Two goals in four second-half minutes saw Juventus pip Tottenham at Wembley and bring the Premier League side’s Champions League journey to a shuddering halt on home(ish) soil.
With a 2-2 draw carried over from the first leg in Turin, Tottenham actually nudged themselves into the lead shortly before the break when Heung-Min Son continued his scoring streak with rather a fortuitous finish.
This all came after Jan Vertonghen was lucky to survive an early penalty call for his mistimed tackle on Douglas Costa just quarter-of-an-hour in…
The opening goal came when Keiran Trippier pounced on a loose ball to drill a low cross across the Juve goalmouth which fell to Son at the far post, the South Korean forward duly squonking an awkward finish past the wrong-footed Gianluigi Buffon…
Spurs looked comfortable in the early knockings of the second half until a crafty double substitution from Massimiliano Allegri changed the entire complexion of the match.
The arrival of Kwadwo Asamoah and Sebastien Lichtsteiner (replacing Blaise Matuidi and Medhi Benatia) on the hour mark saw Juve instantly benefit from a fresh injection of pace out on the wings as the Old Lady pounced twice in quick succession to snatch back control.
The equaliser came in the 64th minute after Lichtsteiner drove up the right flank and fed Paulo Dybala, whose cross was flicked by Sami Khedira into the path of Gonzalo Higuain, who made up for his penalty miss in the first leg by volleying an improvised finish past Hugo Lloris.
Juve then hauled themselves in front just three minutes later when Dybala went haring onto a measured through-ball from Higuain and kept his cool while sending Lloris the wrong way…
The Italian side’s European pedigree then began to show, as Tottenham became increasingly frustrated.
That said, Harry Kane did bobble a header off the post and then saw the ricochet turned off the line by Andrea Barzagli as the home team came centimetres from forcing extra time in the 90th minute.
As the match progressed, the old guard of Barzargli, Giorgio Cheillini and Buffon began to celebrate every last-ditch clearance with wild fist-bumps, primal howls and liver punches.
Juventus going all Helm’s Deep is one of the great footballing spectacles.
— Who Ate All The Pies (@waatpies) March 7, 2018
Indeed, Chiellini’s post-match stats spoke for themselves…
Tottenham v Juventus:
Most tackles: Chiellini
Most clearances: Chiellini
Most blocks: Chiellini
Most Chiellini: Chiellini
— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) March 7, 2018
And so, it was Juventus who drew on their considerable defensive fortitude to weather a late storm and go romping through into the quarter-finals.
For Tottenham, it was another case of ‘hard lessons learned against the big boys’ as thoughts quickly revert back to securing qualification for next year’s Champions League foray.