All of it got here crashing down in two minutes and 50 seconds. Two minutes and 50 seconds that ran counter to every thing else three hours of soccer between Tottenham and Juventus had informed us. Two minutes and 50 seconds that determined a gripping Champions League spherical of 16 tie. Two minutes and 50 seconds that would be the supply of 1000’s of London nightmares.
In two minutes and 50 seconds Wednesday evening at Wembley, objectives from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala turned Juventus’ 3-2 combination deficit right into a 4-3 lead, and took the Outdated Woman by way of to the quarterfinals. They have been gorgeous and memorable and gut-wrenching all on the similar time.
Tottenham had been cruising, forward on the evening and over the 2 legs on Son Heung-Min’s first-half purpose. Hugo Lloris hadn’t had a save to make all evening. Within the first half, Spurs had accomplished 54 of their 77 attacking-third passes; Juventus had accomplished simply 11 of its 27.
However Higuain popped as much as seize Juve a lifeline within the sixty fourth minute:
Spurs have been nonetheless forward on away objectives, however nicely conscious they have been in for a nerve-wracking 26 minutes.
Earlier than followers may even start to gnaw on fingernails, although, Tottenham’s protection fell asleep once more. Higuain performed Dybala in alone, and the Argentine playmaker beat Lloris with ease:
Spurs pushed and pressed for an equalizer that may have despatched the sport to further time, nevertheless it merely wouldn’t come. Harry Kane – who had rounded Gianluigi Buffon within the first half solely to seek out the aspect of the online – hit the submit with a header within the waning minutes. Juve defenders and midfielders threw any and all physique elements in entrance of photographs. Giorgio Chiellini was immense. And Dybala’s purpose held up because the winner.
In a approach, then, the tie ended because it started, with coinciding flurries, of sophistication from one aspect and of sloppiness from the opposite.
In between, there had been little doubt which aspect was superior. And had superiority been sufficient for victory, it will have stood as an emblem of Spurs’ rise. The Premier League may have boasted as nicely, its sixth-richest membership bossing Italy’s most historic, worthwhile and profitable. Its sixth-richest membership scoring three objectives over 180 minutes whereas Juventus’ final 17 Italian opponents had solely managed one over 1,530 minutes.
However Spurs had gone down 2-0 within the opening 10 minutes of the primary leg, and wanted a Herculean effort to take an advantageous 2-2 scoreline again house. That they had stayed on high within the second leg, and all indicators pointed to development to the quarterfinals.
However a takedown of final 12 months’s Champions League finalists required 180 minutes, not 170. It required technical and tactical high quality, which Tottenham had, but additionally unbending focus, which it didn’t.
Juventus supervisor Max Allegri modified the sport with a second-half tweak, throwing on two wing-backs, and throwing Spurs out of whack. Allegri’s Argentine forwards then pounced on Tottenham’s lapses. And identical to that, the sport and the tie had been flipped on their heads. Similar to that, a European marketing campaign on its approach towards the Spurs historical past books fizzled out, abandoning solely rueful ideas of what might need been.
Different Champions League outcomes
Manchester Metropolis misplaced at house for the primary time in over a 12 months, 2-1 to Basel, however cruised by way of to the quarterfinals, 5-2 on combination.
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Henry Bushnell covers international soccer, and sometimes different ball video games, for Yahoo Sports activities. Have a tip? Query? Remark? Electronic mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or comply with him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.