It was supposed to be Antonio Conte’s triumphant return to the Tottenham Hotspur sidelines after a month away recuperating from gallbladder surgery. It was anything but triumphant. Down a goal on aggregate and facing a beatable AC Milan team in the Champions League in front of what should’ve been a friendly home crowd, Tottenham put in a toothless performance made worse after Cuti Romero picked up his second yellow card midway through the second half. The good news is that AC Milan never looked like scoring. The bad news is that neither did Spurs, and they needed two goals to advance.
The match ended a tepid, boring, insipid 0-0 draw, with Spurs crashing out of the final competition in which they had any remote chance of winning. AC Milan advanced to the next round of the Champions League 1-0 on aggregate.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this — this was grim, grim football. Milan were a HORRIBLE team and somehow they’re to the Champions League quarterfinals because Tottenham couldn’t manage to muster up anything even remotely close to a fight.
- Spurs look so much better in all white. That’s just science.
- I know the guy is just back from major surgery, but has Antonio Conte ever looked more like the Cryptkeeper than he did on the sidelines of that match? That dude looks like he belongs in Madame Tussaud’s.
- Cuti and Lenglet’s early yellows and Cuti’s sending off meant all three of Spurs’ starting CBs would’ve been suspended for Spurs’ next match had they won. But they didn’t. More troubling was that Cuti looked like he injured himself, and that’s not great either.
- As has been the pattern, Spurs mostly looked grim, boring and like they were completely out of ideas on how to generate offense. Thankfully (I guess) Milan were just as bad. Halftime xG was 0.09 - 0.10, which I’m given to understand was the worst combined xG in a half of any Champions League match this season. It didn’t get much better in the second half. In fact, Spurs ended the two match tie with just 0.8 xG... combined.
- A sub! An early sub! Moving Royal to LWB and bringing on Pedro Porro seven minutes into the 2nd half is a bit weird, but considering how awful Perisic was, I’m certainly fine with Conte at least trying something.
- The Porro sub did seem to light a bit of a fire under Tottenham. His directness got the offense to kick on a bit and got the crowd going, at least for a few minutes.
- My god, I never thought I’d see Conte so desperate he’d switch to a back four. Where has this Antonio been all season?! I mean, it didn’t work and Spurs were still bad, but at least they were INTERESTING in their badness for a while.
- The white flag was raised the moment Davinson Sanchez was subbed on for Deki.
- Boy, I really thought Kane had done it with that late header. That would’ve been the stupidest way to send the match to extra time, but it also would’ve been very funny. Maignan’s save was very good.
- To whoever draws Milan next round — you’re welcome, from Tottenham Hotspur.
- Please send Antonio back to Italy and bring Dad home. I’m tired and sad and just sick of it all.