Tottenham Hotspur

Two Tottenham players singled out for special praise vs Juventus

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.

Matchup

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.

Teams

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:

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:

2-0

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.

HT

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.

Praise

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:

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