Son puts Spurs in the box seat, Aguero left to rue missed penalty


Tottenham Hotspur gave themselves a slight advantage in their Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City. Heung-min Son bagged the only goal of the game on a night when Sergio Aguero saw his penalty saved and Spurs saw Harry Kane limp off with what could be a serious ankle injury.

Spurs fostered the first half chance of the game when a swift attack ended in a 20-yard volley from Dele Alli who hammered his effort well over the crossbar.

The half threatened to be defined by an officiating decision when referee Bjorn Kuipers signalled for VAR after Danny Rose had blocked an effort from Raheem Sterling. After a moment of deliberation the Dutch ref pointed to the spot much to the bemusement of all in white.

Hugo Lloris beat away Aguero’s weak penalty to keep the contest level and send the packed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium into frenzy.

The half passed with an air of caution. City, usually the aggressors, were content to sit back and allow the hosts possession.

Harry Kane found himself free in the visiting box and forced a smart save from Ederson with 23 minutes on the clock. City’s defence fell asleep, assuming the whistle would be blown for a foul on Alli after he tricked his way past Kyle Walker and were lucky to not be punished for their uncharacteristic lapse.

The hosts ended the half with the wind in their sails and forcing more out-of-character mistakes from Pep Guardiola’s side. Walker surrendered a needless corner and Sterling gave away a dangerous free-kick when blocking Son.

Spurs asserted themselves further at the start of the second half when Son twice tested Ederson’s concentration. First the South Korean curled an effort just past the post, but it was close enough to have City’s Brazilian goalkeeper scrambling to cover it. Next the home side robbed the visitors of possession in midfield and charged on goal with Son letting fly once more. Ederson dealt with his second effort more comfortably.

With 55 minutes played came the moment which may alter the complexion of the final part of the season for Mauricio Pochettino. Kane and stand-in left-back Fabian Delph contested a 50-50 ball and the former came away from the challenge shaking his head and hopping to the bench. Even the Tottenham manager felt compelled to give the City defender an ear full following to robust collision and Kane was substituted shortly after.

Kane limped off in the second half | Photo: REUTERS.

Some 13 minutes later the pair exchanged further verbal barbs. The Argentine manager was clearly irked he may now be without his star striker for the final run-in of the season.

Yet in his absence came a familiar saviour.

with 13 minutes of normal time left Christian Eriksen clipped a delightful ball to Son on the right of the penalty box. The Korean’s first touch looked heavy and to have killed the chance but he rescued the ball before it went out of play and jinked past Delph before firing a low shot under the body of Ederson.

City protested but a quick VAR check would confirm their falling behind and Son’s 18th goal of the season.

Moments later he blasted over from 20 yards, but was clearly enjoying himself going up against Delph.

Spurs’ night would take a couple more sour turns, however. First Alli was substituted and seemed to be in some discomfort and favouring his right arm as he was withdrawn. Shortly after a pitch invader had to be detained. Thankfully that was handled with minimal fuss.

Guardiola’s last away win in the last eight or semi-finals of the competition came in 2011. He must rouse his troops once more to overturn the deficit.


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