Christian Eriksen’s wonderful free-kick saw us recover from an early two-goal setback to register a fantastic 2-2 draw against Juventus at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Danish midfielder scored in the 72nd minute after Harry Kane had pulled a goal back in the first period, having seen Juventus race into a 2-0 lead inside the opening nine minutes of the first leg of this Champions League last 16 tie. It was the first time the Serie A side had ever lost a two-goal lead at their stadium since they moved there in 2011.
It wasn’t a good start on a cold night in Turin as we fell behind in the second minute when Miralem Pjanic’s free-kick was met on the volley by Gonzalo Higuain. And the Argentinian striker doubled his side’s lead seven minutes later from the penalty spot. Ben Davies brought down Federico Bernardeschi inside the area, referee Felix Brych awarded the spot kick and Higuain beat Hugo Lloris from 12 yards.
But we showed tremendous character after that, enjoying the lion’s share of possession for the remainder of the half and, after Kane had seen a close-range header well saved by Gianluigi Buffon, he pulled a goal back after latching onto Dele Alli’s through ball, rounding the keeper and slotting into an empty net. That was Kane’s ninth goal in nine Champions League matches and also the first goal Juventus had conceded in 2018.
Eriksen tested Buffon from distance as we continued to dominate the half, but Higuain had the chance to make it 3-1 on the stroke of half-time. However, he could only fire his penalty against the crossbar after Serge Aurier had upended Douglas Costa.
After the break, Lloris made a fine fingertip save to deny Bernardeschi’s angled drive and then kept out Mario Mandzukic’s header before we levelled the scores on 72 minutes. Eriksen stepped up to take a 25-yard free-kick and drove into the bottom corner with Buffon beaten.
Having recovered the two-goal deficit, we then took the sting out of the game in the remaining minutes and held on to ensure we head back to London in the driving seat ahead of the second leg at Wembley on March 7.