In the first quarter-final match, the Londoners play a vigorous game, harnessing Guardiola’s team. Injury for Kane, who leaves the field limping
Tottenham wins the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals, the first match in Europe in the club’s new facility, against City in the all-English derby that also closely concerns Juve, a possible opponent in the semifinals. A net of Son decides at 78 ‘, when the match seemed to slip from Pochettino’s hands towards Guardiola’s for a final all in attack in search of victory away.
Pep surprises everyone, raising Delph (Zinchenko is unavailable) from left-back and Mahrez (impalpable) on the wing from 1 ‘, in a sort of 4-1-4-1 masked according to moments from 4-4-2 or 4 -3-3, even if talking about the form with the Catalan coach teams is always complicated. Bench for De Bruyne, not for Bernardo Silva, who even goes to the stands.
The recovered Aguero at the center of the attack. In retrospect, choices that do not pay for anything. Pochettino answers deploying the 11 base, except for the absence of Dier, replaced by Winks.
The Match: Tottenham starts off with courage, pressing high already at the kick-off, with Kane walling the launch of Otamendi and forcing Ederson to leave after a few seconds.
The work of the English striker, assisted by Son, Alli and Eriksen greatly complicates the construction phase from below of the guests, also because Gundogan struggles to start in the traditional role of De Bruyne. It is not by chance that the first danger is created by the Spurs at 8 ‘, with Alli triggering Sissoko on the left and then he throws himself into the area to look for the volley on the cross with his right foot on the cross: a not high ball. However, the game may soon turn on Sterling’s restart. Guardiola’s wing shot is walled with Rose’s arm.
The Var recalls Kuipers, which after the replay to the monitor assigns the right rigor to the City. It is the 13 ‘, but Aguero is hypnotized by Lloris (third penalty in a row saved by the French) and delivers the first Champions League rejoicing at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Curious is the attitude of Guardiola, who does not look at the execution of the Kun, but tells us about what happened by the deputy Arteta. The risk course does not change the approach of the Spurs and at 24 ′ the Londoners almost pass: Kuipers is good at giving the advantage over Alli’s foul, Eriksen quickly serves Kane in the area, who turns and kicks, Ederson saves himself in beautiful style. The canvas continues until the break, but the City, while suffering the rhythm, does not give other chances.
The recovery seems immediately more sparkling. Guardiola’s men try first, with a nice maneuvering action, which allows Sterling to stop and kick from a tight angle after just 2 ‘: Lloris is careful. The answer is left to the left around Son who touches the pole to the right of Ederson. Then the Korean repeats himself diagonally with his right, but the Brazilian goalkeeper nails the ball to the ground.
The game changes to 56 ′, when in a stark contrast to Delph, Kane gets hurt. The captain of the landlords immediately takes the tunnel of the locker rooms limping, without even waiting for Lucas Moura to enter. Tottenham loses its reference buoy and inevitably lowers, also because the transition from ball recovery to offensive action becomes more cumbersome. Guardiola understands that it is time to insist, perhaps changing something, and in the 70 ′ he removes a dead Aguero for Gabriel Jesus.
But when it seems that the City is tightening the area of Lloris, here comes Son. The Korean at 78 ′ is tenacious in keeping a ball alive on the back line (Eriksen’s illuminating filter) after an imperfect stop, takes advantage of Delph’s sleep (timid and late closing) and kicks back with the left on goal. Ederson for once is not reactive enough to get off and the ball goes into the net. The guest reaction is practically nil, despite Guardiola inserting De Bruyne and Sané. Too late, Pep.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium celebrates its European debut with a prestigious victory. If it is enough to grab the semi-finals of the Champions League only the return of Wednesday next to Manchester will tell it.
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