Yesterday, Tottenham ventured to Turin, Italy to take on Juventus. Juventus was up 1-0 faster than I typed these two sentences. I’m not sure whats sadder, that it took me that long to write the sentences or Tottenham’s defense in the first 10 minutes of the game. Boom. Roasted.
Anyway, in the 2nd minute, Gonzalo Higuain was allowed to roam free on a free kick and struck a potential early dagger in the Spurs heart. If that dagger wasn’t deep enough Higuain twisted the knife a little. He converted a penalty kick after Ben Davies whiffed on a clearance and instead fouled Federico Bernardeschi in the box.
At this point, Tottenham could have folded up and died. They didn’t on this night. They went on to dominate all aspects of this game. It felt like Tottenham had 80% of possession the rest of the game. Juve could not string together any passes. Once they had the ball they would turn it over. Tottenham’s high press eventually paid off in the 35th minute. Who else but Harry Kane. Dele Alli fed Kane a pass that got him behind the defense, from there Kane danced around All World goaltender Gigi Buffon to bring the Spurs within one. It was a beautiful effort from Kane and questionable effort from Buffon. Age catching up to him? I am sure that’s what everyone is going to ask after this game. I am classier than that and won’t ask.
Tottenham with all the momentum, naturally something had to derail it. A mere minutes after Kanes goal, Serge Aurier thought it be a good time to make a senseless tackle in the penalty area. The referee awarded a penalty kick and up stepped Higuain on a hat trick to put the game away. The soccer gods were looking down on the Spurs because Higuain hit the cross bar and did not fool Spurs goalie Hugo Loris. The half ended with Tottenham down 2-1. No way the Spurs could keep dominating.
Wrong. They came out and controlled the game some more. Juve did get a golden chance in the 58th minute when Mario Mandzukic came clean off a corner kick and headed a ball towards the net. Loris was well positioned and able to save the chance. From there, the Spurs maintained possession and kept Juve at bay. In the 70th minute, Dele Alli drew a free kick after a foul from Giorgio Chiellini. The free kick from right outside the penalty spot was struck by Kevin De Bruyne light, Christian Erikson. He kicked it under the wall and Gigi Buffon was baffled, taking a first step the wrong way. This leveled the game 2-2.
In the last 20 minutes, Juventus had a couple of good chances. One in particular where Hugo Loris was able to save a deflected ball off of Eric Dier. The game would end in a draw. A victory for Tottenham? Kinda.
Juve couldn’t get much of anything going. For a team that hadn’t given up a goal since New Years Day, the Italian side really looked vulnerable. Tottenham’s never ending high press really hamstrung Juventus. Up 2-0 it looked like a forgone conclusion considering their defensive style, but Tottenham got a much needed 2 road goals. These two teams will face off on March 7th for the right to move on to the next round. Can Tottenham actually defeat the Italian giants? They are in the drivers seat.