The naysayers are lining up. No trophies. Barca’s reserve team. Needed help from the Dutch. Should have scored four. Lucky with Coutinho twice. And you know what? I’ll give them all of that. AND IT DOESN”T MATTER ONE SILLY BIT BECAUSE WE GOT THROUGH!!
Somehow, someway, after so many missed chances, so many amazing saves by Cillessen, after Inter had finally equalized and the gods seemed to have nothing in their hearts for this football club, after all of that this team of grit and talent and resolve kept at it. Lamela found Kane who crossed to Lucas and this time there was no frustration at the end. Even so we could have scored again from Rose who remembered he was a fullback and skied it over the bar. And PSV held on. And now whether it is PSG or Atletico or Real Madrid or Juve (again) our lads are alive. No Europa League here—that is the task the clubs we look down on in London must face.
There were heroes all around, but I want to single out Kyle Walker-Peters. He made a series of horrendous mistakes leading to Dembele’s goal—getting bossed off the ball to begin with, being faked out of his shoes, and then failing to recover quickly enough after Dembele did it to Winks as well. But then he settled in, and played with resolve and increasing confidence for the rest of the evening. It would have been harsh to have him take the fall tonight. The other two are Danny Rose and Moussa Sissoko—both of them were whirling up and down the pitch all night—of course each made mistakes in the final third, but who didn’t? They both were brilliant—Sissoko made the defensive play of the night on Messi late when a goal would have buried us.
Toby and Jan were solid all night long—can’t remember either one making a big error at any point. Lloris was not called upon as his Barca counterpart was, but I thought his long clearance balls were often deadly accurate for a change. Harry Winks played hard and continues to grow—you can’t blame him for failing to stop a forward as talented as Dembele on the goal.
As for our front four—plus the two late subs of Lamela and Lucas who both played a crucial role in the equaliser—it was simply a case of so close.. and so far. Give Coutinho one of the post goals—Spurs should have had at least three or four. The real scoreline should/could have been 4-2, such was our dominance, particularly in the second half. Son missed somehow, failing to get the ball up and over Cillessen’s trailing foot. He had a couple of other superb chances, missing a cross from Rose by a foot. Dele was his typical harassing creative self. Eriksen had two great chances—a left footer just parried away by the Dutch keeper, and the volley in the second half that no one could believe had not found the net. Lucas headed a ball just a bit roughly and it was also saved by inches, and Kane had a couple of opportunities that he bungled. But no matter—because Erik Lamela got the ball in space, swung it around to Kane, whose cross was spot-on and Lucas was there for the glorious finish.
It was everything we deserved. After the two late disappointments in Amsterdam and Milan, after the Messi show at Wembley, this team was not going to be denied. They left it late vs Inter at Wembley, and again tonight. I’ll leave the significance to the club historians. All I know is I have never felt better as a Spurs fan than right here, right now.
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