Son goal gives Spurs edge over Man City
Champions League first leg victory is marred, however, by news that Harry Kane could miss the rest of the season through injury
09 April, 2019 — By Dan Carrier
UEFA Champions League
Quarter Finals First leg
SPURS 1 (Son 78)
MANCHESTER CITY 0
SPURS have got their noses in front in this all-English Champions League quarter final – courtesy of a magnificent display against Manchester City at the club’s new stadium tonight (Tuesday).
A second half goal by Heung-Min Son was enough to separate the two sides after this first leg – and it was richly deserved. Mauricio Pochettino’s players shook off a Spring slump to remind a crowd of more than 60,000 just how good they can be, and despite losing talismanic forward Harry Kane early in the second period through injury, they had enough about them to win.
After the match, manager Pochettino said his players had done him and the fans proud. He said: “I am happy how we approached the game. We know we need to reach this level consistently.”
Pochettino said he expected the same level of performance in the return leg next week, adding: “It will be tough – it can be a completely different game, but it is good to win the first leg and give us the belief. We will be there and will fight for it.”
There were just 10 minutes on the clock when a Raheem Sterling shot saw Danny Rose slide across to block and the ball strike his trailing arm to earn a penalty. It seemed like an eternity as referee Bjorn Kuipers looked at the VAR – and then waved at the spot.
Sergio Aguero stepped up, hit the ball hard to Hugo Lloris’ left – and the keeper got down and pulled off a wonderful stop. It was the gee up Spurs needed.
They got into their stride and with their defence looking solid against City’s flowing forward line, Dele Alli, Son, Kane and Christian Eriksen all fond space to exploit going forward. Alli drove a volley over, while Son nearly found his way in down the right off a clipped ball from Eriksen.
Midway through the first half, Kane scooped a shot from underneath his boots to force City goalkeeper Ederson into a good a save. Roared on by the 60,000-strong crowd enjoying the new ground, other chances came and went: Harry Winks drove one over, Eriksen saw a shot charged down, and Kane hustled for headers.
Spurs took the first half on balance – the penalty save had given the team the zip they needed and the confidence flowed from the raucous terraces.
It was more of the same after the break. It seemed half time wasn’t long enough for Pep Guardiola to have conjured up a cunning plan to find a breakthrough as Spurs continued to press. Son again went close, curling a long range effort narrowly wide.
Just before the hour mark disater struck for the home side when Kane had to leave proceedings after sliding in on Fabian Delph and hurting his ankle. Lucas Moura came on but it felt like it could be a huge setback for a Spurs side that had been going for it with abandon.
City got some confidence from the loss of the Tottenham talisman but after a short spell without the ball, Spurs recovered their poise, and with Winks and Moussa Sissoko working their socks off in the midfield and the defence holding firm, the City attacks had walls to get through – and they were smashing against them rather than getting past them.
And then came the breakthrough – a chipped ball round the back by Eriksen found Son ghosting in. The forward had to check before coming back inside and sneaking a shot home under Ederson’s body. The noise that erupted from the terraces in this magnificent new stadium was off the scale and Spurs again looked assured.
From Lloris’s penalty save to the blow of losing Kane, yet shaking off the negatives, Tottenham showed real mettle and now go in to the second leg with a lead. It is, however, a slender one, and they will have to weather a light blue storm come Wednesday.
SPURS: Lloris, Trippier, Rose, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Son, Winks (Wanyama, 80), Sissoko, Alli (Llorente, 86), Eriksen, Kane (Moura, 58)
Substitutes not used: Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Foyth, Davies.
MANCHESTER CITY: Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Delph, Fernandinho, Gundogan, David Silva (De Bruyne, 89), Mahrez (Sane, 89), Sterling, Aguero (Jesus, 71)
Substitutes not used: Muric, Kompany, Stones, Foden