BY MARC MOSS
My friend Ahmed Nashaat is a long time Spurs supporter and since I met him back in primary school I have followed the team as well, thanks to his influence. Tottenham Hotspur have been fighting hard for the last 5 years to maintain a Champions League position in the league, something made difficult given their limited finances. The idea of winning this tournament was never something which Spurs fans envisioned but somehow they will be lining up in the Champions League final in Madrid to take on Liverpool, and here is how they managed to get there.
Things looked grim for Pochettino’s men after the first three games of the group stages having gained just 1 point. Spurs had PSV up next and they managed to win the game with 2 goals from Harry Kane in the last 10 minutes to keep the dream alive. Spurs would face Inter Milan next in a must-win game and thanks to an 80th minute strike from Christian Eriksen they were able to keep the dream alive. Finally Spurs faced Barcelona in the Nou Camp in a game where Barca rested some key players, including Messi. Spurs had to beat Barcelona to go through as it was expected that Inter would beat PSV, who were now out. As things worked out Inter were drawing with PSV going into the last 5 minutes yet Spurs were losing 1-0. In the 85th minute Lucas drilled home from close range, Inter drew and Spurs advanced.
There were concerns that Spurs would get rolled over by a lively and well organized Dortmund team but it wasn’t to be the case. Tottenham convincing beat Dortmund 3-0 in the first leg at home, and then completed the win with a 0-1 away win to advance to the quarter finals.
The worst draw Spurs could’ve hoped for was Man City yet fears were played to rest after a well organized 1-0 win at home for Spurs, including an important penalty save from Lloris to deny Aguero. The second game will be remembered for a long time to come, a game which saw five goals in the first 40 minutes, and a game where City were 4-2 up with minutes to play. Fernando Llorente scored to tie the game on aggregate, seeing Spurs go through on away goals. A 95th minute winner from Sterling was then ruled out thanks to VAR, and somehow Spurs marched on.
Outplayed in the first leg at home Spurs had it all to do going to Amsterdam for the second leg, which seemed highly unlikely after Ajax scored two first half goals to go 3-0 in the tie. Lucas scored two quick goals in the second half, just 205 seconds apart to set up an exciting finale. Ajax’s youth and inexperience showed as Spurs put the pressure on and on the stroke of the 95th minute Lucas broke Dutch hearts by scoring the winner.
The stars have truly aligned for Spurs this year, can they make it just one more game?