Lloris saves Spurs as Bayer Leverkusen frustrated in stalemate with Tottenham
Champions League, Group E, BayArena, Bayer Leverkusen 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0
A miraculous reaction save by Hugo Lloris saved Tottenham as Spurs earned a 0-0 draw away at Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.
Javier Hernandez slid onto a cross into the six-yard box just before the hour mark, but Lloris managed to get a hand to the ball as it looked certain to pass underneath his body.
It was Spurs who were the better side before the break, having an early ‘goal’ correctly ruled out for offside and causing the home defence plenty of problems.
The closest the visitors came to making that first-half dominance count was a Vincent Janssen header that struck the bar, followed seconds later by an Erik Lamela follow-up that was tipped over, but after the break it was all-change.
The English side failed to register a single shot on target as a tactical reshuffle by Leverkusen saw them take complete control of the match and muster up a string of attempts, while only a combination of wayward finishing and an inspired performed by Lloris could deny Bayer.
Tottenham were fortunate not to lose on the balance of play, but the result is a fine point in a tough match for Mauricio Pochettino's men.
Where does this leave Group E?
Monaco’s equaliser against CSKA means that they remain top of the pile at the halfway stage, but Tottenham are hot on their heels and have already got arguably the two more daunting away trips out of the way as the teams turn and head for home. The result in the next meeting between Leverkusen and Spurs at Wembley feels like it will be pivotal in how this group unfolds. Lose and the Londoners will be up against it, but get a draw or a win and they will fancy themselves to pick up at least four points from the final two games to stand an excellent chance of progression. This is turning out to be a fascinating group, with four talented but fallible teams who are not far off each other’s level. On merit it would probably be the Germans and the English who look like the best two teams, but it’s advantage Monaco as things stand.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur) – The save at the start of the second half to deny Chicharito was astonishing in its level of quality and athleticism and went almost unnoticed in the furore over whether the ball had crossed the line. It wasn’t the last time that Lloris was called into action, although none of his saves reached the standard of that first one. It should be mentioned that his opposite number was excellent too, denying Lamela with a particularly fine stop in the first half.
Spurs: Lloris 8, Trippier 6, Dier 6, Vertonghen 7, Rose 6, Wanyama 6, Alli 7, Lamela 6, Eriksen 6, Son 6, Janssen 6. Subs: Dembele 6, Sissoko 6, Onomah 6.
27 – WIDE – Awesome strength from Wanyama sees him hold off the attention of three Leverkusen midfielders, and he follows it up with a lovely pass to send Trippier clear. The full-back's cross is on its way towards Son on the far side of the box... until Alli arrives like a train and heads narrowly wide. He may have been better leaving it for Son, but nevertheless that was a great chance for the youngster, who looks disappointed he didn't at least direct his powerful attempt on target.
38 – CROSSBAR – How are Tottenham not ahead?! Janssen's superb header crashes back off the woodwork and the keeper does brilliantly to get back to his feet and produce a finger-tip save to push Lamela's goal-bound follow-up over the bar.
43 – DENIED – Janssen produces a sumptuous flick to put himself in space on the by-line and his dangerous low cross is arrowing towards Eriksen before a vital touch sends it behind for a corner.
48 – SAVE – This is an absolutely huge moment! Leverkusen think they've taken the lead as Chicharito meets a cross at the far post, but Lloris pulls off a miraculous save and the official on the line rules that the ball didn't cross the line. The Bayer striker can barely believe it, but replays suggest that the official got the decision right.
62 – SAVE – Lloris makes another good save to palm a shot from range around the post.
68 – SAVE – It's another save by Lloris, who is fortunate that Toprak's header was straight at him.
84 – WIDE – A low cross finds Kiessling yards from goal, but Dier does just enough to put the striker off and his shot flies wide.
STATS AND FACTS
Tottenham failed to create a chance or register an attempt at goal in the second half vs. Bayer Leverkusen.
Only two of Tottenham's 43 shots in the Champions League this season have found the net.