Two goals from Harry Kane kept Spurs’ hopes of progressing to the knockout rounds of the Champions League round in tact as they came from behind to beat PSV Eindhoven at Wembley.
Things looked bleak for Spurs into the second half, as PSV Eindhoven soaked up all the pressure after going ahead early on. But it was two strikes from Kane, who ironically had been quiet for large periods of the game, that gave Spurs a thoroughly deserved victory on the night, much to the delight of Mauricio Pochettino and the Wembley crowd.
Harry Kane the Hero for Spurs
Harry Kane has been directly involved in more Champions League goals (15) than he has played games in the competition (14):
⚽ 13 goals
🎯 2 assist
Phenomenal stuff. pic.twitter.com/bwAXr9qRSW
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 6, 2018
On a night where it was imperative that Spurs won, it could not have started any worse for them. Within a minute PSV had a won a corner and from that captain Luuk de Jong powered in a header. Dele Alli was tasked with marking the PSV Eindhoven captain and lost his man as a number of players made their runs in the area.
Once PSV Eindhoven grabbed the goal then defending their lead was the only thing on their mind. Despite having players that could damage Spurs in attacking areas they instead sat back and invited Spurs onto them. Spurs had much joy in terms of getting forward and creating chances, especially in wide areas with full backs Serge Aurier and Ben Davies pushing on, but it was the final ball and ruthless finishing that Spurs lacked for so long in the match.
Dele Alli had a flicked effort cleared off the line and Harry Kane had a shot blocked all within the first eight minutes as Spurs looked to respond immediately. Lucas Moura was also lively down the left from Spurs and almost scored an incredible solo goal were it not for the PSV goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet. After going past four defenders, Moura’s shot was blocked by the Dutch stopper and his second attempt went over, because the Brazilian was off balance and falling to the ground.
Soon after that, Spurs had their best chance of the game through Christian Eriksen. It was actually a double chance for Spurs, with Eriksen firing straight at Zoet and on the resulting rebound Dele Alli did exactly the same. The reaction of Zoet showed that he believed his double save was as good as a goal for PSV Eindhoven, as did his fellow teammates.
The first major action of the second half involved Paulo Gazzaniga on his Champions League debut, with the Spurs keeper doing a Cruyff turn to bewilder Hirving Lozano after it looked like he would steal the ball off him. The turn from Gazzaniga was something Harry Winks would have been proud of.
Harry Winks' game by numbers vs. PSV:
80 (91%) passes completed
7 chances created
4 (100%) tackles won
1 take-on completed
Top class performance. pic.twitter.com/7hEibtNTiN
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 6, 2018
Winks controlled the game as the midfield pivot, with Alli and Eriksen the more advanced players in front of him. He constantly kept the game ticking over and was able to switch play when needed. The England midfielder is also a deceptively good dribbler, making a number of bursting runs forward and taking opposition players out of the game, before passing to a teammate.
After a quiet first half apart their goal, PSV Eindhoven finally had a chance of note just under an hour into the encounter. Liverpool and Manchester United target Steven Bergwijn had a shot from the edge of the area deflected over by Toby Alderweireld. From the resulting corner, Gaston Pereiro forced a save from Paulo Gazzaniga, who did well to punch the ball away from danger whilst diving to his right.
Spurs kept on creating chances at the other end and whereas it had looked like it was only a matter of time before they scored, it was starting to seem like it would be one of those evenings where nothing would go right for them. Heung-min Son had a shot deflected wide, Ben Davies had his cross turned behind after getting in behind the PSV defence and Harry Kane had his effort blocked by Zoet all before Spurs grabbed their much deserved equaliser.
It came from a more direct Spurs approach, which started with an Eriksen long ball. Kane flicked on to Fernando Llorente whose deft touch allowed Kane to fire a shot into the ground and into the back of the PSV Eindhoven net. It was an enormous sigh of relief for the Spurs players, as well as Mauricio Pochettino, and there was only one way the game was going to go after that. The role of Fernando Llorente in the strike was also pivotal, with the big Spaniard showing his technical ability with a perfectly weighted assist for Kane.
However PSV Eindhoven showed that they were still dangerous and Spurs had Paulo Gazzaniga to thank for keeping them level. Donyell Malen was put through after an excellent first touch but Gazzaniga stood his ground and turned his shot over. The Dutch teenager could not believe he had spurned such a good chance and, unfortunately for him, it would come back to haunt him.
That was because, despite Fernando Llorente directing a header at Zoet a few minutes earlier, Spurs were able to get a winning goal through Harry Kane. After struggling to find a killer ball for what seemed like most of the game, Ben Davies put in a floated cross which Kane was on the end of at the back post for Spurs. His header was rather tame but took deflections off two PSV Eindhoven defenders before nestling in the corner. The goal was not pretty but it was entirely deserved by Spurs who were by far the better team throughout the match, notching up thirty shots on goal with ten on target.
— Harry Kane (@HKane) November 6, 2018
Kane’s two goals, taking him up to ten for the season, mean that Spurs are up to third in their Champions League Group B. Inter Milan managed to salvage a draw in the other group match against Barcelona but Spurs will know that if they beat Inter in their next match at Wembley, then what seemed the most unlikely qualification to the knockout rounds could be a real possibility.
Spurs v PSV Eindhoven Lineups
What the Managers Said
Spurs Manager Mauricio Pochettino
“If we can beat Inter then we will both have seven points. Then in one game anything can happen. We will go to Barcelona to try to win the game. The belief is still there. I am so optimistic.”
“The team deserved the victory. We won and suffered a lot. It was a massive effort so I was pleased. We played a lot in eight days. Now we need to try to recover for Saturday. The team is growing up. We have the character of never giving up, which is so important.” (BBC Sport)
“I’m so pleased. The effort after what was our fourth game in nine days. I am so pleased with the effort, because to concede again an early goal, we cannot score. Their keeper was fantastic and again a lack of being clinical in front of goal. It was in the end the team fighting and making a fantastic effort. But in the end I think we found the reward and the team never gave up and showed big character and personality.”
“I’m so pleased with everything, not only the effort of the performance, I think how we played in the opposite half, trying to be patient and not taking rash decisions and not make a mistake, yes the team played well.” (football.london)
PSV Manager Mark van Bommel
“We fought like lions. After one minute we got a goal and we tried to defend it until the end. It’s a very difficult group. We played four games and three times we’ve been leading. Our fans were behind us for the entire match; they were the only ones I could hear singing. We got a standing ovation from them at the end, which I think says it all.” (BBC Sport)
Spurs v PSV Eindhoven Man of the Match
🙌 The best minutes to goal ratio in Champions League history. Harry Kane is lethal. pic.twitter.com/KmZwjpJAfq
— Sky Bet (@SkyBet) November 6, 2018
There were a few to pick from but, because of his goals, Harry Kane is our man of the match. As mentioned, he did not seem to be at his best for long periods of the game but showed his world class qualities by popping up when his team most needed him. Kane now has the best minutes to goal ratio in Champions League history of players that have appeared in ten or more games, with 13 goals in 14 matches!
Harry Winks once more excelled in central midfield whereas Lucas Moura was impressive before being substituted in the second half.
What’s Next for Spurs?
Spurs are back in action on Saturday against Crystal Palace in the last game before the November international break. Mauricio Pochettino’s side travel to Selhurst Park for the evening kick off, hoping that they can consolidate their place in the top four.
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