Tottenham Hotspur narrowly missed out on what could have been a memorable victory against the current holders of the UEFA Cup Champions League, Real Madrid. Real had to rely on a penalty from the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo to earn the draw, although, with 61% of the possession overall, the home team were probably the more disappointed to not have won the game.
However, that shouldn’t detract from what turned out to be an excellent result from Tottenham’s point of view. They certainly earned their spurs with a polished performance that saw them take the Real Madrid defence apart on several occasions.
You need a little bit of luck
Spurs had their share of good fortune. Although the run-up to their goal was well worked, the ball was deflected into his own net by Real’s Raphael Varane. Having said that, Harry Kane, who can normally be relied on to hit the back of the net more often than not, spurned one excellent chance in the 71st minute. It happened when Real Madrid’s keeper, Keylor Navas, was given the opportunity to get his fingertips to Kane’s shot to ensure it squirmed wide of the post.
Had Kane scored it might have sealed a rumoured move to the Spanish side, where he would join the ex-Spurs winger, Gareth Bale. Bale himself missed the match due to another of his recent, many injuries.
When Darren Anderton was recently interviewed, he stressed how important it is for Tottenham’s future that they keep Harry Kane on the payroll. Anderton is reported as saying. “Harry’s the top man at the club and the one player they can’t afford to lose. I think he loves the club and wouldn’t want to force a move, but if Real Madrid or Barcelona come knocking, he could go.” Spurs need to work hard to keep hold of him if Real do come knocking.
Hugo Lloris was Spurs hero of the night
In terms of the draw against Real at the Bernabéu, the real hero of the night from Tottenham’s point of view was undoubtedly French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. He pulled off a terrific save to prevent Karim Benzema from scoring in the early part of the first half, a half which also saw a Ronaldo header ricochet back into play off the Spurs goalpost only for the rebound to be spurned by Benzema.
The two Harries
Harry Winks continues to impress in Tottenham’s midfield. Winks made his full-time debut in the England national side against Lithuania last week. He was one of the few England men who shone in what was otherwise classed as a very mediocre display by the national side, despite grinding out a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Harry Kane penalty.
The double Harry combination that Spurs now have at their behest could be a significant factor in how things unfold for the North London side for the rest of the season, both here in the Premier League, and also in the UEFA Cup Champions League. Harry Kane registers some very impressive statistics leaving the likes of Aguero, Messi, and Ronaldo in the dust.
It bodes well for the return game in the Tottenham vs Real fixture which is scheduled to take place at Wembley Stadium in two weeks time. The goal that Spurs scored at the Bernabeu could stand them in good stead as an away goal if the replay is tight.
Spurs belong at the top level of European football
Tottenham’s manager, Mauricio Pochettino, was delighted both with his team’s performance, particularly that of goalkeeper Lloris. He knew that the match would be a test of Spurs’ progress in the past year or two. He commented on the fixture by saying that when you play at the Bernabeu, you get to feel the reality of football.
The fact that in the same group, Borussia Dortmund only drew with Apoel, makes the Real/Tottenham result even more significant. It gives the English team a very real opportunity of progressing further in the competition.
Pochettino was quick to point out after the game that this performance shows that Spurs belong at this level of football, so it is to be hoped that Tottenham can indeed go into the next game in a fortnight with real confidence to seal their place in the next stage of the competition.