lucas moura

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Tearful Pochettino hails Spurs ‘heroes’ after another UCL comeback

Leave a comment

By any conservative estimation, Tottenham Hotspur have been “almost out” of this season’s UEFA Champions League on three occasions… if not more.

[ MORE: Spurs pull off second amazing UCL comeback in two days ]

There was the disastrous start to the group stage which saw them take just one point from their first three games; they needed a result away to Barcelona and for Inter Milan to slip up against PSV Eindhoven on the final day of the group stage just to reach the knockout rounds. They cruised past Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16. They came from behind twice and dodged a stoppage-time bullet to beat Manchester City in the quarterfinals.

Then, on Wednesday, down 3-0 with 45 minutes left to play in Amsterdam, Mauricio Pochettino’s “heroes” did it again.

By the time he reached the first of his players to celebrate after sound of the final whistle rang out, Pochettino was already in tears. He would remain that way, off and on, for at least the next 20 minutes, including when he began the gauntlet of post-game interviews.

Pochettino searched for the right words to convey his joy, his shock and his appreciation for everyone and everything tangentially connected to Tottenham’s improbable run to the June 1 final in Madrid. (WATCH HERE)

“It’s still difficult to talk. The emotion is amazing, thank you to football. My players are heroes — in the last year I was telling everyone this group are heroes. The second half, they were amazing. Thank you, football — this type of emotion without football is not possible. Thank you to everyone who has believed in us. To describe this in words is difficult.

“We were talking before the game that when you work and when you feel the love, it’s not stress, it’s passion of the team. We showed we love the sport and football. Today was amazing. It was a joy to watch this kind of game.

“It’s difficult to compete at this level. I am so grateful to be a coach. To be in football and to live this type of football.

“They are all heroes, but [Lucas Moura] was a superhero. From the first to last one — the tough moment to live in [the last five years of his career].”

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images )

As for Moura, who scored the heroic second-half hat trick to send Spurs through to the first European final in club history, Christian Eriksen has an idea.

“Today it was non-tactical, more of a fight and a heart performance. Lucas Moura, he’s how we won the game, he deserves it, rollercoaster of a season. For him to get us in the final, I hope he gets a statue in England after this, we are blown away, no real words for it, I feel sorry for Ajax.”

“It was a ridiculous game, we were really far down, we tried to fight back, we were just lucky. I feel sorry for Ajax, they played a very good game against us. Today we mostly created more chances; football, they played better. It is relief, we have been fighting for this, it is a dream to be in the final.

“We felt like we weren’t able to look ourselves in the mirror if we were to go down three or four nil. We had to fight, we scored early to get some momentum, put them under pressure. We are lucky the ball falls in the right direction, Lucas had a wonderful game. We are relieved.”

Man City, Spurs combine for five goals in first 21 minutes (video)

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur quintupled the goal output from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal.

That in itself was the sign of a good match, but the fact that the first four goals occurred within 11 minutes of kickoff made for pure insanity before the match was one-quarter of the way to its conclusion.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It didn’t take long for City to level the tie, a third minute pass from Kevin De Bruyne finding Sterling. The English winger cut inside as Kieran Trippier gave him room to fire a shot just inside the far post and into the side netting.

Son then demanded City score at least twice with an eighth minute marker to make it 2-1 on aggregate when Aymeric Laporte‘s poor intervention fell to the South Korean. Ederson got the a piece of it, but not enough to stop the ball from heading into the goal.

Then, again! Lucas Moura played Son into the left of the box, and Son curled one side netting to put City in an awful place after less than 10 minutes.

City was unbowed, a long pass finding Bernardo Silva in line for an 11th minute goal to make it 2-2 on the day and 3-2 to Spurs over two legs.

But wait, there’s more: Sterling finished from an acute angle — really, though, it was a tougher task than we’ve made it sound — after De Bruyne swung a delightful cross over the fray.

Stars and duds from Liverpool-Tottenham Hotspur

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
1 Comment

There are many talking points from Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Sunday.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

This was a match rife with mistakes and squandered chances, and there was not a man who was perfect.

Andy Robertson was very, very good, but a part of the Spurs equalizer. Danny Rose was a Spurs star, but flubbed a late bid to send in a beautiful cross.

Stars

Andy Robertson — The Liverpool left back not only served up an assist while habitually cooking Kieran Trippier, he blocked a seemingly surefire Christian Eriksen equalizer.

Roberto Firmino — This was about so much more than the opening goal — though what a header! — as the Brazilian striker served as a calm playmaker and a bully on the ball.

Georginio Wijnaldum The least celebrated of a safe midfield, Wijnaldum was the best of the bunch and went 90 minutes in the win

Danny Rose — Has been in fine form for club and country, and was a big part of several promising moves coming from Spurs’ left side. Almost was removed from this list for a horrid 87th minute blunder on a scoring chance, but was just too important over the first 87.

Christian Eriksen — Inventive and undeterred, his spinning assist was a just reward for his day’s work.

Lucas Moura — Struggled for much of the first half, but scored the equalizer and took a very smart tactical yellow with Salah on the break in the 79th minute.

Duds

Hugo Lloris — The match-deciding goal is entirely on him, even if it ends up going over the line via an otherwise steady Toby Alderweireld.

Kieran Trippier — As noted in the Robertson blurb, Trippier was very poor on the flank. His quick pass on the equalizer helped, but

Alisson Becker — A fine parry in the second half, but mostly looked out-of-sorts in a big spot.

Moussa Sissoko — Here for one reason: Sprung for a 2v1 with Heung-Min Son, he dribbled toward the defender until a pass was impossible before blazing an effort nowhere near the goal. Son could’ve helped by running away from goal, but my goodness.

Harry KaneThis was going to be “Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah,” but it felt like kicking a dead horse to put Salah here for struggling when he, along with Lloris, produced Alderweireld’s own goal. Kane was largely absent for a star striker, and working hard doesn’t get you the plaudits when you’re a Golden Boot chaser. So maybe Mohamed Salah should be here, too, having scored just once in nine matches.

Lloris error pushes Liverpool past Spurs (video)

Leave a comment
  • Firmino puts Reds ahead
  • Robertson stars at left back
  • Moura provides equalizer off quick restart
  • Salah forces late Spurs own goal

Pickford/Origi. Now Lloris/Salah. You need a little good fortune to win a title fight.

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris‘ late mistake and myriad missed chances doomed Tottenham Hotspur and kept Liverpool’s title hopes in order as the Reds won 2-1 at Anfield on Sunday.

Lloris couldn’t hold onto a Mohamed Salah shot and Toby Alderweireld unwittingly put it in the goal.

Lucas Moura‘s second half goal answered Roberto Firmino‘s tally, but Spurs had several big missed chances before Salah prodded the o.g.

Liverpool keeps its two-point advantage on Manchester City, the latter having played one less game, while Spurs remain on 61 points. Tottenham is level with fourth place Manchester United.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

High speed was the name of the game, and a Harry Kane flick and Christian Eriksen pass forced Virgil Van Dijk to concede a corner with a fine sliding intervention.

Lucas Moura took an extra touch in the 11th minute as Spurs wasted a chance to test Alisson Becker, who had a shaky first minute.

Liverpool’s first chance came in the 16th, and the Reds punished Spurs through Firmino’s header of a terrific Andy Robertson cross.

Trent Alexander-Arnold swung an effort at goal two minutes later, but it went wide of the frame.

Dele Alli tore into a 33rd chance that just missed the frame, a rare moment of Spurs promise.

Mane curled a shot wide in the 37th as Liverpool reasserted control.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Spurs again controlled the early stages of a half when play resumed, but Liverpool stayed structured and stout at the back. Spurs were also a bit sloppy in the final third.

Alisson parried Kane into the path of Eriksen, whose shot was blocked by Robertson for a corner. Liverpool dealt with that, but quickly gave the ball back to Spurs.

Moura shook the game at the end of a quick restart, as Trippier and Eriksen both moved the ball square for the forward to blast back Alisson.

Alexander-Arnold just missed putting the Reds back in front in the 76th minute with a splendid swirling left-footed effort that Hugo Lloris tipped over the bar.

Moussa Sissoko then led a 2v1 break and dribbled toward Heung-Min Son and his marker before blasting over the goal. Dele Alli would curl a chip just wide of the upper 90 minutes later.

Then, this:

Spurs thrash Bournemouth in hot pursuit of top-two

Leave a comment
  • Spurs make it five straight PL wins
  • Eriksen, Son, Lucas have 1H party (Kane joins later)
  • KWP assists the first three
  • Cherries lose for seventh time in nine

The busy festive period is off to a flying start for Tottenham Hotspur, who followed up Sunday’s 6-2 thrashing of Everton with a 5-0 demolition job of Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

With Manchester City suddenly looking fallible, Tottenham have not only erased the gap between themselves and the defending Premier League champions, but moved one point clear into second place on Wednesday. Based on current form, Mauricio Pochettino‘s side might just be the greater threat to Liverpool’s six-point lead.

Christian Eriksen opened the scoring after 16 minutes, benefiting from a massive deflection on his shot from outside the penalty area. The Dane has now scored in three straight Premier League games, beginning with his stoppage-time winner against Burnley last week.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Son Heung-min made it 2-0 just seven minutes later. Kyle Walker-Peters announced himself onto the stage as well, notching his second of three assists on the day by sneaking around Charlie Daniels as the Bournemouth defender couldn’t corral the ball 18 yards from goal. Walker-Peters slid the ball to Son, who needed just one touch to set up his shot from outside the box and beat Asmir Begovic.

Spurs found a third goal before halftime, as Walker-Peters picked out a late-arriving run by Lucas Moura. Walker-Peters broke down the right side of the penalty area and cut the ball back toward the penalty spot and the Brazilian guided it home with ease.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

With the goals flowing furiously at Wembley Stadium, Harry Kane had to get in on the action and take his tally to 12 on the PL season. This one was of particularly high quality, as Eriksen’s ball floated over Kane’s shoulder and required the most precise of redirections to beat Begovic inside the far post. Predictably, Kane got it just right.

Son got his second in the 70th minute, as Spurs refused to give up after Begovic and Co., denied them three times. Eventually, the ball fell to Son with an open net five yards in front of him.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]