'Not many teams dominate Juve' – just how impressive was Spurs' comeback?
Tottenham’s comeback from 2-0 down to draw away to Juventus helped get the Champions League knockout stages off to an exciting start.
Few teams leave Juventus’ Allianz Stadium with a goal to their name, let alone a draw – and Spurs did it the hard way.
After trailing 2-0 to Gonzalo Higuain’s double in the first nine minutes, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen helped give them the edge on away goals, with Higuain also missing a penalty.
“For 83 minutes we dominated Juventus and that is a thing to praise. Not many teams come here and dominate Juventus,” said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.
Former England winger Chris Waddle said Spurs were “by far the better side”, while ex-Tottenham boss David Pleat predicts a “titanic battle” in the second leg at Wembley on 7 March when a quarter-final place will be at stake.
But just how impressive was Spurs’ fightback? Here are some of the standout stats:
- Juventus had only conceded one goal in their previous 16 games – and none in 2018.
- Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had not conceded a goal for 694 minutes – a run going back to Italy’s World Cup play-off defeat by Sweden in November when the second leg ended 0-0.
- Juve had won their past 10 games in league and cup over the last two months.
- It is only the second time they have failed to win a Champions League home game after being two goals ahead – the last was against Manchester United in the 1999 semi-final second leg.
- Spurs are the first team to wipe out a two-goal deficit at the Juventus Stadium, now called the Allianz Stadium, since the Italian champions moved there in 2011.
- Juve have conceded two goals in a home Champions League game for the first time since February 2016 – 2-2 against Bayern Munich.
- They had not conceded twice in any home game since October when they lost 2-1 to Lazio.
‘Incredibly mature performance’ – what the BBC Radio 5 live pundits said
Former Spurs manager David Pleat
Juventus were complacent in the first half after going two goals up. It was probably the worst thing that could have happened to them because they sat a little bit and Tottenham had no option but to push on.
As the game developed they made their ascendancy count. Juventus were a little disappointing when you consider their results over the past three months in Italy.
It is quite incredible. They faded in the second half in Cardiff when they played Real Madrid in the final last year, they’ve got some ageing players in the squad and were missing some players.
They may well have players back, including Paulo Dybala, for the second game. And they’ve had a good look at Tottenham now so they know what they are up against. This will be a titanic battle.
Former Spurs winger Chris Waddle
For 80 minutes Tottenham have been the better team. Gonzalo Higuain had chances but didn’t take them.
Tottenham played all the football, were constantly in the Juventus half, and could have scored two more. They were by far the better side over 90 minutes.
European football expert Mina Rzouki
The story will be that Juventus have blown it. You were 2-0 up in your own stadium with a supposedly impenetrable defence. But they dropped really deep, maybe got a bit low on confidence and when Spurs pressed their midfield they couldn’t deal with it. I have to say Mousa Dembele was fantastic.
But Juventus had several chances to close it out. They needed someone like Blaise Matuidi to add a bit more drive, a bit more aggression.
The Times chief football writer Henry Winter
Incredibly mature performance from Tottenham. Been watching English teams in Europe over the past few years, Chelsea a few years ago winning the Champions League and Manchester United before them. In recent years there’s been a naivety in English performances in terms of giving the ball away, bad tactics, at times technically exposed.
Apart from that opening nine minutes it was fantastic in terms of showing strength of character, Dembele striding forward in midfield. Christian Eriksen’s free-kick – I talked to journalists here in Italy and they say it’s something Buffon does, the little step to the side. Maybe he knew that and capitalised.
Kane showed shades of Alan Shearer late in his career in terms of working over a defence with his mindset, getting Mehdi Benatia booked, a really intelligent performance. Fantastic night, great fight, great performance.
‘Character was fantastic’
Mauricio Pochettino on BT Sport: “Fantastic game. We were sloppy and conceded two goals in nine minutes, but the character we showed was fantastic. I want to congratulate the players – 2-0 down in Turin to a team so difficult to break down. We deserved a victory more than a draw.
“We are more mature now. In the last few weeks, the team are growing and have stepped up. It’s a good example of the capacity we have.
“The team was amazing in how they reacted.
“You need some luck always in football. The tie is open, Juventus are a massive team. We have the hope we can win in Wembley.”
‘Juventus were never favourites’
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri warned against an overly critical reaction, saying: “This really drives me nuts.
“The top priority of Juventus is a seventh league championship in a row, which is a lot.
“We are making huge efforts and we are about to go through in the Coppa Italia, but if you believe a draw like tonight could repress us that is something I don’t accept.
“We have a draw against Tottenham in the Champions League and it is like a big loss. It is not like this.
“Juventus has never been favourites in this tie. We had 50% possibility before the match and we still have that after this match.”
What you said on Twitter, using #bbcfootball
Aaron: This is what happens when a dated Juve team plays a young Spurs!
Mollie: Spurs have been excellent tonight and they fully deserve to be level. Buffon probably should have saved that though.
Lotak: Makes you wonder where Spurs could be if they hadn’t given Juve a two-goal head start inside 10 minutes.