Barcelona v Spurs – Champions League Review
Spurs produced one of the best away performances seen at Camp Nou in recent years as a 1-1 draw against Barcelona was enough for them to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League against all odds. Because of PSV Eindhoven’s draw with Inter Milan at the San Siro, Lucas Moura’s equaliser was enough to send Spurs through to the last sixteen. It was deemed almost impossible for Spurs to qualify from their group after they accumulated just one point from their opening three games but two victories at Wembley and a point at Camp Nou mean Spurs have defied all odds.
Lucas Moura Sends Spurs Through in Champions League
What turned out to be an unforgettable night for Spurs started in the worse possible way. On his first start in the Champions League, Kyle Walker-Peters wanted too much time on the halfway line and was punished by Barcelona’s £135m man Ousmane Dembele. The former Borussia Dortmund man breezed past Walker-Peters before cutting back on his left foot and prodding past Hugo Lloris. The goal was made all the more sickening for Spurs by the fact that it came fifteen seconds after Spurs had a free kick in a promising position in the Barcelona half.
In the other match in Group B, PSV Eindhoven had taken the lead against Inter Milan so the scoreline at Camp Nou would have been good enough for Spurs to progress, but Pochettino’s men were not to know that and did not show any signs that they were going for anything other than a win.
Tottenham Hotspur had a flurry of chances towards the end of the first half as they grew into the game. A Danny Rose cross narrowly missed Heung-min Son and the Spurs attacker had a tame effort from the edge of the area saved by Jasper Cillessen. Son then had a guilt edge chance to equalise for the Lilywhites but Cillessen again thwarted him, this time with his legs in a one-on-one situation.
Despite making seven changes to their team, Barcelona still had a lineup full of talent. Ivan Rakitic went close with an effort from range whereas, in the last minute of the first half, former Liverpool man Philippe Coutinho hit the post with his guided shot after brilliantly losing his marker. Despite those chances, and the scoreline, Spurs could be pleased with their effort in the first half.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 11, 2018
The Lillywhites started on the front foot immediately in the second period and Christian Eriksen, who had another wonderful game for Spurs, forced a diving save from Cillessen within the first two minutes of the half. It would be a sign of what was to come for Spurs in the second half.
Their set piece deliveries were not good all evening yet Harry Kane had a header from a corner saved before his rebound was blocked. Spurs were beginning to really dominate the match at this point and Erik Lamela was brought on by Pochettino to add more firepower in attack whilst Moussa Sissoko was moved out to right back.
Such was Spurs’ dominance, it was beginning to seem like it would be one of those days for them and a golden chance for Christian Eriksen only made things worse. After a wonderful cross from Danny Rose, who was a threat all evening, Eriksen was unmarked at the back post. All he had to do was put the ball either side of the Barcelona goalkeeper, yet his effort was straight at Cillessen and Barcelona were once again let off.
Another key chance went begging for Spurs soon after, with substitute Lucas Moura misjudging a header at the back post when it looked easier to score. Instead, his shot was parried away and his second attempt went wide as the Spurs fans and staff looked on in disbelief. At this point Inter Milan were level so Spurs knew that an equaliser was needed.
However Spurs were in a precarious position and Barcelona nearly dumped them out of the competition after Philippe Coutinho hit the post for the second time in the encounter. By this point Lionel Messi had been introduced as a substitute so the more Spurs pushed on for an equaliser, the more susceptible they were to the counter attack.
But with five minutes to go, Spurs got the goal they thoroughly deserved and it came from a wonderful team effort. The move started out with the goalkeeper Hugo Lloris before Christian Eriksen’s pass split the Barcelona midfield and defence. Erik Lamela then fed Harry Kane whose brilliant low cross was turned in by Lucas Moura. The Spurs fans were ecstatic as they knew that only one goal was needed, yet Kane and the rest of the players rushed back to the halfway line as they believed a victory was required.
Is this the goal to send @SpursOfficial through?
— Football Index (@FootballIndex) December 11, 2018
It could have got even better for Spurs as another sweeping move should have been finished off by Danny Rose. The awareness Harry Kane had of his surroundings allowed him to find a reverse pass for Rose who had all of the goal to aim at but his side foot shot was horribly inaccurate.
In the end it did not matter for Spurs, as Inter Milan could only draw with PSV Eindhoven and so a draw at Camp Nou was enough. There were a nervy few minutes as players and fans waited for the result to filter through but once Spurs knew they had achieved the most unlikely of results, the celebrations started.
By having 52% of the possession, Spurs were the first team to have more of the ball than Barcelona in a Champions League group stage match at Camp Nou since 2006.
Barcelona v Spurs Teams
What Mauricio Pochettino Said
“I am so happy, so proud. I remember after Eindhoven nobody believe in us. They said it was mission impossible, but we are here. We are in the last 16 and it is a massive achievement for the club. I am so happy for the fans that are here and for our fans around the world. It’s a massive boost for the club and to have the idea to play in the next stage next year in the new stadium is a massive motivation for us.”
“It’s a massive achievement for the club, hoping we are going to move into the new stadium next year. To have the possibility to play Champions League football in the new stadium will be massive for everyone in the club. But honestly I don’t think too much about personal achievement or personal goals.” (football.london)
Barcelona v Spurs Man of the Match
Danny Rose vs. Barcelona:
7 ball recoveries
8 attacking-third passes completed
6 tackles won
3 fouls suffered
Vintage 🌹 pic.twitter.com/bWGW2kwaCn
— Spurs Stat Man (@SpursStatMan) December 11, 2018
This was a very tough decision to make as the whole Spurs team collectively were outstanding. Christian Eriksen, Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks in midfield were brilliant and Harry Kane showed his immense quality throughout, culminating in his assist for Lucas Moura who also impressed when he came off the bench.
However our man of the match for Spurs is Danny Rose. His inclusion was perhaps a surprise to some and was his first start in the Champions League this season but he justified his selection with a wonderful performance at left back. He was a constant threat for Spurs on that side and the Barcelona defence could not handle him. The only blemish on his performance was the chance he had late on to give Spurs a deserved victory, which he blazed over.
What’s Next for Spurs?
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