Tuesday night in the Champions League looked to be the night when Tottenham Hotspur’s chances of of advancing out of Group B would be extinguished. They almost were, but a late comeback means that Spurs live to fight another day.
The Lilywhites trailed 1-0 PSV Eindhoven after the first minute of play, but two second half goals from Harry Kane gave them the three points they so desperately needed.
Injuries in the midfield didn’t give Mauricio Pochettino too many options for his starting lineup. Christian Eriksen and Harry Winks formed a partnership in the middle in the absence of any traditional defensive midfielders. Dele Alli played in the Champions League for the first time all season and was joined in attack by Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, and Lucas Moura.
Things couldn’t have started much worse for Tottenham. Lucas gave the ball away, PSV earned a corner, and then they scored from that resulting corner. Luuk de Jong’s header put the Dutch side up 1-0 before a full minute had even been played.
Any groans at Wembley were drowned out by the raucous away fans, but Spurs responded well. They had to.
Lucas almost made up for his mistake in the 23rd minute when he made an incredible run forward. He pushed all the way into the box where his shots were blocked. The Brazilian attempted to have a shot from the ground following a rebound, but his effort went over the bar.
Spurs came close again just a few minutes later. Dele forced a turnover and started a break in on PSV’s goal. Dele squared for Eriksen right in front of the net, but Jeroen Zoet made an incredible save on the Dane and then another one to stop Dele’s follow-up.
Zoet stood tall again a few times throughout a first half that Tottenham dominated. The Lilywhites managed six shots on goal on 14 attempts in the first half, but the match was scoreless at the interval due to the PSV keeper’s heroics.
The second half was initially more of the same. Nothing had gone right for Spurs in this Champions League campaign to that point, and it didn’t seem like anything ever would.
PSV resorted to time wasting as they effectively shortened the game. Again Spurs were dominating possession, but they were frustrated by solid defending and incredible keeping from Zoet.
Erik Lamela has been Tottenham’s in-form man as of late. He came on for Lucas after 60 minutes in an effort to push the game, but it was Fernando Llorente’s introduction that changed the game.
Llorente had come on to help with long balls, and he did just that. He cushioned one down well for Kane who calmly stroked the ball into the net with his left foot.
The Spaniard almost made another key impact on the game in the 84th minute, but his header from point-blank range was right at Zoet.
Spurs were throwing everyone forward with the exception of Paulo Gazzaniga, and their efforts were finally rewarded with a late winner.
Ben Davies put a cross in that Kane headed while falling backwards. The ball bounced off a PSV defender and into the side netting past a diving Zoet.
The dam of frustration had finally been broken. Spurs had their first win in the 2018/19 Champions League.
Elsewhere, Inter Milan and Barcelona drew 1-1. The Catalonians have booked their place in the next round, while Inter will now have to hold Spurs off when they come to Wembley on November 28.