Thanks to John Ellis for this view on last night's game
Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 BVB Dortmund
One man Tottenham were without their one man and Tottenham Hotspur were still able to absolutely destroy the team five points clear of Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga! Sissoko, Winks, Eriksen, Lloris and Son ably supported by Alderweireld, Foyth, Sanchez and co put in mammoth performances but one man towered above them all. Cometh the hour, cometh Jan Vertonghen!
What a night to play your best ever game in a Spurs shirt and assume almost legendary status.
The atmosphere outside the stadium before the game gave the air of a big European night. Inside the stadium, this was amplified by both sets of fans. The minutes silence for Gordon Banks and Sala led by the away fans quickly turned into a minuteís applause.
From the kick off the Spurs fans created a fantastic atmosphere alongside the more orchestrated Dortmund sound. The early exchanges were most notable for a remarkable piece of skill by Foyth. Facing his own goal on the edge of his own box and under pressure from left and right, he back-heeled the ball, turned, created space and passed comfortably to not only get out of trouble but launch a Spurs attack. It was a level of skill most players let alone central defenders could only aspire too.
Moura had Spurs first shot wide. The way he shaped to shoot brought to mind images of Van der Vaart but alas the finish did not. In the 15th minute poor distribution by Lloris almost gifted an opening goal to Dortmund.
The opening 20 minutes passed quickly and Sancho looked the stand-out performer on the pitch. Many Spurs fans still question why, when Man City wanted Walker so badly, the Club didnít refuse to do business unless Sancho was included in the deal. As it has transpired Walker could have been the makeweight in the deal - such has even the progression of the talented young midfielder.
On half time Lloris produced an outstanding save to keep the scores level. It could well have been a pivotal moment in the tie.
The second half saw Tottenham gain the ascendency.
Then came a moment of supreme skill from the generally reluctant makeshift left back. There are assists and there are assists. This assist, a cross from Vertonghen, curled just over the defender into the path of Son who through the accuracy and weight of the cross had the easiest of volleys to put Spurs 1-0 up! It was an outstanding cross of the highest order. It was telling that the vast majority of the team went to Vertonghen rather than the goalscorer.
Nevertheless how Dortmund must be sick of the sight of Son - 9 goals in 11 games against them!
In the 61st minute Eriksen made a break down the left and a glorious opportunity opened up with Son sprinting into position to convert the cross but sadly Eriksen wasnít able to beat the defender. At the other end, Sanchez performed heroics to defend what seemed an almost certain equaliser.
Sissoko advanced down the right and only a last ditch sliding intervention kept his cross from creating another gilt edged chance. This was some match!
The tie then swing massively in favour of Tottenham. Having put in a fantastic cross, Vertonghen strode into the box to get in the end of a lovely Aurier cross to volley Spurs 2-0 into a lead!
Incredibly and within a matter of minutes a 2-0 lead became a 3-0 lead and from the most unlikeliest of sources! Could you imagine a more unlikely combination - an Eriksen corner beating the first man and Llorente soaring to head Spurs into dreamland- 3-0!
Two minutes added time and a curling effort beat Lloris and thankfully his right hand post - phew! A late Dortmund goal would certainly have put a different slant on the return leg but it wasnít to be.
Momentum is almost everything in sport and there is no doubt that an early goal for Dortmund In the return league could have dramatic consequences. Nevertheless at the half way stage of the tie, Spurs have taken a gigantic step forward towards the Champions League Quarter Final!
Now the players have a ten day rest period for not only tired limbs to recover but to also let the emotions settle before battle recommences in the Premier League.
As fans we travel far and near and every now and then nights like this come along to make it all worthwhile.
What a night!
∑ Spurs Odyssey match report
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