Harry Kane suffered a potential season-ending injury as Tottenham were left to count the cost of a stunning Champions League win over Manchester City.
Son Heung-min struck late on as Spurs claimed a first-leg advantage in the all-Premier League quarter-final with a 1-0 victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
But the gloss was taken off the success by fears their talisman Kane, the England captain, could face another lengthy lay-off with an ankle injury.
Kane rolled the joint as he challenged Fabian Delph for the ball just before the hour. To compound matters, Delph then caught him on the ankle.
Kane, who was out for more than a month after suffering ankle ligament damage in January, was carried straight down the tunnel and later left the stadium on crutches wearing a protective boot.
“It is so painful,” said manager Mauricio Pochettino. “We hope it is not a big issue and try to recover as soon as possible but it doesn’t look good.”
Asked if he was worried Kane’s season could be over, Pochettino said: “Yes.”
Pochettino felt Delph could have been sent off for the challenge but did absolve the City defender of blame for the injury.
He said: “I said to him, ‘You were lucky’. Checking on the VAR, maybe technically it was a red card but I think both were fighting for a ball and had no intention to damage each other.”
Spurs will now take an unexpected advantage into the second leg against quadruple-chasing City at the Etihad Stadium next week.
“I am happy with the performance and the way we approached the game,” said Pochettino.
“We still have a lot of work to do. Manchester City are still the favourites to win the Champions League and it is going to be tough.”
City were below par and spurned an early chance to take the initiative when Sergio Aguero had a penalty saved by Hugo Lloris. The spot-kick had also been awarded controversially by VAR for handball against Danny Rose.
Yet manager Pep Guardiola was still able to review the performance in a positive light.
Guardiola said: “Except for a few chances we conceded on set-pieces and counter-attacks we controlled the game. When we don’t play good I am the guy who says we didn’t play good, but I don’t have that feeling.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Tottenham got a crucial home victory in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester City, with Son Heung-min’s second-half goal giving Spurs a 1-0 lead to take into next week’s second leg in Manchester.
Though they still face an uphill task to reach the semi-final given City’s prowess, Son’s goal must have given Spurs real belief that they can progress past the quarter-final in this competition for the first time in the club’s history.
Here’s a look at the talking points from the game.
SON SHOWS HIS WORTH AGAIN
Harry Kane is Tottenham’s best player, most important player, hero, talisman, golden boy, future captain, future legend (if he’s not one already) – the list could go on. Yet, this season, there is a strong claim from one of his team-mates for one or two of those mantles.
Spurs’ squad is sprinkled with talent. Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are among the best centre-backs in the Premier League, Christian Eriksen will be worth every bit of the reported £120million transfer fee Tottenham will try to squeeze out of Real Madrid if he does indeed leave, and Dele Alli could, like Kane, end up being an England and Spurs great. But where would Tottenham be this season without Son?
The Korean has 18 goals this season, along with six assists; he has the second-highest tally in both categories for Tottenham this campaign. And so many of his interventions have been crucial, with this the latest example.
Tottenham’s first-half promise had slowly fizzled out; City were choking them out of the game, and Kane had just gone off injured. The win that looked possible in the first half had become increasingly unlikely. Then, up popped Son.
GUARDIOLA GETS IT WRONG IN EUROPE AGAIN
Pep Guardiola’s team selection raised eyebrows. Riyad Mahrez ahead of Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne on the bench – it seemed yet again that the Spaniard was over-complicating things in Europe. His explanation for De Bruyne’s absence was that the Belgian isn’t in the best form and could have struggled against Tottenham’s physicality. Barely a year ago, Guardiola was calling the midfielder the best player in the world after Lionel Messi.
Remember last season, when Guardiola played all four of Ilkay Gundogan, Fernandinho, David Silva, and De Bruyne in midfield against Liverpool in order to give his team greater control, only for City to get ripped apart 3-0?
This wasn’t that bad, and Sergio Aguero’s missed penalty that would have given City the lead could have rendered this entire discussion moot. Equally, though, Kane missed a golden opportunity in the first half and Son’s touch let him down a few times; it could have been worse than 1-0. City have now been outscored 7-1 in their last three Champions League knockout ties away from home, all losses.
This tie is far from over, of course. City will back themselves to get a two-goal win at home, even considering Tottenham’s excellent away record in the Premier League – second only to Liverpool, though that does include six losses.
But why does Guardiola insist on having his team do things the hard way?
Pep Guardiola's last win in a CL quarter-final or semi-final away leg was in 2011, when Phil Foden was at junior school.— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) April 9, 2019
WINKS THE CARRICK OF HIS GENERATION
Harry Winks won 100% of his duels on Tuesday night. For a 23-year-old in a Champions League quarter-final for the first time, that’s impressive. For a midfielder playing against Man City, with their trio of Silva, Fernandinho, and Gundogan, that’s an accomplishment to be proud of.
Mauricio Pochettino deserves immense credit for the way he’s turned the Winks-Moussa Sissoko partnership into such an effective one, on both counts – for Winks’ development and for the revival of Sissoko’s career, after he was looking like one of their worst transfers in recent memory. The latter is probably the more remarkable achievement from the manager, but the former probably gives him slightly more pride and joy, given Pochettino’s love of youth.
Winks has a long way to go, and there are sure to be ups and downs along the way. However, without going too overboard with the superlatives, he looks poised to be the Michael Carrick of the new generation – in an era when a player like that is appreciated and needed, unlike, unfortunately, during Carrick’s time.
The young midfielder will need to deliver performances like Tuesday’s on a more consistent basis, starting with next week’s return leg. But, judging by the signs, Spurs have found themselves a special player.
Harry Winks’ game by numbers vs. Man City:— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 9, 2019
100% attacking third passes completed
100% take-ons successful
100% aerial duels won
100% tackles won
87% pass accuracy
5 ball recoveries
Really mature performance. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/ghauP0pgOm
Qyadruple-chasing Manchester City will have to do it the hard way if they are to win four trophies this season following a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham in the first-leg of their quarter-final Champions League tie.
City had the perfect chance to open the scoring when referee Bjorn Kuipers consulted VAR and awarded a penalty following a raised Danny Rose arm. But Sergio Aguero’s weak spot kick was saved by Hugo Lloris.
Thereafter it was an open yet cagey affair with City offering little in the way of clear-cut chances. They have it all to do as they host the second leg at the Etihad next week.
Here are our Man City player ratings:
MANCHESTER CITY (4-2-3-1)
Ederson – 6: Made solid stop from Kane. Confidently came for crosses, significantly injuring himself but recovered. Didn’t cover himself in glory for Son strike.
Kyle Walker – 5: Contributed sparingly in defence. Hardly put a foot wrong but didn’t see enough of him either going back or forwards.
Nicolas Otamendi – 5: Lived on the edge as usual, committed three fouls. Busy at the back with seven clearances.
Aymeric Laporte – 5: Struggled to keep a lid on roaming Alli, booked for fouling him. Led side with nine clearances.
Fabian Delph – 6: Committed outing, adding steel to City’s left side. Allowed Son to saunter past him too easy for goal though.
Fernandinho – 5: Put himself about, with Kane in-particular feeling his force. Three fouls. Wasteful when he had the ball.
Ilkay Gundogan – 6: Distribution predictably excellent and got over a subdued start. Not helped by ineffective Fernandinho.
Riyad Mahrez – 5: Worked hard going backwards but got little joy in attack. Two key passes but not enough penetration.
David Silva – 6: Carried the creative burden in absence of namesake Bernardo and De Bruyne. Interestingly led side with four tackles.
Raheem Sterling – 8: Slaloming run bamboozled Spurs defence and – with the help of VAR – led to a penalty. Always looked their best threat – five key passes.
Sergio Aguero – 4: Terrible penalty, nice height for Lloris. On the periphery for large parts as Spurs were solid. Taken off after below-par outing.
Gabriel Jesus – 6: Replaced silent Aguero but couldn’t pierce rigid Spurs defence.
Kevin De Bruyne N/A: Looked sharp, firing in a cross that Lloris just got to ahead of Jesus.
Leroy Sane N/A: Offered a few tricks but introduction was too little, too late.