Lucas Moura's famous goal has Tottenham dreaming of glory in second half of season

Aditya Devavrat 22:56 12/12/2018
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Lucas Moura's goal put Tottenham into the Round of 16.

Back in December 2004, on the final day of the Champions League group stage, Liverpool needed to beat Olympiakos by two clear goals at Anfield to qualify for the Round of 16.

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.

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.

Instead, if all goes to the now-revised plan, it could be Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Paris Saint-Germain in the new stadium’s first big fixture.

Or defending champions Real Madrid, with the reigning Ballon d’Or winner and former Spurs favourite Luka Modric – not to mention Gareth Bale, another former White Hart Lane hero.

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 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.

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