Hat-trick hero Moura writes name into Tottenham history


Lucas Moura’s Champions League semi-final hat-trick propelled Tottenham to their first ever final in the competition as the Brazilian’s impressive performances see his stock continues to rise.

After struggling for game time in a Paris Saint-Germain side managed by current Arsenal boss Unai Emery, Lucas Moura searched for new opportunities by moving to Tottenham in a cut-price deal in January 2018.

Moura made 11 appearances last season for the Lilywhites after arriving from the Parisians but only managed to find the net once, in a 2-2 draw against League One Rochdale in the FA Cup. Despite the lack of goals, the Brazilian often impressed the Spurs faithful, many being hopeful of an uptake in performances once a full pre-season of Mauricio Pochettino’s vigorous training regime was under his belt.

None, however, could have foreseen the 26-year-old’s performance which has spring boarded his Tottenham team to the Champions League final. Becoming L’Equipe’s tenth player ever to receive a perfect match rating, the tricky South American netted a hat-trick to send Pochettino’s Spurs to Madrid on June 1.

It isn’t the first time Moura has proved himself as a man for the big occasion. Strikes away from home against Manchester United and Liverpool in the Premier League as well as crucial Champions League goals against PSV, Barcelona and now Ajax have impressed many.

His ability in the air is exceptional despite his 5ft 7’ frame, his directness on the ball and his unwillingness to stop believing has endeared himself to the Tottenham crowd, although they are yet to invent a catchy chant for the Brazilian.

The former Sao Paulo player took his goals with such ease inside the Johan Cruyff Arena on Wednesday night, firstly coolly rolling his first past Andre Onana in the Ajax goal.

His second was so impressive. Profiting from a mix-up between Onana and Lasse Schöne, Moura pounced on the ball, deployed his superb footwork to somehow avoid the challenge of Frenkie de Jong before nutmegging the Barcelona-bound midfielder on route to finishing.

His two goals, seperated by a mere 202 seconds, rallied Tottenham and gave them a chance in the tie.

Then, with Ajax fans in bars counting down the seconds as the clock ticked to 95, he struck again. A flick on by Fernando Llorente was helped on further by Dele Alli who found Moura in between two enclosing Ajax defenders. With seemingly no pressure upon his stocky shoulders, his low shot beat Onana to send Tottenham players and fans jumping for joy and Ajax players sprawled out devastated.

So often the north London club called ‘bottlers’ for conceding late, this time the Lilywhites were jubilant as they head for the Spanish capital thanks to Moura’s last-gasp winner.

The Brazilian is time and time again proving his worth to his Argentinian manager and perhaps fulfilling the potential that Alex Ferguson saw in him when attempting to sign Moura for Manchester United back in 2013.

Ferguson described Moura, who was playing for Sao Paulo at the time in his homeland, as a “immensely talented right-winger” who eventually joined PSG in January 2013.

After three seasons in France and numerous accolades as PSG continued their domestic dominance, Moura arrived as an exciting player who hadn’t quite fulfilled his potential in Paris.

Now, after crucial goals threaten to propel the Brazilian to cult status in north London, Moura is rapidly becoming one of the Premier League’s most dangerous players. Tottenham’s fellow finalists Liverpool will be fully aware of his ability given Moura’s goal at Anfield in March but although despite his semi-final antics, his place in the starting eleven in Madrid is far from certain.

With Christian Eriksen, Heung-Min Son, Dele Alli and Moura competing for three of the four places behind Harry Kane, presuming England’s captain is fit for the final, it is likely one of Son or Moura miss out.

Whatever happens for him and his Tottenham teammates on June 1, Moura has undoubtedly proved his worth to his manager and the Spurs fans, the £25 million man perhaps finally showing the ability which labelled him one of the most exciting prospects in Brazil almost a decade ago.


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