Spurs' impressive comeback cancels out nightmare start against Juventus

Tottenham recovered from an early setback to claim an impressive 2-2 draw against Juventus.

Spurs' impressive comeback cancels out nightmare start against Juventus

Juventus 2 Tottenham 2

Christian Eriksen completed a remarkable Tottenham comeback as they rallied from two down to draw with Juventus in the Champions League last 16.

Spurs will take two precious away goals into the second leg at Wembley next month after Harry Kane's clinical finish and a clever free-kick from the superb Eriksen ensured a fascinating contest finished 2-2 in Turin.

Mauricio Pochettino's men were on the brink after Gonzalo Higuain put Juventus two up within nine minutes, the second a penalty after Ben Davies fouled Federico Bernardeschi.

But Kane pulled one back, only Juve's second goal conceded in 17 games, before Higuain missed a second penalty, in what could prove a decisive moment in this tie.

Juve surrendered all momentum after their blistering start and Spurs will now be targeting a first Champions League quarter-final since 2011.

But whether it was nerves or a lack of concentration, Spurs made a nightmare start. It began with Jan Vertonghen's skewed clearance causing momentary panic and the otherwise excellent Mousa Dembele responded by crashing into Miralem Pjanic.

What followed was the combination of a brilliantly executed free-kick and sloppy marking as Pjanic lofted the ball down the blind side of the wall where Higuain peeled away, before volleying first time past Hugo Lloris.

There was worse to come as an innocuous-looking pass was delivered towards Bernardeschi in the box and instead of standing his man up, Davies tried to win the ball but succeeded only in kicking his opponent.

Referee Felix Brych pointed to the spot, Higuain converted and Tottenham were two down within nine minutes.

Perhaps Juventus felt their work was done because almost instantly they retreated, dropping deep like the away side and allowing Spurs to dictate the contest.

Kane optimistically claimed for a penalty after going down under pressure from Medhi Benatia and then should have scored, but headed straight at Gianluigi Buffon from five yards.

The tie could have been over had Juve made the most of one scintillating counter-attack but Higuain, having expertly worked the space with a dummy, fired just wide of Lloris' post.

Moments earlier, however, Dele Alli had only been denied by a last-ditch Bernardeschi challenge and Tottenham's dominance finally paid off when the midfielder slipped Kane in behind. Kane coolly rounded Buffon and slotted in for his seventh goal of the tournament.

With Eriksen now running the game, the visitors fancied a second but such was the topsy-turvy nature of the half they also could have been dead and buried at the interval.

Another moment of madness saw Serge Aurier scythe down Douglas Costa in the box but this time Higuain, on a hat-trick, slammed his penalty against the crossbar. It was the last action of a breathless 45 minutes.

After the break, the game was more evenly split as Juve abandoned their rearguard action and met Tottenham higher up the pitch.

Bernardeschi's shot was tipped wide by Lloris but as the clock drifted past the hour, both teams seemed wary of pushing forward for fear of being opened up at the back.

So it was almost inevitable that any goal would come from a set-piece. Alli won the free-kick centrally on the edge of the area after drawing the foul from Giorgio Chiellini and Eriksen drilled it low and into the bottom corner. Buffon might have been disappointed not to push it round the post.

That knocked the stuffing out of Juventus as January signing Lucas Moura came on to make his Tottenham debut off the bench. It was Pochettino smiling and the travelling fans singing at the final whistle.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox