Son nets winner after Lloris’ spot-kick save to stun City in memorable first leg
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Champions League quarter-final first leg: Tottenham Hotspur 1 Manchester City 0
Tottenham Hotspur have a slender advantage in the Champions League quarter-finals after a memorable night in their new stadium against quadruple-chasing Manchester City.
It could have been so different had Sergio Aguero scored his 13th-minute spot-kick, but Hugo Lloris was the hero after Video Assistant Referee (VAR) had awarded the penalty and Heung-min Son’s late goal earned Spurs a famous 1-0 win in Europe.
This quarter-final tie is far from over, but Mauricio Pochettino would have been so thrilled with his players on a night which showed why this stadium is so important.
Questions will be asked about the South Stand soon with all three Spurs goals in this 62,062-seater venue coming in front of the single tier which holds 17,500 fans.
When the supporters get going this place is a cauldron of noise and it rattled City, but so did the intensity of the hosts.
From the off they pressed with purpose and despite some nervy moments, it was a fully deserved victory and Tottenham will now be dreaming of Champions League glory if they can continue to produce performances like this.
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After insisting he would be brave during his pre-match press conference, Pochettino was true to his word and attacked City by lining up in a bold 4-2-3-1 formation.
The only change made to the side which saw off Crystal Palace 2-0 last Wednesday in the opening fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was to recall the fully fit again Harry Winks in place of Ben Davies, who dropped to the bench.
Leading the line was Harry Kane while behind him was talented attacking trio Heung-min Son, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen.
For City, they were able to name a frightening list of substitutes with Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus among the replacements in addition to Vincent Kompany, John Stones and Phil Foden.
Ex-Tottenham defender Kyle Walker was fit to start for the Premier League champions as was Aguero, who played in a front three alongside Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling.
After previously calling Wembley Stadium ‘home’ in Europe this season, Spurs were finally back in N17 and at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – ‘the only place to watch Champions League football in London.’
The iconic South Stand, which holds 17,500 spectators, were provided with plastic blue and white bags to create a ‘To Dare, To Do’ sign/tifo ahead of kick-off.
It contributed towards an electric atmosphere which did not need any enhancing as the home fans settled into their new surroundings and truly found their voice.
A slightly frantic start occurred to the match with Kane blocking a clearance from the kick-off and Aguero being flagged offside minutes later.
The first real opportunity of the tie was created with eight on the clock when Spurs broke at pace with Alli sending Moussa Sissoko away on the left and he showed good composure to find the England playmaker just inside the area.
Unfortunately his centre lacked the required quality and was just too high for Alli, who could only volley over.
Nevertheless, it added to the ferocious noise inside the ground, although City hit back in the 10th minute when Sterling beat a couple of players and let fly from the edge, but Danny Rose managed to block his effort.
As everyone prepared for the corner to be taken, referee Bjorn Kuipers was told to wait as VAR checked to see if a penalty should be awarded.
To the surprise of most, the replays showed Rose had blocked the effort with his hand and even though he was only a few yards out, a spot-kick was awarded with 12 played following a slight delay.
Spurs fans were furious, but their anger turned to ecstasy in the 13th minute when Lloris dived the right way and denied Aguero with a brilliant save to his left.
If it felt loud before, now it was completely deafening and crucially the Lilywhites had avoided conceding an early away goal.
Following his recent mistake at Liverpool, it was a special moment for Tottenham’s captain and made him the first goalkeeper to save a penalty at the new stadium.
Proceedings settled down after with less fast and furious play from both sides, but City were still dictating possession and Pochettino’s team had to find a way to stop that.
Referee Kuipers was more popular in the 24th minute when he played an excellent advantage which nearly saw the hosts take the lead.
Alli chased a lost cause and tried to beat Aymeric Laporte, but was fouled near the byline, yet advantage was played as Eriksen knocked the ball to Kane and he curled towards goal, though Ederson saved well.
Tottenham’s number 20 was looking in the mood, however, and won a free kick three minutes later after again causing Laporte problems, but Eriksen’s delivery was poor and the chance was wasted.
Spurs were more than holding their own and despite City enjoying a fraction more of the ball, it was Pochettino’s men who had created the better chances as the first half started to draw to a close.
Another set-piece was wasted by Eriksen in the 37th minute, yet Tottenham kept the ball alive and Son’s cross dropped for Alderweireld, on his 150th appearance for the Lilywhites, but he saw a volley blocked.
It was another encouraging sign for the north Londoners, who seemed to be growing into the contest as the seconds passed.
City were beginning to wobble and Walker tried to let a Lloris kick go out for a throw, but saw it hit his back and go out for a Tottenham throw before Sterling fouled Son and Rose tested Ederson with a curling free kick effort from 20-yards.
Two minutes of stoppage time was added on at the end of the first 45 and Aguero tried a pot-shot from range, but it went wide and the home fans chanting ‘we forget that you were here’ when the visiting supporters found their voice again.
It ended goalless at the break and the big question now was whether Spurs could keep up this intensity and if they could make their opportunities count?
Like the first half, the second period started at a frantic pace with Sterling testing Lloris in the 47th minute and Son responding with a superb curling effort from range which flew inches wide less than 60 seconds later.
Guardiola’s team didn’t relent though, and forced two corners in quick succession, but Tottenham broke from the second and Kane found Son, yet Ederson saved his low shot comfortably.
Still, it helped increase the decibel levels inside the stadium which were still to get going in the second period.
Treatment for Ederson – after he landed awkwardly following a collision with Nicolas Otamendi – gave the Spurs supporters the chance to get the atmosphere going again and with the South Stand leading the chants, a cauldron of noise was created.
Ederson was able to resume, but he looked in discomfort and then it was the hosts who had an injury worry and it was a decisive one.
Kane lunged in on Fabian Delph in front of Pochettino and didn’t only receive some stinging words from his fellow England international, but picked up an ankle issue too.
He was unable to put weight on his foot and was helped down the tunnel which saw his night come to a premature end.
Lucas Moura was eventually introduced in place of Kane with 32 minutes left, but it was a huge blow to Tottenham’s chances of winning this match and potentially for the rest of their season.
The substitute immediately set about making an impact and won a free kick, which Spurs again failed to make the most of.
City now enjoyed their best spell of possession for a while and were beginning to turn the screw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Although the hosts were still pressing, it wasn’t as intense as in the first half and you got the sense they were now tiring.
Kane’s unexpected exit hadn’t helped, but as the clock struck 70, Spurs were only 20 minutes away from taking
Jesus was introduced for City with 19 minutes to go and Aguero – denied from the spot by Lloris – was the man to make way.
With Tottenham becoming weary, the home crowd, in particular the South Stand, looked to help them summon a final round of energy.
City could scent blood though, and were now producing wave after wave of attacks, but an injury to Son halted their rhythm.
When the South Korean was able to resume, the mini-break appeared to disrupt the away side and Spurs suddenly had their intense pressing energy back.
Moura and Alli made a nuisance of themselves and Eriksen managed to pick the ball up and spot the run of Son.
It appeared the through ball had been just a fraction too heavy for the Tottenham number seven and he could only partially control it.
However, Son managed to keep the ball in, check back past Delph and fire towards goal and this time Ederson had no answer with 78 minutes played.
The ball nestled into the back of the net and once again Spurs had scored in front of the South Stand and the 17,500 fans in there erupted alongside most others.
It was a huge moment for Tottenham and Pochettino’s celebrations on the touchline with his coaching staff showed you how big a goal it felt.
Delph – who was now the pantomime villain following his incident with Kane – had been punished for switching off and Spurs and Son had taken full advantage.
Now could the Lilywhites hold on? Pochettino made another change with 81 played as Victor Wanyama replaced the brilliantly assured Harry Winks.
Even though City were trailing, they still looked shell-shocked and were struggling to string passes together; something you never associate with Guardiola’s side.
The next substitution was Fernando Llorente replacing the tireless Alli with three to go at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as the tension increased.
However, the Spurs supporters were doing their best to get the team over the line even with the late introduction of Sane and De Bruyne.
Six minutes of stoppage time was added on at the end of the 90, which was met with groans, but with the home fans in fine voice throughout it went by with little to note.
Tottenham had done it and defeated arguably the best team in the country to ensure they remain unbeaten at their new ground after two games.
While this tie is far from over, Guardiola’s men won’t forget this evening in a hurry with the partisan atmosphere no doubt playing a part.
Kane’s injury is a worry, but City have work to do in next Wednesday’s second leg if their quadruple hopes are to remain and Spurs will fancy their chances following this terrific display – one of their best of the campaign.
Next up for Tottenham is another home game, this Saturday in the Premier League against already-relegated Huddersfield Town.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (c); Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Winks (Wanyama 81); Eriksen, Alli (Llorente 87), Son; Kane (Moura 58).
Unused substitutes: Gazzaniga, Davies, Sanchez, Foyth.
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Delph; Gundogan, Fernandinho, Silva © (De Bruyne 89); Mahrez (Sane 89), Aguero (Jesus 71), Sterling.
Unused substitutes: Muric, Kompany, Stones, Foden.