Tottenham Hotspur 2-4 FC Barcelona: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis
Barcelona registered an impressive 4-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur in their Champions League Group B clash at Wembley on Wednesday. The Catalan giants started the game in emphatic fashion when Philippe Coutinho found the back of the net in the second minute following a poor decision from Hugo Lloris that presented the visitors with an opening.
Ernesto Valverde's men benefited tremendously from the early goal and continued to grow in confidence before Ivan Rakitic extended their lead through a sublime volley supported by outrageous technique and the upright on its way to the back of the net. Barcelona were miles ahead of Tottenham at the end of the first-half and headed into the interval with a two-goal advantage.
Mauricio Pochettino's men responded positively after the restart and were handed a lifeline when Harry Kane pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute after Lionel Messi was denied by the woodwork twice at the other end. However, the celebrations were cut short just four minutes later when Messi deservedly bagged his first goal of the night to restore Barcelona's healthy two-goal cushion.
Spurs refused to give up hope and their persistence finally paid off in the 66th minute when Erik Lamela halved the deficit to give life to a spellbinding finish to the high-octane encounter at Wembley. The hosts came close to restoring parity in the dying embers of the game but were eventually caught when they tried to play out from the back and Messi, who was arguably the best player on the pitch, bagged a brace in the 90th minute to put the result beyond any doubt.
On that note, let's take a closer look at some of the major talking points from a Champions League classic at Wembley:
#1 Erratic start from Hugo Lloris breathes new life into Barcelona
Hugo Lloris would not have enjoyed his return to action with Tottenham Hotspur when he made a shocking error that led to the opening goal after just 93 seconds on the clock. The Frenchman decided to come out of his line, in what proved to be an erratic decision, and was caught in no-man's land when Philippe Coutinho sent a powerful shot to break the deadlock on the night.
There was no need for Lloris to come off his line to deal with the situation and his negligence cost Tottenham dearly as Barcelona punished them like most teams would do at this level. The early goal helped the visitors settle down quickly and pegged back Spurs as they succumbed to the early onslaught of possession from Barcelona.
After all that has been happening off the pitch in recent weeks for Lloris, the last thing he would have wanted was a poor start during his return game and it is safe to say that things did not go too well for him at Wembley.