Juventus Knock Out Tottenham From UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur had captured the imagination of Premier League fans in the Champions League this season after topping a difficult group most would have predicted they would never have qualified from. Their unbeaten Champions League form also saw them beat Spanish giants, Real Madrid and from then on, in the imaginations of many, Tottenham became England’s dark horse.
Despite conceding two quick away goals in the first leg of this encounter, Tottenham were able to rally to an unlikely 2-2 draw and with the form of Harry Kane, it was easy to back Spurs to deliver the works at Wembley.
Perhaps Allegri was worried about losing the midfield battle ahead of the encounter and despite packing the midfield, Juventus looked laborious and creaky throughout the first half, hardly able to keep possession and creating scant little chances. It was enough for viewers to start to bemoan the average age of the Juve squad; with 40-year-old Buffon in goal and the 35-year-old Chiellini marshaling the defense, perhaps there was some sense in the moniker, The Old Lady.
If their slow buildup play was worrying, conceding a goal before half time proved even more so as Spurs harried Juve high up the pitch and looked more than a match for their Italian opposition. Paulo Dybala’s inclusion in the squad list might have provided optimism before kickoff but for almost an hour, the 24-year-old had little to go on as Juve held on to the game with the tips of their fingers.
Eventually, a mix of experience, effective substitutions by Allegri and that unquantifiable Champions League experience that can only be earned proved to be the difference. Substitute Lichsteiner provided a cross which Higuain would eventually steer in for the first goal; ensuring the Argentine contributed three goals across the two-leg tie.
Paulo Dybala, who had sent a precious chance begging earlier wasted no time in burying the second chance and putting Juve ahead. In a period of five minutes, the game had slipped away from Tottenham and the visiting team were happy to just see out the game.
It would be unfair to skip Tottenham’s stroke of ill-luck which saw Chiellini clear from the goal line just as the game was reaching its end.
In the end, more flak will be given to Tottenham than credit is given to Allegri for getting a result here and that is the nature of football but in the end, it is Juventus who advance to the Quarter final.