Dele Alli put in a Man of the Match performance, scoring a brace, and Christian Eriksen scored Spurs’ third, before the obligatory Cristiano Ronaldo goal to leave Tottenham nervy with 10 minutes left.
Dele Alli and Sublime Tottenham Hotspur sink Real Madrid
Despite all their recent troubles, Real Madrid still came to Wembley as slight favourites against Tottenham Hotspur. People were expecting a backlash after their surprise defeat at the weekend to Girona, but Madrid looked slack, bar a couple of moments in the first half.
There was a quick lull around Wembley as Toby Alderweireld limped off after pulling up with a hamstring injury. Alderweireld came off and was replaced Moussa Sissoko with Eric Dier dropping into a back three. The fact that he hurt his hamstring sprinting in the opposition box highlighted Spurs’ dominance.
Lost Cause Leads to a Dele-cious Goal
The clock ticked past 27 minutes and a through ball seemingly was going out for a goal kick, covered by Madrid’s central defender Nacho. However, Harry Kane refused to give up and chased it down to earn a throw-in, thanks to some lax defending from the Real defender, a real indication of the first half. A quick throw-in led to a cross-field ball and a wonderful cross from Kieran Trippier saw Dele Alli stretch furthest and poke into the bottom corner.
The first half smacked of complacency for Real Madrid, which begs the question of whether they have lost all motivation or just do not want to play for the manager anymore.
A switch of Formation from Madrid – Man to Man.
At half-time, Zinedine Zidane decided to match Spurs man for man and moved Casemiro into a back three. Spurs still came out flying and a couple of better touches from Sissoko may have seen a second goal on early on.
The strength of Spurs Bench a sign of the times.
When the line-ups were first released, people were not exaggerating when they said, on paper, that Spurs’ bench was better than Madrid’s. Wherever Spurs could make a sub, it would not necessarily make them weaker, even though you could make a case for Fernando Llorente weakening them when replacing Kane. The fact that Tottenham was able to rest Kane for the last 15 minutes at 3-0 shows the strength in depth that Mauricio Pochettino has built.
Kane and Vertonghen
Arguably, in many people’s opinions, Harry Kane and Jan Vertonghen are the best players in their respective positions in Europe, and possibly the world. Kane returning from an injury was solid but still showed flashes of brilliance whilst Vertonghen is a contender for Man of the Match in every single game he plays, even in an excellent 3-1 attacking display.
Ultimately, Tottenham Hotspur beat the reigning European Champions, and have qualified for the last 16. Finally, the Wembley hoodoo for Tottenham seems to be well and truly over.
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