The Warm-Up: Tottenham thrash Juventus...2-2
Plus: Manchester City go on a swiss stroll, Patrice Evra is adorable and some Gunnersaurus fan art.
WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Tottenham thrash Juventus 2-2
Granted, saying Tottenham were brilliant against Juventus apart from the opening eight minutes when they conceded two goals, is a bit like saying the car journey went brilliantly apart from the bit where it burst into flames. But – and stick with this – their 2-2 draw in Turin, particularly the circumstances in which it was achieved, might have been more valuable than a victory.
Things like those first eight minutes can happen. It’s not ideal, but a careless moment here, a foul there, and when the opposition have got Gonzalo Higuain in their team, you’re bang in trouble. But perhaps roared on by some sense of injustice or motivated by the shame of those opening minutes, Tottenham were sensational from that point on.
Harry Kane did what Harry Kane does, then Christian Eriksen did what Christian Eriksen does. Two goals of, respectively, unfussy ruthlessness and unfussy invention, they summed up the players that scored them rather nicely. In the end, despite being very much behind the eight ball there, Tottenham dominated, and are set up nicely for the second leg.
“Today only I can praise the team,” said Mauricio Pochettino afterwards. “The energy was amazing and big congratulations to the players because the performance was fantastic but the energy was amazing. Because 2-0 down in this situation always you need more energy to try to do the same.”
Man City go on a stroll in Basel
No such adversity for Manchester City, who blew Basel away like they were a piece of tissue paper which they set about with a flame thrower. Apart from an early scare when Nicholas Otamendi looked like he had conceded a penalty, City made short work of their opponents and are now 99% in the quarter-finals.
Ilkay Gundogan got two, Sergio Aguero another and Bernardo Silva another still as City won 4-0, a win that while expected must be applauded for its emphaticness. Is that a word? It is now.
“It’s an amazing result in the last-16 of this competition,” Pep Guardiola said after the game. “The Champions League is 180 minutes, but we are almost there. I’m not saying it’s done, because in football anything can happen, but it’s an amazing result. I’m delighted, and now we prepare for Wigan.”
A cold bucket of reality water to the face with that last bit there.
Ryan Mason forced to retire due to head injury
A year ago we feared that Ryan Mason’s life might be in danger, so in some respects the news that he has ‘merely’ lost his career is a mercy. But, for a young, talented midfielder to have to retire so prematurely is undoubtedly tragic, or at least a form of tragedy.
What’s been notable since Mason made his announcement is the almost universal affection shown towards him by more or less everyone he’s come into contact with. Jesus Perez tweeted a message to him, Gary Cahill – the man involved in the incident that ultimately ended Mason’s career – did the same, and perhaps most significantly Mauricio Pochettino took time after Tottenham’s draw with Juventus to say a few words.
“Ryan has been at the training ground in recent days,” he said. “We have been talking to him with John McDermott. He will be successful in whatever he does. He will always be a special player for me. He represents for me this change in all when we arrived at Tottenham. The door is always open to help him, us, the coaching staff and the club because we love him. Don’t worry Ryan, you’re going to be a successful person outside of the club.”
IN OTHER NEWS
Patrice Evra is adorable
We’ve checked, double-checked, run the figures dozens of times, and it turns out that it really is impossible to dislike Patrice Evra.
We take no responsibility for the harm this may cause
We have very little to say.
Liverpool have played Porto a couple of times before, the last time being in 2007 on the way to the Champions League final. Here are all the goals from that run, featuring lots of Peter Crouch, a couple of absolute blooters from John Arne Riise and, obviously, Mark Gonzalez. There’s a name you haven’t thought about in a while, eh?
More Champions League! More! More! We want more! It’s the really big one tonight, as Neymar and the boys go to meet Cristiano’s mob (Real Madrid vs Paris St Germain, if you want to be formal about it), while the supporting act sees Liverpool face Porto. Should be good.
Tomorrow’s Warm-Up will be brought to you by Jack Lang, whooooooah Black Betty, Jackie Lang.