Uefa Champions League last-16 first leg Tottenham Hotspur 3 Borussia Dortmund 0
Mauricio Pochettino hailed his “heroes” as Tottenham produced a magnificent second-half performance to thrash Borussia Dortmund 3-0 last night.
Goals from Son Heung-min, Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente capped a wonderful night for the Lilywhites at Wembley Stadium and should see them through to the quarter-finals of the Uefa Champions League.
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“The team is there, fighting, getting results, they deserve full credit,” said Tottenham manager Pochettino. “The effort they are doing is fantastic.”
It was Spurs’ 22nd match in 81 days in all competitions but there was no sign of fatigue in the second-half as the Germans were put to the sword by their hosts.
Son Heung-min volleyed them into the lead two minutes after the restart and two goals in the last eight minutes have left Dortmund with a daunting challenge in next month’s second leg.
“I don’t have any words for the second half,” said Borussia Dortmund’s young English winger Jadon Sancho.
“We tried our best but they scored and were the better team… we will keep believing we can score more than them and hopefully we can get through to the next round.”
One foot in the last eight
In truth, Dortmund were comprehensively outplayed and Sancho was one of their few players who held his own against a Tottenham side without the injured Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
It was Spurs’ joint-biggest Champions League victory and barring a remarkable turnaround on 5 March the north London side should make it to the last eight for the first time since 2011.
“It was a fantastic second half,” said Pochettino. “In the first half we played a little - not nervously - but not with the confidence. The second half was very, very good. We spoke [at half-time] about our defensive positions and changed things a little. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Son on song
Son found the net for the fourth successive game and his manager expressed his delight that the South Korea international has risen to the challenge in the absence of the injured Kane.
“Son was fantastic again,” Pochettino told The Guardian. “He’s a player that provides the team with a lot of very good things. His smile, he translates good energy and his performance in every game is improving. We’re so happy.”
In the night’s other Champions League tie, Real Madrid claimed what BBC Sport described as a “fortunate win at Ajax”.
The defending champions take a 2-1 advantage back to Madrid thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio, either side of a strike from Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech. But the Dutch side dominated their visitors and spurned several opportunities to score.
When Nicolas Tagliafico did put the ball in the back of the Real net it was ruled out by the first Champions League video assistant referee (VAR) consultation.
VAR is being used for the knockout phases of the competition and referee Damir Skomina disallowed Tagliafico’s header because team-mate Dusan Tadic was fractionally offside when the ball hit the net.
“I have said many times that I am a great defender of the VAR because it will make football fairer little by little,” said Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.
Last-16 results, fixtures and TV guide
Last-16 first-leg results
- Manchester United 0 Paris Saint-Germain 2
- AS Roma 2 FC Porto 1
- Ajax 1 Real Madrid 2
- Tottenham Hotspur 3 Borussia Dortmund 0
Tuesday 19 February first-leg fixtures
- Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra)
- Lyon vs. Barcelona (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra)
Wednesday 20 February first-leg fixtures
- Atlético Madrid vs. Juventus (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra)
- FC Schalke vs. Manchester City (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra)
Last-16 second leg fixtures Tuesday 5 March
- Borussia Dortmund vs. Tottenham Hotspur (0-3 on aggregate; 8pm, live on BT Sport)
- Real Madrid vs. Ajax (2-1 on aggregate; 8pm, live on BT Sport)
Wednesday 6 March
- FC Porto vs. Roma (1-2 on aggregate; 8pm, live on BT Sport)��
- Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester United (2-0 on aggregate; 8pm, live on BT Sport)
Tuesday 12 March
- Juventus vs. Atlético Madrid (8pm, live on BT Sport)
- Manchester City vs. FC Schalke (8pm, live on BT Sport)
Wednesday 13 March
- Barcelona vs. Lyon (8pm, live on BT Sport)
- Bayern Munich vs. Liverpool (8pm, live on BT Sport)
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