A pair of Tottenham’s stars have been singled out for high praise following the first-half of the Premier League outfit’s clash with Italian giants Juventus.
The return of the Champions League this week and next will see some mouthwatering fixtures played out, with Juventus’ clash with English outfit Tottenham garnering plenty of attention around Europe.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs looked extremely impressive on their way to topping a group that featured both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund late last year, while Juventus, Champions League finalists in 2 of the last 3 seasons, finished runners-up to runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona in their own group.
The starting lineups of both sides were announced an hour prior to kick-off, with reports in the Italian press earlier today having correctly predicted a change in formation for hosts Juventus.
The Bianconeri, who have enjoyed much of their recent success through the use of a 4-3-3 setup, switched to a 4-2-3-1 for tonight, due to the absence of the injured Blaise Matuidi.
This meant that the attacking quartet of Douglas Costa, Federico Bernardeschi, Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain were all included from the start, in a bold move from Juve boss Max Allegri:
Juventus XI: Buffon; De Sciglio, Benatia, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic; Bernardeschi, Douglas Costa, Mandzukic; Higuain
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) February 13, 2018
Spurs’ boss Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, opted to leave out both Heung-min Son and Kieran Trippier, with Erik Lamela and Serge Aurier instead opted for from the off:
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 13, 2018
Juve, due to their European experience and stellar recent form, were viewed as favourites ahead of kick-off tonight, albeit just, and took little time to prove exactly why, with a free-kick awarded to the hosts with just over a minute on the clock eventually seeing the ball clipped over Tottenham’s backline by Miralem Pjanic and wonderfully volleyed home by Gonzalo Higuain.
Spurs were clearly shellshocked, with Juventus incredibly going on to double their lead just 6 minutes later.
A switched ball from Mario Mandzukic to the left side of Tottenham’s box saw Federico Bernardeschi beat Ben Davies to the delivery, with Davies proceeding to take out the Italian midfielder, resulting in a penalty.
Gonzalo Higuain stepped up to confidently make it 2-0 with just 8 minutes on the clock, with the tie looking as though it could be over early.
However, Tottenham worked their way back into the game as the half wore on, eventually seeing their dominance in possession pay off with a deserved equaliser through Harry Kane.
Unbelievably, Juventus had the chance to restore their 2-goal advantage from the spot on the stroke of half-time, after Serge Aurier needlessly took out Douglas Costa in Spurs’ box.
But Gonzalo Higuain failed to complete his first-half hat-trick, blazing his ensuing penalty off the crossbar and out.
In truth, a 2-goal deficit would have been extremely harsh on the visitors, who looked the superior side for the majority of the first-half.
And two of Tottenham’s stars in particular were singled out for special praise online throughout the opening 45 minutes, in the form of Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen:
Dembele is just sublime 🔥 look at those forward drives not to mention the passing game👌
— Wongani (@Wora_J) February 13, 2018
Eriksen is tearing it up. Elite player
— André (@AndreDack) February 13, 2018
Tbh don’t get envious watching Kane for Spurs, Its Dembele that upsets me. The man’s a fucking don.
— Scott Crossland (@ScottCrossland7) February 13, 2018
kane gets the hype but eriksen is the one making everyone 10x better
— Jerv (@Unruly_Jerv) February 13, 2018
What a game M. Dembele is having for Spurs he looks world class exactly the type of player we need in midfield, never gives the ball away, calm and strong…cheeky bid in the summer 😉😉
— Charlie KOP O’ Brien (@cobkop) February 13, 2018
Eriksen and Dembele 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼
— MagicMauricio (@jakey_efff) February 13, 2018
Moussa Dembele is a beast
— Temitope💀 (@ruff_tope) February 13, 2018
That Eriksen performance had De Bruyne written all over it. Level above everyone else on the pitch.
— Conte In (@Siddiotic) February 13, 2018
Dembele and Eriksen absolutely ran things in midfield after the first horrific 10 mins
— Kaj (@THFC_Kaj) February 13, 2018
Eriksen and Dembelé btw, could slot in to any top European team. Incredible players, can’t believe I thought Moussa was done a few months back.
— Haaave you met Will? (@WillMoores94) February 13, 2018
Some watch this Spurs game.
Dembele and Eriksen are just a joy to behold, totally dominating midfield with their speed, finesse & guile. Majestic.#JUVTOT
— Ardy (@ArdyM_) February 13, 2018