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.
Mauricio Pochettino made two changes from the team that started in the derby win against Arsenal on Saturday - Aurier was back for Kieran Trippier and there was a first Champions League start of the campaign for Erik Lamela, who came in for Heung-Min Son. Trippier and Son were both on the bench, along with Paulo Gazzaniga who replaced the ill Michel Vorm.
GOAL: JUVENTUS 1-0 SPURS – GONZALO HIGUAIN – 2mins
We made the worst possible start to the tie, going behind less than 90 seconds into the contest. Mousa Dembele brought down Pjanic midway inside our half as the Italians started to build an attack, Pjanic took the set piece, clipped in a ball and Higuain volleyed home on the spin from 15 yards out.
GOAL: JUVENTUS 2-0 SPURS – GONZALO HIGUAIN (PENALTY) – 9mins
It got even worse seven minutes later. The ball was played into the area which Bernardeschi got to first, only for Davies to upend him and the referee award the spot-kick. Higuain stepped up and sent his penalty to Lloris’ right, the French goalkeeper getting a good hand to the ball but unable to keep it out.
SAVE: BUFFON BRILLIANCE KEEPS OUT KANE – 26mins
We responded really well to the double setback and completely dominated possession for the next 20 minutes or so. Clear-cut chances were hard to come by, though, until the 26th minute when Eriksen sent over the perfect cross for Kane, whose header from six yards out was superbly saved by Buffon. Then, Dele found himself in on goal, only for Mattia De Sciglio to time his tackle to perfection and deny him. But we were always susceptible to the counter-attack and nearly got caught out on 29 minutes, Pjanic and Higuain combining again, the latter firing wide.
Above: Serge Aurier wins a header.
GOAL: JUVENTUS 2-1 SPURS – HARRY KANE - 35mins
We kept playing our football and were pinning the home side in their own half, finally getting our reward on 35 minutes with a fine goal. Dele collected possession 40 yards from goal, Kane immediately made his run off the shoulder of the last defender and was found with a lovely ball, allowing him to go around Buffon and slot into an empty net for a vital away goal. The goal just gave us more confidence and Eriksen tried his luck from distance, his swerving shot parried away by the Juventus goalkeeper and cleared to safety.
PENALTY: HIGUAIN HITS THE BAR – 45+1mins
Despite almost half an hour of total dominance, we were so nearly undone right on the stroke of half-time. Juve broke down the left through Douglas Costa who burst into the area and was brought down by Aurier, the referee again having no choice but to award a penalty. Higuain took the spot-kick again, hoping for a first-half hat-trick, but smashed his effort against the crossbar and the whistle blew for half-time immediately after.
GOAL: JUVENTUS 2-2 SPURS – CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN – 72mins
The second half opened with much less drama than the first although it was the hosts with a couple of chances to score just before the hour mark. First, Higuain laid the ball wide right to Bernardeschi, who cut onto his left and fired towards the far corner but Lloris tipped it away for a corner. Pjanic took the set-piece, Mandzukic met it with a header which was straight at Lloris. At the other end, Buffon saved Kane’s 25-yard drive before we levelled it up on 72 minutes. Dele was fouled by Giorgio Chiellini 25 yards from goal, up stepped Eriksen and his low right-footed free-kick arrowed into the bottom corner of Buffon’s goal.
SAVE: LLORIS KEEPS IT LEVEL – 77mins
If we were expecting a final onslaught from the home side as they searched for a winner, it never materialised. We stayed strong and composed in the final minutes, limiting Juventus to few chances. On the one occasion they did get a sight of goal, Lloris was equal to Bernardeschi’s drive, denying him at his near post. That was the end of the action as we saw out the closing stages in relative comfort to round off a superb team display.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO SAID
"It was a fantastic performance, if only we put out the first 10 minutes but from there, the team dominated and played some amazing football. I’m so pleased with the character and personality, it was fantastic. The team deserves a lot of praise. We scored twice against a team that is always difficult to break down. We played great football. We’re so happy."
CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN SAID
"We had a lot of chances but with the start in mind, the first nine minutes, we can be very happy with the result in the end. I don't think Juventus minded us having the possession but we had a good balance and won the ball back quickly, and that's what we had to do."
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Lamela (Lucas 89), Dele (Son 84), Eriksen (Wanyama 90+2), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Trippier, Rose, Sissoko.
Juventus (4-2-3-1): Buffon (c), De Sciglio, Benatia, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Khedira (Bentancur 66), Pjanic, Bernardeschi, Douglas Costa (Asamoah 90+2), Mandzukic (Sturaro 76), Higuain. Substitutes (not used): Szczesny, Rugani, Marchisio, Muratore.
Goals: Juventus – Higuain 2, 9 (pen); Spurs – Kane 35, Eriksen 72.
Yellow cards: Juventus – Benatia, Higuain, Bentancur; Spurs – Davies, Aurier.
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany).
MAN OF THE MATCH
Mousa Dembele was named Man of the Match by our supporters, with 57 per cent of the votes on social media.
The FA Cup returns this weekend as we head north to take on Rochdale at Spotland. The League One side – currently second bottom in the division – reached the fifth round stage thanks to 4-0 wins over non-league Bromley and Slough, a 1-0 away success at Doncaster Rovers before beating Championship side Millwall 1-0 at home after a 2-2 draw at The Den. Kick-off on Sunday is at 4pm.