Follow Us:



Champions League: Brave Tottenham Hotspur hold Real Madrid

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino’s gamble paid off as the Lilywhites registered a creditable draw!

SNS | New Delhi |


Defending champions Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in an enthralling UEFA Champions League Group H game at the Santiago Bernabeu.

In-form, Spurs striker had forced own goal off Raphael Varane in the 28th minute to give the visitors a shock lead before Real’s talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, with a levelled proceedings two minutes from half-time with a cooly-dispatched penalty.

Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid CF, UEFA Champions League
The Bernabeu was packed on the night! (Photo: AFP)


Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino didn’t field a natural winger in his starting XI but even more surprisingly, the Argentine started forwards Harry Kane and Fernando Llorente together for the first time this season.

Zinedine Zidane, without the services of the injured Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal, gave teenaged right-back Achraf Hakimi a Champions League debut but otherwise, his 4-3-3 formation didn’t have any other surprises.


Real Madrid CF, UEFA Champions League
Real’s starting XI on the night! (Photo: AFP)

Real started the match on the front foot and nearly took the lead via Ronaldo, but the Portuguese forward’s header came off the post and while the rebound fell to Karim Benzema, the Frenchman could not direct his shot on target.

Spurs would then go close to breaking the deadlock, with Kane’s powerful header seemingly goal bound only for Keylor Navas to tip it over the bar.

The hosts were dominating possession but Spurs were looking dangerous on the break and took the lead after right-back Serge Aurier bombed down the flank and sent in a sizzling cross for Kane. The in-form English striker didn’t get the slightest of touches but it didn’t matter as the ball came off his marker Varane and flew into the goal.

Real upped the tempo and pressed for an immediate equaliser but as half-time neared, it looked like Spurs would go into the interval with a slender lead.

However, as Toni Kroos made a run into the box after a well-worked move from Los Blancos, he was brought down by the backtracking Aurier and referee Szymon Marciniak promptly pointed to the spot.

Ronaldo, the tournament’s all-time top scorer, stepped up and sent Lloris the wrong way to register his fifth Champions League goal of the season.

After the break, Real had a twenty minute period of total dominance and really should have scored once at least but a combination of their own profilgacy and the brilliance of Hugo Lloris in the Spurs goal denied them.

Ronaldo, as usual, was at the forefront of the proceedings but try as he might, was unable to breach Lloris’ goal for a second time.

Tottenham Hotspur FC, UEFA Champions League, Hugo Lloris
Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris was easily the visitors’ best player on the night! (Photo: AFP)


Spurs had a chance to take the lead again when Llorente’s first-time pass to strike-partner Kane split the Real defence open but for once, the striker’s finishing was not up to the mark.

Harry Kane, UEFA Champions League, Tottenham Hotspur FC
Kane knew he had squandered a golden opportunity! (Photo: AFP)


With the result, the teams remain level at the top of Group H with seven points after three matches and are almost certain of qualifying to the next stage.

For Borussia Dortmund, the third-ranked side in the group, could only draw 1-1 with Apoel Nicosia in the other Group H game on the night and the Bundesliga side have only one point from three matches now.