Tottenham will carry a slim advantage into the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie with Man City after winning 1-0 at White Hart Lane II on Tuesday night.
Pep Guardiola seemed to overthink his tactics once again, with Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane both dropped so Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan could be added to a slightly more orthodox four-man midfield that saw David Silva deployed behind Sergio Aguero.
We were treated to some early VAR nonsense when, after three minutes of limbo-like adjudication, referee Bjorn Kuipers decided that Raheem Sterling’s shot clipping Danny Rose’s arm at extremely close quarters warranted a penalty for City.
Aguero eventually stepped up but saw his spot-kick parried away by Hugo Lloris…
A little later in the first half, Fernandinho and Harry Kane had a little scrap which involved the Brazilian midfielder planting a cowardly forearm across the back of his opponent’s head…
Spurs then lost Kane to an ankle injury (another one) just before the hour mark when the striker got hurt chasing down a loose ball alongside Fabian Delph.
With Spurs largely outplaying their title-chasing foes, the breakthrough eventually came through Son Heung-Min in the 78th minute.
The South Korean striker capitalised on the inordinate amount of time and space afforded to him inside the City box to twist hither, turn thither and then drive a low show directly underneath Ederson…
City attempted to rally but it was all too little too late from Guardiola. De Bruyne and Sane were then both brought on in the 89th minute, roughly half-and-hour later than was probably called for.
It ended 1-0 to Spurs, with Pep’s comparatively poor record in the latter stages of the Champions League rolling on into another match.
Beating Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 with a team that contained Lionel Messi, David Villa & Xavi remains Pep Guardiola’s only away victory in the Champions League quarter final.
11.11% win rate. 😱😱😱 pic.twitter.com/YicILRVgUu
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) 9 April 2019
However, it certainly looks like Mauricio Pochettino will be without Kane for the second leg at the Etihad next week (the worry is that he may be ruled out for the remainder of the season), so it’ll be interesting to see how that effects the approach from both sides.
Should be a corker. Should be.