This was a terrific game. A great night of European football. And a testament to Tottenham belief, courage and fitness. The team gave a performance that was nothing short of heroic. The Juve crowd went silent, bemused that the upstarts had the temerity to tear up the script that was being written in those shocking opening ten minutes.
OK in ten minutes Spurs looked naïve and lost, tentative and mistake riven. Completely let Higuain go for the first, then the penalty. To come back from that and dominate a side like Juve! If they haven’t already, teams all over Europe will be taking notice of that performance. How can these boys keep playing games of this magnitude one after the other?
Lloris – 8
Lloris gave us confidence from the back, was tidy in possession and made some excellent saves. OK he got a hand to the two goals without being strong enough to get them away but, to be honest, he did well to get that close.
Sanchez – 8
Quick and strong and gave a dominating performance.
Vertonghen – 8
Even Jan seemed a bit nervy in those opening moments but grew in stature, making those vital blocks, tackles and interceptions.
Aurier – 3
Davies – 7
He may have had the wrong shape to address the ball but he was also unlucky to give away a pen when he didn’t see the man coming – though a pen it was. Had the character to play on unaffected and gave another big performance on the left.
Dier – 6
Like everyone, he strove so hard and was part of a midfield that dominated Juve. He just looks a class below those around him – like a centre back playing in midfield or a midfielder playing at centre back. His performances are honest though.
Dembele – 9
When Spurs were lost, lost, lost, one man, personally and individually, hauled them back into the game and gave each of them belief – ‘we can match these’. I think he tired second half, leastways he surely had to unless he truly is superhuman.
Eriksen – 9
And then when Dembele brought us back, someone had to have the class and guile to create disarray. Eriksen was that man. He fully deserved his goal, a goal that makes us improbable favourites for the second leg – sorry, not meaning to jinx anything, but just in terms of the numbers, statistically.
Dele – 8
He’s often too slow making decisions and so he’s frustrating but he is a game changer. And games change in moments. And he’s capable of inventing those moments as, arguably, he did for both our goals.
Lamela – 7
A surprise pick. Apparently, he had the experience of playing in Italy, having lost every game he played against Juve and been sent off! He seemed a little weak on the left, wanting to come inside but without using his right foot. Better on the right or even centre. What he gave that Sonny would not have done was the ferociously fought contribution of a midfielder and maybe the game benefitted from that.
Kane – 8
Obviously, he scored. Equally typically these days he missed a golden chance. He also led the line hugely, created efforts out of nothing. Those highly experienced centre backs will know they’d been in a game all right!
Sonny came on, as did Wanyama. Welcome, Lucas Moura. Oh, and while we’re at it, all the very best for the future in whatever you choose to do, Ryan Mason, and thanks for all you did.
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