AP Photo/Dave Thompson
- Tottenham advanced to the Champions League semifinal on Wednesday after a thrilling second leg to their tie with Manchester City.
- Spurs almost gave the game away numerous times, but scored a late goal and were saved by a VAR review in stoppage time to get through to the semifinal for the first time since 1962.
- While City’s Champions League dreams are over, they’ll have to regroup quickly, as they play Tottenham again on Saturday in a critical Premiere League match.
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Tottenham is through to the Champions League semifinal after a thrilling second leg to their tie with Manchester City that came with as dramatic a finish as you can imagine.
Coming into the match, Spurs had a 1-0 lead on aggregate after the first leg of the tie at Tottenham. This meant a win or draw would get them through to the semifinal, as would a one-goal loss as long as the Spurs scored at least once while away after shutting out City in the opener.
It didn’t take long for Spurs to take care of that. After Raheem Sterling opened up the scoring just four minutes into the match for City, Son Heung-Min tied and took the lead with two goals in a span of three minutes.
All told, there were four goals in the opening 12 minutes, setting up what would go on to be one of the most heart-stopping matches of the year.
After the early flurry left the teams tied 2-2 on the night, Sterling scored again in the 21st minute to put the match at 3-2 and 3-3 on aggregate, with Spurs still in the driver’s seat thanks to their away goals, a score that would hold until halftime.
When the teams returned to the pitch for the second half, City would strike first, with Sergio Agüero sending the shot home after being set up brilliantly by Kevin De Bruyne.
The goal put City up 4-3 on aggregate, and all of a sudden the nightmare of Spurs once again coming so close only to falter in the final moment came sweeping across Tottenham fans everywhere.
But the Spurs would respond. Just as City was looking like a lock to advance, Tottenham found a lucky bounce in the 73rd minute, with a corner kick hitting Fernando Llorente in the midsection and finding its way into the back of the net.
The play would be reviewed by VAR, which confirmed the goal — Spurs were through to the semifinal once again.
Had the match ended there, it would have been enough of a roller-coaster ride, but Tottenham fans had to bite their nails a little bit longer as their club tried to hold on to the lead through the final 20 minutes.
The defense held into stoppage time, when all at once, it faltered. A misplayed ball wound up at the feet of Agüero who sliced through the Spurs to find Sterling wide open.
Sterling put the ball away, completing his hat trick, and sending City through to the Champions League semifinal.
Or so he thought.
The officials once again consulted VAR after the play, and quickly found that Agüero had been offside by mere inches when he received the ball. Goal overturned, Spurs survive.
You can watch a breakdown of the play below.
Listening into the call from the match, it’s clear how dramatic the moment was to experience in real time.
Spurs would hold off City’s final attack and advance on away goals to the Champions League semifinals for the first time since 1962.
While Manchester City’s Champions League hopes have been dashed, they won’t have to wait long for their chance to exact their revenge, as Spurs will be back at Etihad Stadium this Saturday for a crucial Premiere League match.
If it’s half as thrilling as their match on Wednesday was, it will be can’t-miss television.
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