Advertisement

Juve, Spurs play out classic

Juve, Spurs play out classic
From ESPN - February 13, 2018

TURIN, Italy -- Three thoughts on Juventus and Tottenham's 2-2 draw in the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 first leg.

1. Tottenham comeback stuns Juventus

Tottenham displayed resilience, fighting spirit and nerve to salvage a 2-2 draw against Juventus after going 2-0 down inside nine minutes. It was a night when Spurs were forced to answer big questions against genuine European heavyweights, but Mauricio Pochettino's team did not come up short.

Having looked as though they were heading for a potentially decisive first-leg defeat, Spurs fought back to overcome the experience of Juve and claim the draw that leaves next month's return game at Wembley perfectly poised.

There were obvious flaws in Tottenham's performance, particularly from a defensive perspective, but Pochettino's team also forced Juventus into uncharacteristic mistakes. The Serie champions went into this fixture having conceded just once in their last 15 games, and not at all in 2018, but Gianluigi Buffon was exposed twice, with both Tottenham goals down to the Italian legend's fading reflexes.

Big misses by Gonzalo Higuain following his two early goals left Juve vulnerable to Tottenham's comeback, which was built upon Harry Kane's first-half strike and a 71st-minute free kick by Christian Eriksen.

At 2-2, Spurs go into the second leg as slight favourites, but Juve could have Paulo Dybala back in contention after injury and last season's Champions League finalists also have the nous and experience to make it a very uncomfortable night for Pochettino's young side.

2. Mixed fortunes for Kane, Higuain in battle of the strikers

It was a tough night for Gonzalo Higuain and Harry Kane, despite both strikers netting crucial goals for their teams. That's because, rather than being a story of the goals they scored, this game was ultimately about the chances they missed.

Higuain, Juventus's 90m centre-forward, made a dream start by scoring a stunning second-minute volley before beating Hugo Lloris from the penalty spot seven minutes later. But the Argentina international has a reputation for missing big chances in big games and it proved to be the case once again as he twice failed to put Spurs out of the tie.

On 30 minutes, Higuain missed a golden chance to make it 3-0 after being given a clear shot on goal following a Juve counter-attack. And on the stroke of half-time, he smashed a second penalty against the crossbar after Serge Aurier had fouled Douglas Costa.

Advertisement

Continue reading at ESPN »