Tottenham peg back Norwich amid VAR drama

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Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur played out a wild 2-2 draw at Carrow Road on Saturday, as VAR drama, own goals, penalty kicks and general madness took center stage.

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Mario Vranic gave Norwich the lead before VAR drama denied Teemu Pukki a second and then Christian Eriksen made it 1-1. Serge Aurier‘s own goal put Norwich back in front but Harry Kane‘s late penalty set up a wild finish, but Spurs couldn’t complete the comeback.

With the point, Norwich sit bottom on 13 points and Tottenham are in fifth on 30 points, two points off the top four.


3 things we learned

1. Norwich unluckiest team in PL: Yep, it’s official, Norwich are the unluckiest team in the Premier League. Week after week Daniel Farke‘s side pour their heart out and VAR calls go against them, they cough up leads, deflections don’t go their way and they are generally unlucky. They sit bottom of the table with the smallest budget in the league, so perhaps no surprise there, but Norwich deserve to be further up the the table.

2. 3-5-2 not the way forward for Spurs: Mourinho changed it up at half time as Spurs were struggling to keep the ball and couldn’t get out of their own half in a 3-5-2 formation. Tottenham aren’t great defensively and they’ve conceded 12 goals in Mourinho’s first eight PL games in charge, so they might as well play a 4-2-3-1 formation and be an attack-minded team.

3. Kane’s quality shines through: He won the penalty kick and drove Spurs on, and without Kane Spurs would be nowhere near the top four. Kane has scored four goals in his last five games but aside from that his leadership has dragged Spurs back into the top four hunt.

Man of the Match: Teemu Pukki – Didn’t stop running, had a goal chalked off and bullied the Spurs defense into conceding a second goal. Pukki didn’t score, but he is the main reason Norwich got something out of this game.


Norwich started well as Stiepermann forced Paulo Gazzaniga into a fine stop down low.

At the other end Spurs were dangerous on the break as Kane set up Alli but he blazed over the bar and then Kane himself was clean through but Tim Krul saved well as he stood tall.

Ryan Sessegnon had a shot blocked well but then Norwich hit Tottenham with a sucker-punch.

Vrancic surged into the box and slotted home after a superb tackle Emiliano Buendia, as Norwich took a shock lead.

It looked as though the Canaries had doubled their lead as Pukki raced and clear and sent a trademark finish into the far corner, but VAR intervened and the Finnish striker was judged to be offside by half a shoulder as it remained 1-0.

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At half time Mourinho brought on Davinson Sanchez and Lucas Moura for Jan Vertonghen and Juan Foyth as Spurs went to a back four and ditched their 3-5-2 system.

A moment of huge controversy arrived early in the second half as Jamal Lewis was adjudged to have handled as the last man right on the edge of the box and only a yellow card was given.

But from the resulting free kick Eriksen’s deflected free kick flew in to make it 1-1 as Spurs were rampant in the second half.

Alli then hooked home from a tight angle but he was clearly offside and just when it looked like Spurs would surge towards victory, Serge gave Norwich the lead…

With Pukki in on goal, Toby Alderweireld cleared and the ball hit Aurier and went into his own net to make it 2-1 as Tottenham’s players, coaching staff and fans held their heads in disbelief.

Spurs did draw level though, as Kane was set free on the break and he won a penalty kick by cutting inside as Christoph Zimmermann brought him down. Kane slotted home the penalty kick to make it 2-2 and then sub Erik Lamela tested Krul from distance with a powerful effort.

In the end Spurs couldn’t break through as Norwich held on for a point in their battle against the drop.

Champions League preview: Spurs host Leipzig, Valencia visits Atalanta

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Two more UEFA Champions League Round of 16 ties kickoff Wednesday, including one being labeled as the biggest in a club’s existence.

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That would be Serie A side Atalanta, which hosts Valencia at 3 p.m. at Gewiss Stadium.

Atalanta had played in two consecutive Europa Leagues, but this is their first move into the Champions League. To make the knockout rounds is exceptional, and club president Antonio Percassi is fired up.

“We must be honest, this is the most important game in the history of this club,” Percassi told Sky Sport Italia. “It doesn’t seem real. It’s exciting just thinking that tomorrow we’ll be in a Champions League Round of 16. It’s wonderful for our fans too. … This is going to be a unique experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.”

Atalanta finished second in its group to Manchester City, and is fourth in Serie A. Valencia won its group.

There’s a Premier League side in action on Wednesday, too, as Spurs begin life without Heung-Min Son.

Jose Mourinho spun a tale about how badly Tottenham will need its fans against RB Leipzig, comparing the home-field advantage to an emergency rescue crew of sorts.

Leipzig is led by Julian Nagelsmann, who was once referred to as “Baby Mourinho” by his players.

The 32-year-old was quick to distance himself from the story.

“Tomorrow it is Leipzig against Tottenham, not Mourinho v. Baby Mourinho,” he said. “I have great respect for Mourinho. He has won lots of titles with big clubs, the Champions League twice. He has made his mark on European football at some big European clubs. I think it his 59th knockout game in the CL and it is my first so there is obviously respect there.”

Liverpool’s Robertson not a fan of Atletico Madrid theatrics

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Liverpool fullback Andy Robertson was not impressed with Atletico Madrid’s display as his side fell 1-0 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

The Reds fell behind on a fourth-minute Saul Niguez goal and couldn’t get a shot on target despite 73 percent possession in Spain.

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Atleti executed its plan to near-perfection, slowing restarts and taking advantage of counterattacking opportunities to assuage the constant pressure of Liverpool.

At times it was reminiscent of early-century Italian national team play, and both neutrals and Liverpool knew what they were in for once Atleti took the lead.

“We gave them the best possible start to get the fans behind them and then they can start falling over and things like that, trying to get under our skin a bit which I think we handled quite well to be honest,” Robertson told BT Sport. “We know we are better than (how they played). We put in a decent performance and we can be better than that. Luckily we have got a second leg to put it right.”

Given the performance and the reputation, you’d still fancy the Reds to “put it right” at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp thinks Atleti will feel plenty of pressure at Anfield, and he will certainly feel the officiating will be more to his liking.

Liverpool’s Klopp: ‘Our people will be ready’ for second leg at Anfield

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Jurgen Klopp didn’t have any issue with Diego Simeone’s defense-first Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

The Spanish side flummoxed Liverpool’s attack and the Reds didn’t manage a shot on target despite eight attempts and 73 percent possession at the Wanda Metropolitano.

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What Klopp didn’t appreciate was the referee’s work, though, implying that Polish official Szymon Marciniak was overwhelmed by the occasion. Marciniak has worked UCL matches for six seasons, twice overseeing quarterfinal ties.

Klopp was shown a yellow card in the second half, and the Liverpool boss felt Sadio Mane was harassed by Atleti. Klopp removed yellow-carrying Mane at halftime.

“He was targeted obviously,” Klopp said after the game. “The only thing they wanted was to make sure he got a yellow card. The score is 1-0, that’s all but you need to be really strong as a ref in this atmosphere. So many things happened, after 30 minutes already three players were on the ground. The first yellow card was a striker from us. I’m not sure they even got a yellow card, which is funny.”

Atleti’s Angel Correa was shown a yellow, while Klopp, Mane, and Joe Gomez were cautioned for Liverpool.

The Liverpool boss found himself laughing a few times, especially when he was asked about Simeone’s touchline personality.

Klopp said before the game that if the German was a four in intensity, then Simeone was a 12. Simeone followed suit by constantly urging the crowd to get behind the home side on Tuesday.

That didn’t bother Klopp, but he issued a public relations officer’s dream in reacting to it.

“Wow, wow,” he laughed. “That’s energy. I don’t think I have to do it that much (at Anfield). Our people will be ready. Welcome to Anfield. It’s not over yet.”

Klopp finished his remarks by saying of Jordan Henderson‘s removal from the game with a hamstring injury, “I hope it was a precaution, but I’m not 100 percent sure”

Haaland wins first leg after Borussia Dortmund-PSG comes to life late

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Erling Haaland scored twice in a mid-second half flurry as Borussia Dortmund beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

The hosts also got an assist from teenager Giovanni Reyna, who became the youngest American to appear in a Champions League match.

Haaland now has 39 goals in 29 appearances between Red Bull Salzburg and BVB, 11 of those for his new German employer.

Neymar scored off a Kylian Mbappe goal for PSG, who brings an away goal back to the Parc des Princes for a March 11 second leg.

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Neymar had an early free kick, missing just wide of the far post.

Jadon Sancho troubled the keeper twice in the first half hour, first with a cross that Mats Hummels headed over goal. Then, Keylor Navas picked another Sancho offering out of the air.

Sancho kept serving, and Erling Haaland couldn’t turn a promising cross on target.

Dortmund walked into halftime with a scoreless match but a 7-2 edge in shot attempts. Neither of PSG’s shots were on target.

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Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre put in American teen Giovani Reyna in the 67th minute.

Two minutes later, it was 1-0 to the hosts through Haaland’s close-range goal.

Neymar replied from close range himself after a powerful, clever dribble from Kylian Mbappe led to a pass through the box.

But Haaland got his second in the 77th minute with a scorching shot that serves as the first senior assist of Reyna’s senior career with Dortmund (Watch it here).