Deadly Stats: Madcap first half makes UCL history as Tottenham reach semis for first time

Aditya Devavrat 07:20 18/04/2019
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Tottenham won a madcap game to advance to the Champions League semi-finals.

Tottenham dashed Manchester City’s quadruple dream on a dramatic Champions League night at the Etihad Stadium.

Raheem Sterling thought he settled a pulsating quarter-final contest with a late strike on Wednesday only for Sergio Aguero to be ruled offside following a review in a dramatic finale.

There was also controversy over what proved the decisive Spurs goal in a tie that ended 4-4 on aggregate, with Fernando Llorente’s bundled effort only given after a lengthy VAR review for suspected handball.

City did win the second leg 4-3 but it was Spurs that prevailed on the away goals rule. They will now face Ajax in the semi-finals.

Take a look at seven deadly stats from the game.

THEY SHOOT, THEY SCORE

Nobody could believe the way this game started. By the fourth minute, City had scored, changing the complexion of the tie as it looked like Spurs would be in for a long night, Sterling’s superb first making it 1-0 with almost the entire game left for the home side to find the winning second goal.

Instead, that goal went to Spurs – as did the third, as Son Heung-min pounced on two City errors to put Tottenham ahead 2-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate. It looked like, after an early setback, Maurico Pochettino’s side had wrested control of the tie back from their opponents. But Bernardo Silva had other ideas, ghosting in to score City’s second and put the tie on a knife’s edge again, and it would seesaw back and forth for the rest of the night.

When Silva scored, it was the fourth shot on target of the game. All four had ended up in the net.

MADCAP OPENING

The defenders may have failed to turn up for their jobs for the start of this game, but nobody quite cared – this was a frenzy that made Champions League history.

When the fourth goal went in on the 11th minute, it was the earliest four goals had been scored in a Champions League game in the competition’s history. But that wasn’t enough for City and Spurs – the latter probably would have been fine had it stayed that way – as a fifth goal came just ten minutes later, with Sterling giving City a 3-2 lead and levelling the aggregate score.

That goal made this the first Champions League game in which five goals had been scored in the first 21 minutes.

WAY BACK WEDNESDAY

It was almost a surprise that that the first half ended at 3-2, after what had transpired in the first 21 minutes. No one would have expected the remainder of the half to go goalless after that.

At the time, the half-time score may have seemed like a good omen for City. The last time a Champions League match in England went into the break at 3-2, it was Chelsea leading Barcelona in the second leg of a round of 16 tie in 2005. Chelsea were still heading out on away goals as things stood, but they got a fourth goal in the second half to overturn the 2-1 deficit they’d brought back from Barcelona.

City, too, would get a fourth goal to overturn a one-goal deficit from the away leg. If only the scoring had stopped there.

LAPORTE’S NIGHTMARE SHOW

Aymeric Laporte was comfortably leading the race to be considered the best of the rest in the list of Premier League defenders behind Virgil van Dijk. Indeed, according to some observers he’s on par with the Liverpool star, and those of a City persuasion may even argue he’s better.

They’ll have a tougher time after Wednesday, when the Frenchman committed two errors in the first ten minutes to throw away the advantage Sterling had given his team. Two poor touches gave Spurs the ball in the City half, and both times it ended up in the back of the City net.

Going into this game, Laporte had made one error leading to a goal in 44 appearances across competitions this season.

THE SON-MAN SHOW

Pep Guardiola once called Tottenham “the Harry Kane team”. The Englishman was missing through injury on Wednesday, and given the collective efforts of Spurs no one would call them a one-man team anyway, but if there’s a player in their side who could take up that mantle, it’s Son.

The man who gave Spurs the win in the first leg briefly turned the second leg on its head with his quick-fire brace in response to Sterling’s opening goal. He was aided by some shambolic defending, but even then the finish for his second matched Sterling’s brilliant first, and at that point, 10 minutes in, Tottenham had a 2-1 lead on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.

He’d singlehandedly scored as many goals in ten minutes as all of City’s opponents had managed combined in the previous ten games at the Etihad Stadium.

DE BRUYNE MAJESTIC

At one point, when Aguero scored City’s fourth goal on the night in the 59th minute, Kevin de Bruyne was averaging an assist every 19 minutes in this game. It was a virtuoso performance from a player who was dropped for the first leg because Guardiola wasn’t sure the Belgian could deal with Spurs’ physicality.

He became the first player to bag a hat-trick assists in a Champions League quarter-final in over a decade, since Ryan Giggs managed four for Manchester United against Roma in 2007. And all this after a season in which he’s been injured and some way short of top form – until last weekend he’d gone 335 days without a Premier League assist.

NOT A GREAT DAY FOR THE DEFENCE

Toby Alderweireld ducking out of the way of Sterling’s shot for his first goal – though in fairness it would have taken his face off – Laporte’s errors, Ederson letting the ball slip under him for Son’s first, Spurs failing to pick up Silva, Hugo Lloris being beaten at his near post by Aguero; it wasn’t a great day for either defence or goalkeeper.

Spurs conceded three goals in a half for the first time since 2015 – and that was in Manchester as well, though on the other side of the city during an away game against United.

But it’s what they did at the other end that mattered. City had conceded three goals at home in the entirety of 2019 going into this game; Spurs matched that tally on their own on Wednesday.

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