UEFA Champions League: FC Barcelona 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur - 5 Talking Points
FC Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur went face to face in their final Champions League game of the year. With Group B still undecided on the day, both Inter and Tottenham had to try and win their games to boost their chances of qualifying. Inter was playing at home against PSV but for Tottenham, the task was near impossible, defeating a rampant Barcelona at Camp Nou.
Thankfully for the Spurs, Ernesto Valverde decided to rest his main players and fielded a near second-string team against Tottenham. With both qualification and first place guaranteed for the Blaugrana, this was a good opportunity to rotate the team.
18 year old, Juan Miranda earned his first Champions League call-up. Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Marc Andre Ter Stegen, all started from the bench. Mauricio Pochettino fielded his best 11 in a must-win game, the only surprise being Kyle-Walker Peters' inclusion ahead of Ben Davies.
Barcelona took the lead through Ousmane Dembele in the 8th minute. Meanwhile, PSV also took the lead at San Siro through Hirving Lozano, keeping the second spot alive. Tottenham toiled hard to get a goal back but the relatively out-of-shape Barcelona defence held strong.
Tottenham's hopes were almost down the drain when Mauro Icardi equalized in Italy. With time running out, Spurs finally got their goal in the 85th minute through Lucas Moura, shifting the pointer towards the English side.
At the end of the game, both Spurs and Inter were tied on points and on goal difference. At last, it came to the away goals scored in head-to-head ties to separate both teams as Spurs went through.
Here are five talking points from the game.
#5 Tottenham got immensely lucky
At the start of the game, Tottenham were second favourites to go through to the knockout stages. They had to face Barcelona at Camp Nou, one of the toughest away fixtures. Inter, on the other hand, was facing PSV at home.
But in an unlikely turn of events, Inter failed to break the defensive line of PSV at home. Tottenham created chances but they did not convert any except one in the whole game. They were facing a relatively inexperienced Barcelona side without the attacking threat of Messi and Suarez. They attacked but still did not get past the defence that missed their general in Gerard Pique. Neither did they have to deal with Jordi Alba's pace in the wings.
But still, Tottenham had to sweat to get a goal. Harry Kane did not impress and neither did Son Heung Min. Their defence was wide open at times which did not get exposed due to the nerves of Miranda and at times a lack of decisiveness from Munir.
If Tottenham came up against a solid Barcelona team with all their first team players included, then they wouldn't have made it through. So, the lesson for Pochettino and his team, they need to improve a lot, both offensively and defensively. For all we know, Juventus, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and PSG are the possible opponents for Spurs in the RO16.