The day started off positively, I to the stadium and all the fans seemed to be in full throttle. Wherever one looked, there were smiles on peoples faces. People huddled in groups, and you could hear them discussing the possibilities for the night ahead. All in favour of our/ their team.
Maybe I should have read the omens. I went through the turnstiles, and my ticket was rejected. And mine wasn’t the only one. As we tried to put our ticket through again and again angry and impatient voices behind us mumbled at their frustration of being kept waiting. Eventually, a steward, out of frustration, let us through.
Once up and the atmosphere was even more intense. All jabbering way, all cheerful on that warm night.
Before the kickoff people were consuming a huge amount of alcohol and food. Finally, it was time to go to our seats.
On arriving, we all noticed the flags on our chairs. Looking around, those that got their first were already waving their free souvenirs’ vigorously. You could see the delight on children’s faces, as well as their parents. Then the Spurs anthem came over the tannoy, and the flags started shaking even more robustly, if that was possible. Everybody was in full voice. Then the singing began, and another great wave and feeling went through the stadium.
The build-up was quite magnificent to behold, then the players came out to even more rousing cheers. The momentum started to dissipate. But once the referee blew his whistle, that energy took off again. It was all reminiscent to our very first game at our new stadium.
Fifteen minutes in and catastrophe hit us (or maybe that is an exaggeration). But peoples faces dropped. Apprehension replaced that good feeling we had. All because Van de Beek scored.
To be honest, we struggled to overcome the absence of forwards Harry Kane and Son – injured and suspended respectively – and our job was made even harder by the loss of defender Jan Vertonghen after he suffered a facial injury in the first half. Vertonghen was clearly severely shaken up after an aerial collision involving team-mate Toby Alderweireld and Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana. He eventually had to be supported by two members of the Spurs staff as he went off.
Because of the injury to Vertonghen, an extra 5 minutes were added on. The whistle was finally blown, and we made our way to the food/ drinks area. Got our fulfillment and then back to our seats.
Once the break was over, we tried to force the pace, with plenty of possession, but it was Ajax who came close to adding a second when David Neres struck the inside of the post with Lloris beaten. Ajax held on to their lead in relative comfort, and it will need an inform Spurs team to come back to prevent the Dutch side facing either Barcelona or Liverpool in the final on 1 June. We went back to the lounge feeling dejected… but after a few drinks, we started to feel positive again. After all, Tuesday was only the first half. Next week – the second half – and a goal by us or two would put us in a driving position, and if that happened then maybe we could start dreaming – again – that impossible or possible outcome (think positive!).
The witching hour approached and Beverley and myself made our way to the station, and then separated (I went Northbound, she went southbound).
Again the M25 was blocked (roadworks), and I had to double back. More road works on the M25 (when I finally did reach it) and then onto another set of road works, this time on the M4. My junction was closed so I had to go further along. Finally getting home at 2am (where it should have been 1am). It turned out to be a bloody long day (in more ways that one).
See you at the Bournemouth game.
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