Well, that sure wasn’t Burnley, was it? In the most riveting evening of London football for Spurs in many a year (Bale v Inter Milan?) Harry Kane scored two glorious goals with his left foot and Spurs laid down a marker for the world to see that this year they are a force to be reckoned with in the club game’s biggest competition.
Not that it was easy. Somehow a marvelous counterattack begun by Davison Sanchez and culminating in a great strike from a tough angle by Heung-Min Son combined with an equally energetic Kane solo effort from nearly the same spot to put Spurs out front in a half where they were frankly bossed by Dortmund from beginning to end. It was reminiscent of AVB days and Man City or Liverpool simply waltzing throughout our defencive half in a game that would place us three or four goals behind. Dortmund pressed, gambled, and dominated possession. Their goal was a wonder strike by Yormalenko from outside the box, but it was the least that they deserved. Eriksen and Son seemed simply too weak to keep control of the ball, Dembele and Dier a step slow. Davinson Sanchez showed the first signs of shakiness with a few mistakes, and Serge Aurier was understandably a bit rusty.
In the second half our team showed up against a tiring Dortmund. The midfield was much more insistent. Kane scored what would prove to be the clincher with a brilliant low ball, again from his weaker foot, to la ratonera to the keeper’s left. It should have actually put us only one goal up, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was wrongly deemed offsides a few minutes earier on a cross that he easily blasted into the net. Later Hugo Lloris would compound the striker’s misery with a leg save from close—Dortmund’s best chance to score in the second period. Meanwhile Kane, Son, Eriksen and, at the end, Sissoko, all had golden chances to add a fourth, but the magic had passed and Spurs were left to see this one out the old-fashioned way. But for a Vertonghen elbow to Mario Gotze’s cheek, the night would have ended in sublime fashion. Now we must await an obvious appeal for an offence that might very well have deserved a second yellow but doesn’t seem to deserve a three match ban.
But we didn’t have Dele tonight nor will we in Cyprus or Madrid. It didn’t matter tonight. Spurs, compared to all their competitors, have played the toughest games back to back—first at Everton and then tonight— and passed with flying colours. Somehow Liverpool’s woes continued or it would have been a perfect English beginning in the Champions League—certainly Spurs must now be considered as one of the Premier League’s toughest outs. The Galacticos won’t fear us because they fear no one—but they darn well will respect us.