I said we would win 3-1, but ended up with the only goal in the game. But we won, and now we have to get something out of the Barcelona game (a win preferably), at the same time we must hope that PSV Eindhoven beat Inter. Both results are within the realms of possibility.
Inter Milan has all to play for, where Barcelona don’t. Nobody can overtake them so committing a full squad and risking all for nothing would be pointless. If the situations were reversed, Pochettino would send out a weak team.
I am confident that we can get something from the Barcelona match, but whether that something is enough will depend on Inter Milan v PSV. For that night we shall also be PSV supporters (urging them to beat Inter Milan for us).
As I said, I predicted before the game we would win comfortably, but both teams battled for all they are worth.
The day started with the heavens opening up and then a drive through the pouring rain to South Ruislip, followed by a short walk in the rain to the bus stop. Once on the bus, the rest was mostly under shelter. Got to the ground at 4 pm.
I like to leave home early just in case there are any holdups on the motorway/ trains. I’d rather be early and twiddle my thumbs than worry about missing the game. Also; the hospitality lounge opens two and a half hours before kick-off (as opposed to an hour before for none-Premium members).
Before all that though was the walk up Wembley Way, and then being confronted by a wall of Security officials checking bags. This time – through the pressure of THST – they modified their bag policy (but only for us, not for England matches etc.). Now you can have a bag that is laptop size (how generous!). But as I said in a previous article, people have found ways around it.
I was waved through (my bag was A4 size) and made my way to the hospitality area. Because I was early, I went to the Spurs shop, bought the yearly Spurs Handbook, talked to the manager (who I have known for years) and then back to the hospitality area. I still had an hour to go – and there was nowhere to sit – so I made my way to the press area. Chairs and tables galore and nobody paying attention, I sat down on a spare chair, with desk and talked to those passing here, there and everywhere. Because I boldly sat at the Press’ table people presumed that I was one of them (press or official). Which meant I had people come up to me and ask if they could borrow a chair or point them in the right direction. One even asked me if they could take one of the food bags that were on the table (presuming I was representing whoever was supposed to sit on that table) I replied, “yes, of course you can.” Take the whole lot I thought (and he did). Eventually, I had enough of that and made my way back to the Hospitality waiting area until Martin, his dad and Steve turned up.
Five-thirty arrived, and we were let in. Made our way up two flights of escalators to the Bobby Moore lounge (I nearly went up another lot of escalators, until Martin pulled me back and asked me what I was doing. God knows!). Had a wristband put on, given a programme or however many we wanted (within reason) and then found a suitable table, away from the blaring speakers.
An old friend came to our table for a chat; Justin Edinburgh. I hadn’t seen or talked to him for a while. A charming and friendly person.
Got the wine, food (burger and chips), I was bloody hungry and when I finished I had a quick word with the Hospitality manager and had another burger and chips (thank you!). When you enter the hospitality lounge, you are given a voucher so that you can purchase your free food. But occasionally they will let you have another one, as plenty of food is left over. No Hospitality Steve (there are a few hospitality managers) for the last couple of games, so no biscuits after the game for us.
All done and dusted, got our team sheets and then to our seats.
The usual ceremony for the Champions League (which is different to how the Premier League or FA Cup matches do it). Then players came out, gave each other a tickle (handshake), the customary team photos with Chirpy and Mandy (or whatever Chirpy’s companions name or love interest is) and then to their positions (that is the players, not the two stuffed oven-ready birds).
The whistle goes and Inter attack. I thought that we took a while to warm up and get going, but once we did, we went for it. We had 52% of the possession. But a sparse crowd turned out for this match; 57,132.
Christian Eriksen came off the bench to score a late winner for us against Inter Milan at Wembley and keep alive our hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stage going into our final game at Barcelona.
We needed the win to retain any hope of emerging from Group B into the last 16 and for long spells it looked like our ambitions would flounder on the rock of the Italian side’s resilient defence.
Harry Winks struck the bar, and Jan Vertonghen headed wide as we pressed, but it took the introduction of Eriksen to make the crucial breakthrough as he was the beneficiary of good work by Moussa Sissoko and Dele Alli to score at the far post with 10 minutes left.
Inter had opportunities of their own with Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris saving from Ivan Perisic – but we closed out the win and must now match Inter’s result at home to PSV Eindhoven when we travel to the Nou Camp on 11 December to go through. And we can do it. COYS!
We applauded the team off the pitch, went to the hospitality lounge, had a cup of tea (or cups’ of tea) and left; but we left a bit too early and got caught up in the Wembley queue (for the underground). No train to Uxbridge, so I caught the Watford train, I had to get off at Harrow-on-the-Hill and wait for the Uxbridge train there, luckily just a 10-minute wait. Finally arriving home at 1pm.
What next? This Sunday away to Arsenal, then back to Wembley to see us perform against Southampton, which will be followed with another trip to an away match; Leicester City… and then…
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