It was arguably the biggest game in the 21st century history of Tottenham Hotspur, and it also turned out to be one of the craziest.
Manchester City looked to be too hot to handle, but Spurs somehow only lost 4-3 on the night. Thus, Tottenham advanced to the semifinals of the Champions League thanks to their three away goals.
I don’t say this lightly, but this was one of the wildest sporting events I have ever witnessed. I’m sure you feel the same way.
In addition to Harry Kane, Harry Winks was, once again, unavailable due to injury. The midfielder played in the first leg, but picked up a groin injury and then didn’t play on Saturday against Huddersfield Town.
Winks was replaced in the starting lineup by Victor Wanyama. Lucas Moura came in for Kane, while Dele Alli started, albeit with a large cast on his fractured right hand. The rest of the Tottenham lineup was as expected.
Manchester City were back to full strength as Benjamin Mendy came back into the side. Pep Guardiola faced criticism for leaving Kevin De Bruyne on the bench for much of last week’s game, but De Bruyne started, as did his fellow Belgian international Vincent Kompany.
The beginning of the match was surely one of the most ridiculous that the Champions League has ever seen.
Raheem Sterling gave the home side an instant lead in the 4th minute when he curled a brilliant effort past a diving Hugo Lloris.
Spurs responded quickly just three minutes later when Son Heung-min found the net. Aymeric Laporte’s clearance fell right to the South Korean, whose shot was kicked, but not stopped, by Ederson.
The insanity continued when Son added his second with his very next chance. This time, he scored when he found space in the box after receiving a pass from Christian Eriksen. Sonny unleashed one of his trademark curlers into the top corner to give Spurs a stunning second away goal.
The visitors looked to be in great position, but City struck back instantly. Sergio Aguero found Bernardo Silva on the right side of the attack, and Silva’s shot took a deflection off Danny Rose to beat Lloris.
After 11 minutes of play, both teams had two goals on the scoreboard.
Things settled down a bit after that, but not by much. Man City added a third tally ten minutes later. Kieran Trippier fell asleep at the back post, which allowed Sterling to tap-in a perfect cross from De Bruyne.
The combined five goals scored in 21 minutes were a new UCL record.
Each side had time on the ball following what turned out to be the final goal of the half. Guardiola’s squad exerted their dominance a bit more as the opening frame went on.
Tottenham were dealt another injury blow when Moussa Sissoko went down with an injury. Pochettino opted to shift Dele and Eriksen back a bit in order to bring on Fernando Llorente as Sissoko’s replacement.
Rose was the only obstacle that stood between City and another goal five minutes into the second half. The English left back slid in ahead of Bernardo to clear the danger after Lloris had parried an effort from Sterling.
Llorente had a headed chance a few minutes later, but he didn’t get proper contact and Ederson made the save. City came the other way, and De Bruyne eventually slid a ball through to Aguero, who smashed it past Lloris at the near post.
Man City had their first lead of the tie. They looked to be holding it through to the end, until Llorente made his mark.
The ball came off the Spaniard’s hip on a corner kick and bounced into the net. There was a VAR check to see if it came off his hand, but the goal stood.
Spurs defense had looked porous all game, but they would make the semifinals if they could hold on for the final 15 minutes.
Ben Davies came on for Lucas Moura in an attempt to sure things up at the back, which put Rose in a position to pressure a bit further up the field.
The final moments of the game would have been some of the most anxious moments in the careers of everyone involved.
City appeared to have won it late when Sterling scored, but the referee went to VAR and rightfully called the goal back for Aguero being offside. One moment the Spurs players were on the pitch with their heads in their hands, and the next they were up and bouncing after the reversal of the goal.
The Etihad was stunned, and the Spurs away end went into delirium. Spurs saw out the final moments of the game and celebrated qualification for the Champions League semifinals.
The Lilywhites will play Ajax in the next round, but first, there should be plenty of time to revel in what was a historic achievement for the club on a night that won’t soon be forgotten.