Tottenham hero Lucas Moura celebrated the “greatest night of my career” after his stunning hat-trick sent his side to the Champions League final.
Moura wrote himself into club folklore with his second-half treble that inspired another miracle for an English side in Europe’s premier club competition.
Spurs looked to be heading out at the semi-final stage at the hands of Ajax as they trailed 3-0 on aggregate at half-time of the second leg in Amsterdam.
But the Brazilian stepped into the limelight with three goals, clinching his hat-trick and an away-goals win for his side in the dying seconds of stoppage time.
“Of course it is the greatest night of my career,” he said. “Three goals in the semi-final of the Champions League is unbelievable.
“It is an emotional day. football is amazing, it gives you this special moment.”
Tottenham looked dead and buried at half-time after goals from Matthijs De Ligt and Hakim Ziyech put the home side 2-0 up, 3-0 on aggregate.
But Moura started the comeback when he finished a nice team move in the 55th minute and grabbed a second four minutes later when he converted from close range.
He had to wait until the sixth minute of time added on to complete the job, sparking memorable scenes similar to those seen at Anfield the night before when Liverpool performed a miracle of their own against Barcelona to reach the final.
He added: “We needed to give everything and when I scored the first goal it gave us a new motivation and I always believed in the fight, I am very proud of my team-mates.
“That is our game, the intensity, the aggressiveness – that is our game, we need to do it every game.
“I am so happy, so proud, everyone deserves it – my team-mates, the staff, everyone is amazing.”
With just over three weeks until the final, Spurs striker Harry Kane could be fit from his ankle injury.
The way the England captain sprinted on to the pitch at the end of the game suggests he is not too far away and Moura, who could lose his place if Kane does make it, is excited to have him back.
“I wait for him, he is our striker, he is our difference on the pitch and I am happy to have him back,” he said.
“The most important thing now is to prepare for the final. It doesn’t matter who scores, even Hugo Lloris can score, I don’t care. It’s possible, we will give everything for this.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Harry Kane is optimistic about recovering from an ankle injury in time to play in the Champions League final.
Kane was a spectator in Amsterdam as Tottenham came from 2-0 down on the night, and 3-0 down on aggregate, to beat Ajax in another dramatic semi-final.
The England striker was able to run across the pitch to celebrate with his team-mates, and he now has his sights set on the all-English showdown with Liverpool in Madrid on June 1.
“Hopefully. Rehab is going well so far,” he said. “I start straight-line running this week.
“We’ll see. So far so good, so if it carries on as it should I would hope to be (fit). There’s still a few weeks to go.”
Kane joked that he faces a battle to earn his place, after Lucas Moura’s hat-trick and substitute Fernando Llorente’s inspirational performance against Ajax in his absence.
He said: “We beat Manchester City, we beat Ajax in the semi… I’ve got to start training even harder and prove myself in front of the gaffer.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Europe’s top five leagues are set for an explosive weekend, with one league champion set to be crowned in England and potentially one more in Germany, while Champions League spots remain up for grabs.
Liverpool and Man City are battling it out for top spot in England while Bayern Munich could seal a seventh straight title in Germany, but the headline clash is in Spain, where second meets sixth in a clash that will have massive implications for the top-four race.
Take a look at our European fixtures to watch for the upcoming weekend.
ATLETICO MADRID v SEVILLA
Where: Wanda Metropolitano
When: Sunday, May 12, 8:30pm GST
Though the La Liga title race is over, the fight for the top four in Spain still holds plenty of intrigue.
Getafe are currently the front-runners for the final Champions League spot, an achievement that would be one of the stories of the year. That they are there is down to an incredible season, but also thanks to Sevilla’s failures – they’ve lost two straight games, first away to Girona, then, in a shock last weekend, at home to Leganes by a 3-0 scoreline.
But all hope is not lost, with Getafe playing champions Barcelona this weekend. Sevilla have a tough fixture themselves; Atletico Madrid have nothing to play for but are always difficult to beat at their home stadium.
With Valencia playing at home against Alaves on Sunday, there’s a chance that the weekend ends with Getafe, Sevilla and Valencia level on 58 points with one game left to play. But for that, Sevilla have to come up with the goods in Madrid.
Meanwhile, in Spain, Getafe beat Girona 2-0 to move three points clear of Sevilla -- With two games to play, it looks increasingly likely that Getafe will be playing Champions League football next season 👏👏👏https://t.co/QJaOH8McAv pic.twitter.com/UhFBMWlB4a— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 5, 2019
RB LEIPZIG v BAYERN MUNICH
Where: Red Bull Arena
When: Saturday, May 11, 5:30pm GST
RB Leipzig are more or less locked into third place in the Bundesliga, unless Borussia Dortmund lose both their last games and Leipzig win their final two. The first of those is against Bayern Munich – for whom a win on Saturday will be enough to seal the league title. A normal, low-fuss game, then.
Winning away against the third-best side in the country would be a resounding way to win the league for Bayern, though it may still seem lacklustre after their disappointment in Europe. But they certainly wouldn’t want to leave the door open for Dortmund going into the final matchday.
Even two draws from their last two games would be enough given the gap in goal difference – Dortmund would need an 18-goal swing while winning their final two fixtures – but given Bayern’s final game is against an Eintracht Frankfurt side chasing fourth place, they’d rather go into that match having nothing to play for.
On Matchday 32, Bayern called in a favour from an old friend 🍕 pic.twitter.com/zVTWQ7jGc6— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) May 8, 2019
BRIGHTON v MANCHESTER CITY
Where: Amex Stadium
When: Sunday, May 12, 6pm GST
And speaking of fraught title races, what of the Premier League? Man City know a win will seal a second straight league title, but a draw or loss will open the door for Liverpool – who themselves have a difficult fixture against Wolves at home.
City are on a run of 11 straight wins in the league. Adding a 12th would be some way to finish off the season and win the league, and they would have been relieved by the results of last weekend – not only that they pulled off a nervy 1-0 win against Leicester City, but that Cardiff City lost and Brighton got a draw, ending the battle for relegation.
With Premier League status secured for another season, Brighton have nothing to play for on Sunday. Then again, having survived another grueling campaign, the final home game of the season will make for a festive atmosphere on the south coast, and that could motivate the Seagulls to send their fans home for the summer on a high. Can City overcome that to prevail in what has been a thrilling title race?
MARSEILLE v LYON
When: Sunday, May 12, 11pm GST
Marseille’s hopes of qualifying for Europe are more or less over – they would have to make up seven points in three games against fourth-place St-Etienne – but they will still have a say in that particular race in France.
Old rivals Lyon are caught in a tight battle with St-Etienne for the final Champions League spot, with just a one-point lead over their derby foes, and losing out to Les Verts would make that particular pill doubly bitter to swallow.
Beating Marseille would go a long way to settling the race. They have relatively easy fixtures against Caen and Nimes after this, so Marseille are the final hurdle. Win and a spot in Europe’s premier competition would be that much closer.
FT | Lyon 2-2 Lille - points shared in an often breathless encounter, as OL's lead over St Étienne for the final Champions' League spot is cut down to just 1 point. They go to Marseille next...— Get French Football News (@GFFN) May 5, 2019
ATALANTA v GENOA
Where: Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia
When: Saturday, May 11, 5pm GST
Spain have Getafe’s miracle run to the top four, and Italy’s equivalent is Atalanta. Gianpiero Gasperini’s thrilling young side have made large strides over the last few seasons but actually qualifying for the Champions League would be some story.
It would be the first time in the club’s history, and having been promoted from Serie B in 2010/11, the rise of the Bergamo club – despite Italy’s biggest teams often raiding Atalanta for their best players – would be an excellent advertisement for Italian football, especially as they would be beating out the likes of Milan, Roma, and Lazio.
Nursing a three-point lead over the former two clubs with three to play, the clash against Genoa, who are still in the relegation battle in Italy, would take them one step closer to their goal. Considering they have a Coppa Italia final and a league clash against Juventus still to come, this is a must-win in the top-four race for Gasperini’s side.
Atalanta single-handedly giving us something to enjoy in Italian football now. Every Serie A team - especially Milan, Inter, Roma - should copy Atalanta. They play kind of attracking, attractive, fearless football that will be successful in Europe. Hope they make CL now #LAZATA— Carlo Garganese (@carlogarganese) May 5, 2019