his fitness to travel with the squad on Monday morning.
Manager Pep Guardiola said: “I’m surprised. He has worked a lot, but I didn’t expect with a young guy how professional he was.
“He is not in perfect condition but he is with us. He wants to help us. That is good news. He and the physios did a good job.”
Guardiola, who was speaking at his pre-match press conference at St Jakob-Park, was asked how many training sessions Sane had participated in.
When he replied “one”, there was a nice moment as Kompany, sitting next to him, joked: “It’s a bit longer than I usually take!”
Kompany, however, spoke with great authority when asked about City’s growing maturity as a team.
The Belgian, despite his numerous injury setbacks, has been at the heart of City’s development over the past decade and feels they are now at home in the Champions League after many past frustrations.
The 31-year-old defender said: “We’ve been caught out on occasions when we shouldn’t have but I think things have changed now.
“If there is a year, a time, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home in the competition then it’s now.
“I’m not going to say it’s a matter of time because some clubs never win it but, if every year we can go in with this kind of confidence, then if not this year, or next year, eventually we’ll get there. I’m sure of it.”
City’s confidence is well-founded given their outstanding form on the domestic front. They are 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League, playing in the Carabao Cup final later this month and still involved in the FA Cup.
Despite that, Kompany claims nobody in the dressing room is talking about a potential clean sweep of trophies.
He said: “The key thing I’ve noticed in this team – but I can’t say if it is going to give us all the trophies, or how far this will get us – is the ability to switch back on for every single game.
“The motivation, respect for opponents, preparing correctly to make sure we are 100 per cent, is one thing I’ve not experienced in any team I’ve been in before.
“Talk of quadruple – none, but winning next game, next game, next game and that belief – always.”
The runaway Ligue 1 leaders face Real Madrid on Wednesday in the first leg of their stand-out last-16 tie but Cavani has attempted to play down expectations.
He told Spanish newspaper Marca: “I believe it is unnecessary that a club like PSG has the obligation to win the Champions League at all costs, regardless of their signings.
“I think there is a story, a myth, created around the Champions League. Of course, it is the greatest of all competitions but for me, the league is very important – it is the result of a whole year’s work.
“This game at the Bernabeu is another step in the growth of the club in recent years. We want to be better each year and continue to grow with the club.”
Big-spending PSG memorably lost to Barcelona at the same stage last season, winning the first leg 4-0 before Neymar – now with the French club following world record £198million move – inspired Barca to a 6-1 win in the second.
Cavani said: “We lost an incredible match but that played a part in the journey of the club. We lost and learned.
“In 98 per cent of the matches you lose, it is because the opposition were better or you were not at your best.
“The match against Barcelona is one where you ask ‘what happened?’, but it is no use going back over it.”