Moussa Sissoko

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Three things we learned from Spurs defeat of Man City

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It was always going to be a challenge for Pep Guardiola to outfox and Manchester City to outplay Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham Hotspur three times in just under two weeks.

After Tuesday’s first event, the opening leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal between the Premier League sides, Man City can only be thankful for one thing: That the stinker came first.

[ MORE: Match recap | Kane hurt ]

That’s one of the three things we pulled from Tuesday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Guardiola asleep at the wheel

Starting Riyad Mahrez over Leroy Sane and leaving Kevin De Bruyne on the bench for Ilkay Gundogan was probably designed to make Man City a bit safer, but instead left the side stale.

Even if you approve of the moves, Guardiola stubbornly refused to announce the failure of either — especially stunning given the poor night for Mahrez — by neither introducing KDB nor Sane until putting them both into the fray in the 89th minute.

On a lesser but deadly note, Guardiola had few options at left back due to injuries but Fabian Delph was carved up by Christian Eriksen and Heung-Min Son on the goal.

Now City may need to blank Spurs in the second leg to advance, and if they concede early in the second leg they will need to score at least three goals to advance. Pep is playing a precarious game.

Sissoko terrific on patrol

City had little going for it all night, and Guardiola’s lineup choices betrayed him almost as much as his hesitancy to substitute early in the 1-0 loss to Spurs.

Moussa Sissoko was again a monster for Tottenham Hotspur. The question for the former Newcastle United man may have always been about his desire to perform on a consistent basis, but he’s long been a man for the bright lights.

And Pochettino has gotten the best out of the French midfielder in recent weeks, the big man a force against a Man City midfield expected to thrive in possession.

Narrator voice: It didn’t.

Lloris keeps his head

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had a long time to mull on the idea of stopping a penalty, with Video Assistant Referee taking its sweet time to decide whether Danny Rose handled a ball inside the 18.

So did Sergio Aguero, and the Man City man didn’t get the most of his attempt from the spot but better marks go to the French goalkeeper.

Questioned at times this year, Lloris went in the right direction to stymy one of the Premier League’s greatest all-time scorers and he feels the incident gave his side a big boost even if he didn’t personally see the offense.

“I didn’t see it,” Lloris said. “It is part of the game. We have to accept that. We stayed in the game and it gave us even more energy.”

Bonus notes

Fernandinho is fortunate he didn’t throw the whole leg in the garbage with his three-times silly challenge on Harry Kane early which involved two elbows and a push to the back of the head.

— That pass from Eriksen that led to Son’s goal. Wow.

— The wait for the new stadium was worth it; Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was noticeably loud and exploded after the goal.

Lloris error pushes Liverpool past Spurs (video)

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  • 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 ]

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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 beat Burnley in stoppage time

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  • Spurs stay third
  • Eriksen, Dele, Kane team up for winner
  • Hart hard done by in loss
  • Burnley 17th

Christian Eriksen‘s stoppage time goal finally gave Tottenham Hotspur an avenue past Joe Hart, as Spurs beat Burnley 1-0 on Saturday at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham’s 39 points are five behind leaders Man City, while Burnley’s 12 points have them 17th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs had most of the ball as expected, but needed 17 minutes to get a good chance through Lucas Moura.

Some delightful, creative play from Spurs saw Erik Lamela unable to convert a Moussa Sissoko set-up in the 31st minute thanks a Joe Hart intervention.

The hosts maintained control, but Ashley Barnes couldn’t properly reach a Phil Bardsley cross after Spurs backstop Hugo Lloris gave the ball away to Burnley.

Hart stopped a Lamela back post effort with fine low stop, as Burnley moved to within 15 minutes of getting a point at Wembley.

And substitute Heung-Min Son dragged a fine chance across goal but just wide of the far post in the 86th.

Dele Alli was inches from making it 1-0 on a Son cross, but got a reprieve when Eriksen scored in the first minute of stoppage time. Dele knocked the ball down for Kane, who slid the Dane on goal for his first of the season.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Spurs top Inter Milan with classy late goal

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  • Spurs stay alive
  • Eriksen smashes Sissoko-inspired goal
  • Inter packs it in

Christian Eriksen‘s late goal kept Spurs’ UEFA Champions League hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Inter Milan on Wednesday.

Spurs and Inter are now tied on seven points, six behind Barcelona.

Spurs hold the tiebreaker due to away goals in head-to-head games, but have to match or better Inter’s point total on the final day. Spurs are away to Barcelona, while Inter is home to PSV Eindhoven.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The match’s early stages were physical and foul-heavy, especially on Inter’s side, and Serge Aurier was especially lively on the right wing.

Erik Lamela nearly produced a highlight reel goal with a 20th minute arrow across goal that just missed the upper 90.

Harry Winks struck the cross bar with a curling shot in the 38th minute, as Inter seemed well-pleased to pack it into the 18.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Lucas Moura won a corner for Spurs early in the second half. Played short, Serge Aurier won another with his drive. Inter cleared the danger.

Heung-Min Son injected instant life into the Spurs attack, the substitute winning a corner kick with a dribble into the left side of the box.

Dele Alli side volleyed wide soon after, as Spurs continued their efforts to break the stubborn Inter back line. Jan Vertonghen had a back post headed bounced to the right of the near post following a long free kick from the left.

That’s when Spurs got a moment which could prove to be monumental. Moussa Sissoko drove through the right side of the Inter defense and played central to Dele at the spot, who turned and laid off to Eriksen for a bullet finish.

VAR at the World Cup cemented its place in our soccer brains

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Feel how you will about Video Assistant Referee, but this summer’s World Cup changed how we feel when we watch club soccer.

That’s not a slight or a compliment to the tournament, which was in fact quite amazing, but rather a deep dive into that word: Feel.

V-A-R, you guys.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

While review wasn’t perfect at the World Cup in Russia — cough, Aleksandar Mitrovic versus Switzerland, cough — it cut down on red cards and was a part of the most exciting tournament in some time (perhaps ever).

And on opening weekend in the Premier League it was hard to not find yourself, for better or worse, thinking that the lack of video review played a role in some clubs earning and losing valuable points (They’re worth the same in August as they are in April, you know?).

Consider:

— Saints forward Danny Ings nearly earned a winning debut on his homecoming, only for the should-be penalty call to not arrive at St. Mary’s.

Mamadou Sakho takes down Fulham’s Andre Schurrle in the box, no PK, with Crystal Palace leading 1-0 en route to a 2-0 win over the Cottagers.

Moussa Sissoko stepping on the leg of Kenedy before halftime of Spurs’ 2-1 win at Newcastle (in front of referee Martin Atkinson for what it’s worth).

This wasn’t an unusual weekend for controversial plays at all, and certainly soccer has survived and thrived for years with plenty of human error.

But after a World Cup with an unusually low number of red cards — presumably because players knew there was an eye in the sky — and high amount of correctly awarded penalties, it’s going to take some time to get used to human error again.

That’s fine. Again, we’ve done it this way for years and can continue to do so for a long, long time. But it’s going to be interesting to see if we ever feel like the genie is back in the bottle.