London, Thursday @PeopleSports11
What a night it was for Tottenham. What a game from Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier, Harry Winks, Eric Dier, the core of young English players who have taken it to the champions of Europe this season with the confidence of teenagers and not a hint of inferiority. They thoroughly deserved this.
The win, the margin of victory, every accolade that will come their way. Aided by the outstanding Christian Eriksen, who scored their third and set up the second without actually touching the ball, Tottenham took apart the champions of Europe, a team that had not lost in the Champions League group stage since October 24, 2012.
This was a brave and brilliant performance, as impressive as any delivered by an English club in Europe for many years, and Chelsea had already set the bar pretty high against Atletico Madrid.
This was not one of those nights when every swing of the boot was a goal. Indeed, Alli missed arguably his best chance of the match, a free header from another excellent Trippier cross after 78 minutes.
The odd snatched shot aside, though, so much of what Tottenham did was exemplary, not least at the back where Jan Vertonghen tied it all together superbly having lost Toby Alderweireld to a hamstring injury after 24 minutes.
The vision of Kane, so much more than just a goalscorer. The sharp, early delivery of Trippier, which put one in mind of no less a wide player than David Beckham. The work-rate, the intelligence. It was all there.
Start with the third goal, because it was so good. A lovely reverse pass from Alli to Kane; a perfectly weighted pass inside from Kane to Eriksen; the coolest of finishes from the Dane clipped with his left foot. And that was it. Real Madrid were done, their executives and club legends staring on in mute disbelief. Tottenham were just better: hungrier, sharper, smarter.
My word, Tottenham really did a job on them. By the end, Cristiano Ronaldo was a study in cold, impotent fury. He wasn’t even in the best 11 players on the field, despite his opportunist, scrappy goal from close range in the 80th minute. Every one of that best XI played for Tottenham.
Alli, naturally, will garner the headlines: two goals saw to that. He was excellent on his return to European football following last season’s suspension. -DAILYMAIL