Believe it or not, Tottenham Hotspurs are just days away from competing in the UEFA Champions League Final for the first time in the tournament’s sixty-four-year history.
Domestic opposition, Liverpool, is all that stands in the way of Spurs completing their fairy tale run to be crowned Europe’s elite. A trip to the final comes with the help of excellent football, late goals VAR, and quite honestly, luck.
Tottenham overcame their first obstacle by advancing out of their group of Barcelona, Inter Milan, and PSV. The side lost their opening two games, and choked away against PSV when Luuk De Jong scored in the final five minutes of game meaning Spurs were limited to only earning one point in their first three matches. In their fourth game, PSV was the opposition again on a rugged Wembley pitch, and De Jong’s header in the first minute had many believe Tottenham’s campaign was over. Chasing the game, captain Harry Kane was finally able to equalize just before the 80th minute, and in the 89 th minute, his goal proved to be the match winner.
With starting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris still suspended, a must-win game against Inter Milan caused frustrations as Harry Winks rattled the crossbar and Jan Vertonghen missed a header inside the six-yard box. Once again, a late winner through Christian Eriksen meant that Spurs were heading to Barcelona on the final matchday with a chance of advancing. Spurs needed a result against Barcelona and also depended on PSV to get a result at Inter Milan. Tottenham was able to hold on to a famous 1-1 draw at Camp Nou through an 85 th -minute equalizer from Lucas Moura, and Tottenham fans let out a chorus of screams post-match after receiving news that Inter Milan was held to a draw, meaning Spurs finish as the runners up in Group B.
The Round-Of-16 tie saw Tottenham knock out Borussia Dortmund in a spectacular fashion. Dortmund topped Group A but fell to the English side on aggregate 4-0.
The Quarter Finals was far from smooth sailing. Despite winning 1-0 in their new state-of-the-art 60,000 seat stadium, the injury to star striker Harry Kane has Manchester City favored to turn the tie around in the second leg.
The second leg between the English sides was arguably the most exciting game of the tournament; by the 21 st minute, Spurs were already losing 3-2. Fighting for survival, a corner kick found its way to Fernando Llorente who controversially used his hip to find the back of the net, sparking a long, unsuccessful VAR check concerning handball. Late into extra time, Raheem Sterling thought he scored a heroic goal for City, but Pep and the celebrating home fans were let down as VAR came to Tottenham’s aid once again ruling out the goal for offside.
Up next for the Lillywhite was Ajax, who proved to be the spoiler in previous rounds, knocking out both Real Madrid and Juventus.
Going into the second half of the second leg, trailing 3-0, Tottenham faced yet another uphill battle, but a brace by Lucas Moura gave Spurs hope. In added time trailing by a single goal, Spurs were yet again on the brink of elimination, but the 96th minute of the match played host to the biggest goal of the competition, and potentially the biggest in Tottenham’s history. Lucas Moura found the back to complete his hat trick, effectively scoring the important goal that qualified Tottenham for Saturday’s showdown against Liverpool.
The final proves to be another test for Tottenham, as Liverpool are equipped with the PFA Player of the Year in defense with Virgil Van Dijk, and shared premier league golden boot winners Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, who both scored 22 times in the Premier League this season. As seen throughout the tournament, Tottenham proved they can beat anyone in Europe, so Mauricio Pochettino’s men will feel as if they can actually win the competition.