Report by Rory Thompson – @rory4spurs
It was a game of two halves and an occasion where you could say, I was there! Looking at the starting line-up, it was not what many predicted but, due to injuries, it was a strong team to start.
The game had a slow start and felt more like a boxing match with both teams feeling each other out, working out where the gaps were. Spurs had the best initial chance with Lucas flashing a shot just past the post but from then on, Dortmund were the team on the ascendancy. Dortmund looked to the get the ball to Sancho as often as possible and he had the beating of Vertonghen in the first half.
Whilst Spurs had the majority of position, Dortmund were far more dangerous and Lloris made some key saves to keep the score even. The teams entered half time with Spurs knowing that alterations needed to be made if they were going to win this game.
Changing the tactics is what they did and how!
Within two minutes, Spurs were ahead. Vertonghen started the second half with a lot more confidence than he ended the first. He whipped in a cross and Son volleyed home to give Spurs a welcome lead. Spurs then controlled the game and the only time Dortmund had opportunities were when Spurs players made careless errors. Spurs could have increased their lead when Lucas was through on a 2:2 situation but couldn’t find Son.
Feelings of worry started to rise, a game where Spurs were in a comfortable lead used to only end one way. Not anymore.
In the 83rd minute, Jan Vertonghen volleyed home from close range to double our advantage. A goal that was fully deserved and he was a thorn in the Dortmund side until the end. 2 minutes later, Llorente came on for Lucas. A substitution that really should have been made earlier. Within two minutes, Llorente scores a header from a Spurs corner and he gives Spurs a healthy lead to take to Dortmund for the away leg.
There were appearances for Lamela and Wanyama with both Son and Sissoko receiving standing ovations. Spurs just had to make sure they kept a clean sheet and they did, with ease. Now with ten days off until the next Spurs game, this match will be reminisced about fondly and with key players getting closer to full fitness, the future is looking positive.
Man of the match:
Jan Vertonghen: A goal, an assist and a clean sheet. Jan showed his versatility and with the tactical changes at half time, he was able to have an immense effect on the game.
Opposition player who shone:
No players covered themselves in glory in the second half but in the first Jadon Sancho was a real outlet for Dortmund and it was easy to see why he is raved about in the Bundesliga.
Lloris: 7.5 – Made important saves in the first half and was a virtual spectator for the second.
Aurier: 7.5 – Got an assist and was defensively sound without being spectacular.
Sanchez: 8 – Dealt well with the Dortmund attack in the first half and looked to start attacks in the second half.
Toby: 8 – Did well defensively, especially allowing Jan to move further forward in the second half. Always looking to ping it out wide.
Foyth: 7 – Grew into the game as he looked rather nervous at the beginning, understandably.
Jan: 9.5 – Being responsible for two goals and being part of a defence that kept it tight at the back is fantastic. An amazing performance from Super Jan!
Winks: 8 – Always looking for the ball and was very solid. Made some important interceptions.
Sissoko: 8.5 – Looking like the real deal and with a Dembele shaped whole in the midfield, he is really stepping up and producing great performances.
Eriksen: 8 – Grabbed an assist from the corner and always looking to set Son and Lucas away.
Son: 8.5 – The finish for his goal was sublime and his hold up play was fantastic. Now he needs a break!
Lucas: 6.5 – Was frustrating to watch and seems to have hit a real dip in form, likely to be used as an impact sub when other players return.
Llorente: Scored with virtually his first touch of the game. Has come through a tricky patch and did what he was sent on to do.
Lamela: Came on and helped get the team over the line.
Wanyama: Got some minutes on his road to recovery.