They were 2-1 up late in the game with hope fading when Steven Gerrard scored a famous piledriver, delivering on a promise he’d made before the game.
“I don’t want to wake up tomorrow morning in the UEFA Cup.”
Lucas Moura’s goal against Barcelona on Tuesday was nowhere near as good as Gerrard’s from 14 years ago – though, if it leads to Tottenham winning the Champions League, it would prove to be as much a fairytale moment in a miraculous cup-winning run – but the significance was quite the same.
Spurs were meant to move into their new stadium to begin this season, only for that move to be repeatedly delayed.
As fate would have it, the club now expect New White Hart Lane to be ready by February at the latest – though it remains touch and go, with club chairman Daniel Levy having announced another delay on Wednesday which means that a January 13 fixture against Manchester United will not be the stadium’s bow.
OFFICIAL: Tottenham have announced that their Premier League game vs. Man United on January 13th will be played at Wembley, as their new stadium is not yet ready. pic.twitter.com/wk1tUpBfwQ— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) December 12, 2018
The dates that will be circled on the calendars of everyone involved with Spurs are now February 12th and 13th. That’s when Spurs will host a Round of 16 fixture in the Champions League, instead of playing a Europa League Round of 32 fixture on February 14. It would not have been a Valentine’s Day the club would have loved.
Or Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo, and the possibility of revenge against the team which knocked Spurs out last season. Or Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund, Germany’s biggest club or its current best side.
All this speculation may end up being purely academic; New White Hart Lane may not be ready in time, and Spurs may need another stunning result like Tuesday’s to ensure that Champions League football visits their new stadium this season. Wembley may just have to do.
So much about this Spurs season is closely linked with their new stadium. That they hadn’t moved in to start the season, as initially expected, contributed to the sense of gloom of the early part of the campaign, as much as the seemingly middling displays they were putting in.
The latest wave of optimism has come along with the endgame of their move finally drawing close, even after Wednesday’s latest update.
But that optimism has also come thanks to a series of results from a tough run of fixtures that has kept Spurs’ hopes of making waves this season alive. Chelsea, Inter Milan, Arsenal, Barcelona, and at the end of all that, Tottenham are third in the Premier League, and into the knockout stages of the Champions League.
"They said it was mission impossible, but we are here"— Goal (@goal) December 12, 2018
Mauricio Pochettino hailed his Tottenham side after a famous result at Camp Nou 🙌 pic.twitter.com/xykysprRM0
They would have preferred to have beaten North London derby rivals Arsenal, of course, but all in all it’s a state of affairs that has undoubtedly left Spurs happy.
They’re contenders for the league title. Tuesday’s draw against Barcelona has Harry Kane believing they’re contenders in Europe, too. There is a Carabao Cup quarter-final coming up in a week – against Arsenal, no less.
Tottenham didn’t want to be waking up on Wednesday morning in the Europa League. Instead, thanks to that Moura goal, with the possibilities now endless, they’ve woken up in dreamland.
Paris St Germain captain Thiago Silva admits he was scared that qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League was out of reach.
PSG secured their progress to the knockout stages as Group C winners following a 4-1 victory at Red Star Belgrade.
The Ligue 1 side were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to Edinson Cavani’s early finish and a fine goal from the fit-again Neymar, both of which were set up by Kylian Mbappe.
Red Star then reduced the deficit through Marko Gobeljic’s 56th-minute volley, before Marquinhos scored a header in the 74th minute and Mbappe, teed up by Neymar, slotted in PSG’s fourth in stoppage time.
Thiago told L’Equipe: “The goal is achieved. I was a little scared this year that we do not go to the round of 16 because it was difficult. But in the difficulty, there are positive things.
“I’m happy with the last matches. I think mentally, since Naples, I have changed a lot. The draw in Naples was my fault. For the Liverpool game, I pushed the players a lot because I felt they needed them.
“If we had conceded a draw against Liverpool, we were almost eliminated. But we managed to win against a team that can still be a finalist this season.”
The Brazilian hailed the performance against Red Star and hopes to take the positives from the match forward to the rest of the season.
“Today was a little easier but when Belgrade scored, we stayed calm, patient,” he added.
“I feel we played more like a team. I hope we will continue like this until the end of the season.”
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde admits Ousmane Dembele is not off the hook just yet despite his stunning goal in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham.
The 21-year-old was fined this week for turning up two hours late to Sunday’s recovering session following the comprehensive 4-0 victory over Espanyol.
The Frenchman answered his critics with a fine goal after seven minutes but Valverde insists the case is not closed yet.
“He has made a great goal, possible for players with his talent,” said the Barca boss.
“We are happy with him and we said that throughout the season things happen that we try to solve internally.
“We hope that he and the rest will continue to give us much joys.
“I do not know [if the case is closed], tomorrow we have training.”