Son Heung-min’s late goal gave Tottenhama crucial and well-deserved advantage over Manchester City in a thunderous Champions League quarter-final first leg.
In a searing atmosphere in their vast new stadium, Spurs overcame the loss of Harry Kane to a serious looking ankle injury– sustained when he challenged Fabian Delph in the second half.
And they made the breakthrough with 12 minutes left as Son twisted and turned on the byeline before shooting low past Ederson.
City came to London having won 22 of their last 23 games and playing with a thrilling fluency, but they never got started. Spurs were controlled and thrillingly assertive throughout, playing at the edge of their nerves but with a sense of poise too for a deserved 1-0 victory.
With 10 minutes gone Raheem Sterling set off on a veering run from the left touchline. Danny Rose blocked his shot, sliding in from the side, and the ball bobbled away over the goal line.
City were already preparing to take a corner when, like a digital deus ex machina, the screens flashed up with the words: “VAR penalty review”. But Sergio Agüero missed the kick, or rather Hugo Lloris made a good save at a great moment.
Guardiola and Champions League
Whatever about a war in this Champions League tie, the very competition seems to cause Guardiola to go to war with himself, as if second-guessing his team and so many of his own calls.
He made many curious decisions in this match, from the overly physical starting XI to the belated introductions of Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane, and even an unusually combative approach.
It could even be said that Spurs dragged them into a fight and a match that more suited Mauricio Pochettino’s side, and can definitely said that the Champions League as a whole causes a drag on Guardiola.