WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW what a finish! In front of a raucous group of Marseille supporters at the Stade Velodrome, Tottenham Hotspur looked for a little while dead and buried in the Champions League after going down in the first half to Olympique Marseille. Spurs needed just a point to qualify for the knock-out stages.
With suspended manager Antonio Conte watching in the stands, Tottenham looked listless and dull under assistant manager Cristian Stellini in the opening half, but roared back in the 2nd 45 minutes. Spurs got a thumping headed goal from Clement Lenglent to level the score, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored the winner with the last kick of the game to send the visiting Tottenham fans into raptures. Tottenham escaped with a 2-1 win, winning their group and providing yet another dramatic moment of joy in a glory, glory European night.
The result, combined with Eintracht Frankfurt’s win over Sporting Lisbon, means that Champions League Group D ends up as follows:
- Tottenham Hotspur (11 pts.)
- Eintracht Frankfurt (10 pts.)
- Sporting Lisbon [Europa League] (7 pts.)
- Marseille (6 pts.)
- Marseille is known as a high press, high intensity team and they showed it early. They’re also a retirement home for washed-out Gooners — Guendouzi, Nuno Tavares, Alexis, Kolasinac. They’re basically Diet Arsenal with worse supporters, and it made this result even sweeter.
- In what seems to have been the pattern lately, Spurs really sat back in the first half and were content to let Marseille have the ball. In what also seems to be the pattern, Tottenham were dour, flat, abject garbage in the first half. Folks, I’m not going to lie, I was not optimistic during this one.
- Marseille’s Mbema was an absolute menace. Sonny got absolutely clocked on that foul and he did not look in a good way. He practically staggered into the tunnel, and if the Premier League’s concussion protocols hold, he’ll be out for six days, missing Liverpool. Mbema also whacked Kane in the face and scored in this match. I hate him.
- Ryan Sessegnon was playing out of position on the right and he had a pretty awful first half. Had a few players skate past him and he fluffed a clearance that led to Veretout’s shot (and Hugo’s excellent save). Rightfully hooked at halftime.
- You know who played really well tonight? Emerson Royal. Just when you write him off completely, he turns in a solid performance in a crucially important match.
- Lenglet’s goal was outstanding. I didn’t know he had that in him! A great leap to get on the ball, and a very well placed header to level the score. He played well tonight, I was pleased.
- There was really nothing that Lucas Moura offered out there that Bryan Gil would not have offered, and I don’t understand why we persist with Lucas when we could be blooding in Bryan. At least Bryan could still get better!
- Spurs had a couple more chances to score — the tackle on Kane in the box is one that, no matter what the call was on the field, would not have been overturned on VAR. I’m of the opinion that it was just a good tackle. And then the thump off the crossbar... whoof. But it all worked out in the end.
- Hojbjerg’s goal — fantastic. He’s going to miss the next match due to yellow card accumulation, but what a way to go out!
- Ray Hudson references: Ben Hur, Georges Seurat, Blair Witch Project, Battle Royale, Spandex on Miami Beach. There were probably more but I was yelling at the TV a lot there at the end.
- This was not a very good performance, and I feel like I’m saying that a lot. I was extremely cheesed off at Spurs, Conte, Stellini, everyone — that the team was playing for the draw and not the win. But like the Miracle in Amsterdam, Spurs pulled a result out of nothing and it gave supporters a lot to celebrate. Now I hope the visiting Spurs supporters can get out of the Stade Velodrome and back home without incident.