Belfast Telegraph

Tottenham’s rollercoaster ride to the Champions League final

Mauricio Pochettino’s side only just made it out of their group.

Tottenham booked their place in the Champions League final with an amazing late win at Ajax (Adam Davy/PA)
Tottenham booked their place in the Champions League final with an amazing late win at Ajax (Adam Davy/PA)

The last-gasp nature of Tottenham’s progress to the Champions League final was fitting considering the competition they have had.

Spurs, who beat Ajax with only seconds of the semi-final second leg remaining, have dealt in late drama throughout their campaign.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at their antics at the death.

Inter Milan (a) – September 18

The tone was set in their opening group game at the San Siro way back in September. Spurs were cruising towards victory over Inter Milan as they led through Christian Eriksen’s strike. However, a late collapse saw the Italian side score two goals through Mauro Icardi and Matias Vecino in the final five minutes to inflict an early defeat on Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

PSV (a) – October 24

Having also lost their second group game against Barcelona, Spurs could really have done with a win against PSV and it looked like they were going to get it after Lucas Moura and Harry Kane goals overturned Hirving Lozano’s early opener. But Hugo Lloris saw red and Spurs shipped an 87th-minute equaliser to Luuk de Jong to leave them with just one point at the halfway stage of the group.

PSV (h) – November 6

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Two goals in the last 12 minutes from Harry Kane kept Spurs in the Champions League (Adam Davy/PA)

For what would not be the last time, Tottenham were minutes from heading out of the competition as they laboured against the Dutch side in the reverse fixture at Wembley. They trailed to another Luuk de Jong goal and were on the brink of elimination until Harry Kane’s double in the final 12 minutes, the second coming with three minutes remaining, allowing Spurs to live another day.

Inter Milan (h) – November 28

This was effectively another shootout for Spurs as anything other than a win would have been the end of the road and they found life tough against an Inter Milan side who came for a draw. It was not pretty but Pochettino’s men found a way through in the 80th minute when Christian Eriksen fired home.

Barcelona (a) – December 12

Spurs needed to match Inter’s result against PSV to progress in the final round of group games – not an easy task considering they were away at Barcelona. It got even harder when Ousmane Dembele sent the Spanish side into an early lead at the Nou Camp. But Lucas Moura got into the habit of rescuing his side with an 85th-minute leveller, which proved enough as Inter could only draw with PSV.

Borussia Dortmund (h) – February 13

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Two goals in the last seven minutes against Dortmund effectively sent them through to the quarter-finals (John Walton/PA)

Having wrestled control of their last-16 first-leg tie against the Bundesliga side thanks to Son Heung-min’s goal early in the second half, Spurs effectively put the tie to bed with a late two-goal blast in the final 10 minutes. Jan Vertonghen made it 2-0 in the 83rd minute and, with Wembley still rocking, Fernando Llorente added a late third, which made their second leg in Dortmund a formality.

Manchester City (h) – April 9

In the first European game at their new stadium, Spurs made it a night to remember when they took the advantage in their quarter-final with City. Hugo Lloris had saved an earlier penalty from Sergio Aguero, but Pep Guardiola’s side were strangely passive and Son Heung-min put Spurs 1-0 up with 12 minutes remaining – a goal that proved crucial.

Manchester City – April 17

Not even their experience of late drama could have prepared Tottenham for what was waiting for them in the quarter-final second leg at the Etihad Stadium. The start was incredible enough as five goals in the first 21 minutes made it 3-3 on aggregate, but after Sergio Aguero’s fourth goal for City had been cancelled out by a controversial Fernando Llorente strike, Spurs were heading through on away goals going deep into injury time. But, heartbreak appeared to strike as Raheem Sterling converted for Manchester City to spark amazing scenes of celebration for the hosts and despair for Spurs. However, in incredible drama, the goal was chalked off by VAR for offside and the emotions switched, with Pochettino’s men progressing.

Ajax (a) – May 8

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A brave fightback against the Dutch side, where Spurs had battled back from a 3-0 aggregate deficit at half-time of the semi-final second leg, looked like falling just short and for the fifth time they were just moments from exiting the competition. Enter Lucas Moura. The Brazilian’s two goals earlier in the second half had given his side hope and he completed a hat-trick in the most remarkable circumstances as he struck with just seconds of injury time remaining. It gave Spurs a 3-2 win on the night and they progressed on away goals on one of the most famous nights in the club’s history.

PA

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