It wasn't Manchester United's Turin Comeback - but Tottenham took Small Step to Becoming European Force they Want to Be

It was not quite Manchester United- Roy Keane and all – on that epic night in Turin in 1999.

A Champions League final place was not at stake, for a start. It was not a second leg, fight or flight, do or die.

But for character, spirit and sheer accomplishment, Tottenham  – Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and all – went pretty close.

On that night 19 years ago, United came from two goals down in Juventus territory to win by one and set up the Treble-winning meeting with Bayern Munich.

From two goals down here, Spurs have merely given themselves an unlikely favourite’s chance of reaching the last eight.

Tottenham celebrate levelling the game 
Dembele celebrates Spurs’ win at the full-time whistle 

Not a giant step like United’s but a small one in the direction they want to be heading – towards being a European force.

And after suffering a catastrophic start in which Gonzalo Higuain had Juventus two up well inside ten minutes, to hold it together and to leave level shows this is a Spurs side with bottle as well as brilliance.

It would be wrong to merely highlight Tottenham’s resilience as the motor that drove this comeback.

 What drove it was their composure, their belief in their own talent – talent that was more than a match for a team that, until Kane and Eriksen intervened, had conceded just one goal in their last 16 matches.
Kane rounded the goalkeeper to get Spurs back into the game 
Eriksen levelled the game with a low free-kick 

Yes, they had moments of fortune, not least when Higuain missed a penalty on the stroke of half-time that would have restored Juve’s two-goal advantage.

Yes, they benefited from a moment when old age caught up with the Old Lady’s finest, Gianluigi Buffon caught out by Eriksen’s low free-kick to settle the scoreline at two apiece.

But Spurs, prompted by Eriksen and propelled by Mousa Dembele, always looked capable of knocking holes in a defence that, locally, is known simply as The Wall.

With Kane doing the drilling, Spurs looked capable of dismantling it brick by brick.

Higuain had fired Juve into a commanding two goal lead early on
But Pochettino helped inspire the comeback 

They needed to, of course, after the coldest of Alpine starts.

Mauricio Pochettino’s icy stare told you what he thought of Dele Alli and Ben Davies, among others, watching Higuain coast on to a Miralem Panjic free-kick and hit a smart, on-the-spin finish after barely a minute.

And it was Davies who most strikingly symbolised Tottenham’s collective daze, not leaving it long before wiping out Federico Bernardeschi with a tackle as ill-timed as it was ill-advised.

Hugo Lloris got a hand to Higuain’s spot-kick but the weak wrist summed up as soft a Spurs start as you could imagine.

Their reaction was steely-hard.

It was looking like one of them nights for Spurs (Image: Action Images via Reuters)
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For all but the final moments of a fantastically curious first half, Spurs ran the show, with the producers the usual suspects – Eriksen, Dembele and Kane, who actually headed a sitter straight at Buffon.

Yet the thing with Kane is that he will never, ever get dispirited.

Missed chances are the most fleeting of memories and when Dele Alli put him in the clear, he went past Buffon as though he was a cone and rolled in yet another.

If only Serge Aurier had Kane’s calm.

Instead, in a rare Juve foray just before the interval, the full-back responded to a skinning from Douglas Costa by giving referee Felix Brych yet another no-debate penalty decision.

Higuain missed a spot kick that would have put Juve 3-1 up
The ball cannoned off the bar

It was a moment that might just have cost Spurs Champions League hope but Higuain reacted to some Lloris kidology by blasting his hat-trick attempt against the crossbar.

And almost predictably, Eriksen hit home the enormity of that miss when he hooked a low free-kick, won by the guile of Alli, just to the side of a shoddy Juve wall.

Understandably, Spurs looked to protect the draw, which they did with relative comfort.It means they are favourites to progress but the deal is far from done.

Briefly, though, they can enjoy this.

It was not a win, it was nowhere near as significant as United’s heroics at the old ground here but it was still a night for Spurs to remember.

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