Tottenham would’ve feared the worst after falling behind 2-0 at Juventus with just nine minutes gone, but this Spurs side showed steel and maturity to complete a thrilling comeback and head back to London with a 2-2 draw.
Here, we rate how the Spurs players fared against last year’s Champions League runners-up.
Hugo Lloris – Got his hands to both of Juve’s goals. Even though one was a penalty, he’ll feel he should’ve done better. 6
Serge Aurier – Easily the worst player from either side on the night. Lucky that the penalty he gave away didn’t lead to a goal. 3
Davinson Sanchez – A rough initiation for the young defender, who at times looked out of his depth against Higuain but gamely carried on. 5
Jan Vertonghen – A stabilising force amidst the chaos being created by his fellow defenders. 6
Ben Davies – Gave away Juventus’ first penalty with a stupid tackle, and was sloppy on more than occasion, but he recovered well in the second half. 5
Eric Dier – Dictated the game well from midfield, especially in the second half as Spurs assumed the ascendancy. 6
Mousa Dembele – Along with Eriksen, was Spurs’ best player. His pace, power, and ability to control a game are just what everyone looks for in a midfielder. 9
Christian Eriksen – Was shaping to be a game of almosts for Eriksen, but then he produced his moment of brilliance, scoring a low free-kick to draw Spurs level. 9
Dele Alli – Still a little way off from his mercurial best, but he had a fascinating duel with Juve’s hard-nosed defenders. Won the free-kick that Eriksen converted. 6
Erik Lamela – Was picked based on his previous experience playing against Juventus during his Roma days, but failed to justify that selection. 5
Harry Kane – There’s no stopping this man at the moment. He probably should have scored at least once more, being denied from a point-blank header before scoring Spurs’ first goal on the night. 7
Son Heung-Min – Would have been disappointed not to start. Son had little to do after coming on, with Spurs looking to preserve their draw by that point. 5
Lucas Moura – An easy introduction to life as a Spurs player, as Moura made his Tottenham debut with barely any time left. 5
Victor Wanyama – Came on to help Spurs close up shop, although by that time the game was already petering away. 5
Tottenham will be lauded for their comeback against Champions League veterans Juventus and rightly so.
A 2-2 draw in Turin seemed unlikely on Tuesday night after Gonzalo Higuain struck twice inside the first 10 minutes to rattle the visitors.
However, strikes from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen secured a vital draw for the away side but should they have come away with even more?
Here are three things we learned from the round-of-16 clash.
SO CLOSE TO GREATNESS
Tottenham are almost a great side just like Hugo Lloris is almost a world-class goalkeeper. The France international – like his defence – was caught off guard by Juventus’ quick free-kick and Higuain’s early strike. He did ever so well to get down to the low shot quickly but crucially didn’t get a strong enough hand to it to steer it around the post.
The same could be said about Juventus’ second with Higuain again finding the net, this time from the spot. Lloris guessed the right way and got to the rather poorly struck effort but for a second time, didn’t do enough to keep it out.
Still, it’s not as if he’s not a quality keeper, a second half save to deny Federico Bernardeschi proving as much. Similarly, Tottenham’s class came to the fore on more than a few occasions. They recovered from their early setbacks to come back into the contest and head into the second leg in the driving seat.
However, despite recent form, Juventus were there for the taking but an excellent Spurs performance was riddled by individual errors. Rash penalties were conceded and glorious opportunities squandered. Perhaps they momentarily lost themselves in the grandeur of the occasion early on as well, but a little more composure should’ve seen them leave Turin with a famous victory in the bag.
ERIKSEN AMONG THE BEST
As far as exquisite midfielders go, Christian Eriksen is one of the more underrated ones. In the face of quality opposition – and they don’t come much better than Juventus – he was the best player on the pitch. That speaks volumes, especially when the early goals made most of the game an uphill task.
Harry Kane may have scored the visitors’ first to drag them back into contention, but it was Eriksen who was the driving force behind Tottenham’s gain in momentum. The Dane set up the English striker with a delightful cross in the 26th minute only for Kane’s effort to be stopped by Gianluigi Buffon at point-blank range.
Eriksen then set up Dele Alli with an identical cross but the attacking midfielder headed over the bar. Apart from the host of chances he created, against a defence that had conceded just once in the previous 16 games, he also tested Buffon with a swerving effort in the first half before clinching the equaliser in the 71st minute with a clever free-kick to beat the Italian legend. It was an all-round super display from the playmaker who looked like he belonged.
STRANGE JUVENTUS STRATEGY
Despite starting the game with such exuberance, the hosts petered off after securing a two-goal cushion, almost like an away side would. It was a strange tactic from Massimiliano Allegri’s side, much to their detriment.
Spurs must of course be given credit for their part in coming back to dominate proceedings but there’s no question that the Bianconeri noticeably sat back and allowed the away side possession. Once the likes of Mousa Dembele and Eriksen got on the ball, even a defence as sturdy as Juventus’ came under threat.
Tottenham were indisputably the better side, the dominant force over 80 minutes, but the Serie A giants were the ones that surrendered control and once they did, there was no retrieving it. Spurs fly back home with two precious away goals and the tie level.
For a side that has reached two Champions League finals in three seasons, Juventus’ surprisingly poor strategy could well see them eliminated in the round of 16.
Pep Guardiola’s men were out of sight at a freezing St Jakob-Park by 23 minutes courtesy of Germany midfielder Gundogan’s header, Portugal playmaker Silva’s excellent volley and Aguero’s rocket from 30 yards. A consummate second-half display saw Gundogan add to the score with a refined curled shot.
AGUERO IS A MAN APART
There are few superlatives left to describe Aguero’s contribution to the Blues cause.
The Argentina centre forward only had one shot at goal, but he made it count as he lashed home from 30 yards. Such is the quality of his ball striking, his 198th effort for the club still found the side netting despite the distance at play.
But the relationship between Aguero and Guardiola remains a curious one. Brazil No9 Gabriel Jesus is scheduled to return “maybe in one week, 10 days, two weeks” and his mobility makes him a better fit for the Spaniard’s famed system.
And yet, in Jesus’ absence, Aguero has scored a stupendous 14 times in his last 11 run-outs.
As problems go, it is a welcome one.
SECOND STRING MAKE THEIR CASE
The wealth of Guardiola’s options are the envy of Europe.
His riches were on full show in Switzerland as two players who will not make his full-strength XI grasped their chance to shine.
Gundogan is a man renowned for his supreme passing, yet his completion rate was down at 82.1 per cent – for comparison, he recorded 90.2 per cent in Saturday’s 5-1 humiliation of Leicester. What he lacked in precision with his passing he made up for with his finishing.
Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was rested just past the hour mark for David Silva. But it will be Guardiola’s first signing in June 2016, from Borussia Dortmund, who will surely make way on a permanent basis.
This was also a better night for Bernardo Silva. A bouncing ball was expertly slotted home, although the sight of Germany winger Leroy Sane returning as a second-half substitute should signal the end of his six-match run of starts.
NOT IN GOOD NIC
This might not have been a walk in the Park if referee Jonas Eriksson had been alert in the early stages.
Nicolas Otamendi was the luckiest man in Switzerland when his clumsy body check on forward Dimitri Oberlin in the penalty box went without punishment.
This continued an uncertain few days for the Argentina centre-back. He provided the only blemish on the thumping of Leicester, gifting the ball to England striker Jamie Vardy to score.
Has the January introduction of France Under-21 international Aymeric Laporte unsettled him?
The rough edges which defined his first two seasons in blue looked to have been sanded down. He cannot afford for them to reappear.