- Attendance 46,588
Match report by John Ellis
After a night of angst and frustration, the takeaway from tonight is that as improbable as it still might be…. our Champions League destiny is back in our own hands!
Harry Kane will no doubt grab the headlines but for the excellent contribution of Paulo Gazzaniga, not only would the Champions League campaign have perished much earlier but the Europa League too.
Gazzaniga came to Spurs with a poor reputation and a shrug of the shoulders by Spurs fans but my has he performed heroics when called upon in a Spurs shirt and tonight was no exception. He made several match winning saves to keep the tie and campaign alive.
Harry Winks again performed well at the heart of the midfield and somehow Spurs rallied to clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The match kicked off in what felt a half empty stadium bolstered by a loud away following.
Interesting if as reported the trouble many years ago restricted Spurs to 1600 tickets for the away game that PSV fans were allocated the normal away section at Wembley?
In the second minute Sanchez was done for pace and a corner was conceded. Dele lost his man and it was the worst possible start… 0-1 with a towering unmarked header by De Jong.
Yet another early goal conceded at home in a big game…
The catastrophic CL campaign looked to be continuing.
Spurs responded and Kane went down under a heavy challenge inside the box but only a corner was awarded.
Kane then fired just wide and followed up with a shot which was deflected for a corner after a delightful through ball by Dele.
The early feeling was of the Gent Europa home game. A match which should have been won comfortably and yet wasn’t. Could Spurs turn it round tonight?
In the 17th minute Aurler was inexplicably allowed by his team mates to shepherd the ball out over his own goal line but for a corner!
A few minutes later and Kane had yet another attempt on goal but still the equaliser wouldn’t come.
Moura picked the ball up just inside the PSV half on the left wing and ran at the heart of their defence and ran and ran and ran twisting this way and that… his initial shot inside the box was blocked and his follow up from an almost seated position looped over the bar.
Moura then produced another amazing piece of skill and trickery to create another chance.
Dele pickpocketed a defender and a double save was made when a goal seemed inevitable.
The PSV keeper was having a great night. A fantastic long ball found Dele who brought the ball under control in the box steadied and shot but alas the keeper again proved up to the task and stretched out an arm across the Wembley turf to push the shot wide.
In the 40th minute Son showed good skill before going down under another heavy challenge but the referee again waved play on.
The PSV fans created an atmosphere with their non stop singing which became a feature of the first half.
Half time seemed to come all too quickly and Spurs were teetering on the most ignominious of Champions League exits.
The opening exchanges of the second half gave little indication that Spurs would or even could find a way back into the game. In fact Gazzanigga had to pull off a full length diving save which he must have seen very late to keep the deficit down to just the one goal.
Dele had clearly had enough of Eriksens poor corners and took two himself in quick succession which also didn’t come to anything.
Lamela came on for Moura to howls of derision from the home support. Coincidentally I had just said that substitution was required to those around me which brought similar cries of derision.
As the game headed towards the 70th minute Spurs laid siege on the PSV goal but as hard as they huffed and puffed they couldn’t blow the Dutch house down.
Suddenly though there was an intricacy of slick one touch passing around the edge of the box which had hitherto been missing.
As the game moved into the final 20 minutes. The frustrations of the home fans increased as PSV began to adopt the well tread road of game management. If only Spurs had adopted such tactics in Milan and Eindhoven…
It took until the 77th minute until the keeper was finally properly tested in the second half by Kane.
Within a minute though after an excellent Llorente lay off, Kane finally beat the keeper to bring Spurs level with a low drive into the left hand corner of the net 1-1! A European campaign of some sort or other was rescued!
In the 81st minute the wonderfully named Trent Sainsbury came on for PSV to much amusement amongst the home fans.
However within a minute Gazzaniga was called into action again and made another fine save to keep the scores level.
In the 84th minute Llorente rose to a good cross from Trippier but headed straight into the keepers arms. The clock was ticking down and with the scores level PSV who needed a second goal for any sort of European campaign continued to time waste – strange…
In the 89th minute Davies who as ever during the course of the evening hadn’t been able to best the first man with his crosses finally did put in a cross which evaded the first man and there was the one and only legend in his own playing career to nod home to put Spurs in front – 2-1!!!!
May be just may be….
As we all know European games always have the usual three minutes of added time… don’t they?
Tonight the board went up to show six minutes…
In the dying minutes, Trippier gave a free kick away in a dangerous position which only added to the nerves. The cross was met but was fired over the bar.
The referee blew the final whistle and Spurs Champions League campaign was finally up and running – but it was mightily close to fizzling our in the North London night as surely as the thousands of fireworks had just the night before.
Sadly only a small crowd of 47,000 were there to witness the resurrection of Spurs Champions League campaign. At 0-1 we were musing as to what the size of the crowd might be versus Inter Milan. A dead rubber at Wembley less than four weeks before Christmas. It didn’t bear thinking about.
Hopefully it will now be close to full house to cheer Spurs on into second place in the group with just one game to go thereafter. Yes away to Barcelona but hopefully a Barcelona who have already wrapped up first place in the group and therefore with nothing to play for. We can but dream!
At least it is back in Spurs hands!