Lucas Moura produced the biggest performance of his career to inspire Tottenham’s incredible comeback against Ajax in the Champions League semi-final.
Trailing 2-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate, Moura scored a second-half hat-trick, including a 96th-minute winner, as Spurs reached the Champions League final for the first time in their history.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino wept on the pitch at the final whistle, and Moura himself was later in tears in the mixed zone.
It was emotional for many of the White Hart Lane faithful who will have never considered getting there a possibility, even as recently as five years ago.
They have been plagued by injuries all campaign, endured a poor run of Premier League form, and haven’t signed a new player in two transfer windows.
But manager Mauricio Pochettino has forged a mentally strong squad, no matter how many people call them bottlers.
Special moment for Lucas
As he spoke to journalists in the mixed zone on his way out of Ajax’s stadium on Wednesday night, he was offered the chance to watch the footage back for the first time.
The magnitude of what he had achieved overawed him and, like his manager, he had to wipe away the tears. He hailed the moment as the finest in his career so far.
“Of course it is the greatest night of my career”, Moura said. “Three goals in the semi-final of the Champions League is unbelievable. It is an emotional day. Football is amazing, it gives you this special moment”, Moura added.