Spurs 1-0 Man City: 6 Talking Points As Son Heung-min Fires Hosts To Victory

Son Heung-min fired Tottenham to a 1-0 win over Manchester City on a historic first European night at their new stadium.

The South Korean attacker slammed home a powerful strike with just over 10 minutes remaining to give them a slender advantage in a delicately poised all-English Champions League quarter-final.

There was a sense of anticipation in the air but a crowd of 60,044 were forced to wait a long time for the deadlock to be broken.

They were also left with a major worry over star striker Harry Kane after he limped off with an ankle injury.

City were left ruing a penalty miss from Sergio Aguero as his spot kick within the first quarter of an hour was well-saved by Hugo Lloris in a massive moment before Maurico Pochettino’s side claimed a dramatic success on the night.

Here’s five talking points from an intriguing tactical battle between the two Premier League rivals as they battle for European glory.

1) Son steps up again

Son Heung-min is getting a knack of scoring big goals for Spurs.

The home side looked to be up against it and holding on when he refused to give up on a ball that looked to be running out of play after failing to control the initial through ball.

He just kept the ball in play before cutting inside to fire beyond Ederson and give Spurs a hard-fought victory.

The South Korean now has two from two at their new stadium and is stepping up when needed for the Pochettino’s side.

He’s already equalled his 18-goal haul from last season having played 13 fewer games, showing his progress.

His role could be more important than ever with Harry Kane limping off, and five of his last six goals have come when Kane has not been on the pitch…

2) Huge Kane concern

Tottenham suffered a major blow just before the hour mark as Harry Kane limped off in serious discomfort with an ankle injury.

Kane hobbled straight down the tunnel, not putting any weight on his left ankle, after a collision with Fabian Delph on the sideline.

The England striker is vital to Spurs and the manner of his exit sparked instant fears he could be out for the rest of the season.

They will face an anxious wait to discover the full extent of the damage, but Kane’s withdrawal marked a major blow not only to their Champions League hopes, but also their Premier League top four bid.

City started to take control of the game when he went off before Son scored against the run of play, and they’ll need to find a way to cope without him if he is ruled out of the second leg.

3) Winks and Sissoko step up for Spurs

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino got his tactics spot on in the first half.

He deployed Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko in the centre of the park, with an attacking quartet of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Heung-min Son tasked with breaking down Manchester City.

The duo were given a tough task of tracking City’s floating runners and protecting their back line but they demonstrated discipline and composure to make things tough for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Spurs looked rock solid at the back, but much of that was down to the dirty work done in front of them by two players who broke up play and fed their creative outlets.

4) City miss Bernardo Silva

Manchester City were dealt a blow just before the game as Bernardo Silva was ruled out with a thigh injury in training yesterday.

The Portuguese star travelled with the squad but Pep Guardiola made a late call to leave him out entirely.

It became apparent just how vital the in-form midfielder has been for City this season.

His creativity was missed as Riyad Mahrez was largely kept quiet and the visitors relied heavily on feeding Raheem Sterling as their creative outlet.

Silva is clearly a key cog in Guardiola’s machine and they’ll be hoping he’s back and fully fit not only for the second leg but for the rest of the season.

5) VAR controversy

The use of VAR continues to divide opinion in the Champions League knockout stages.

Since being introduced after the conclusion of the group stages, plenty of big decisions have been made by the video assistant.

It was again a talking point in the clash between Tottenham and Manchester City, as the visitors were awarded an early penalty for handball against Danny Rose.

The incident seemed fairly innocuous as Rose dived to block a Raheem Sterling shot, but the decision was reviewed and the referee eventually pointed to the spot.

UEFA are clearly determined to police the handball rule strongly and we’re seeing a major impact in the Champions League.

VAR also saw City concede a controversial penalty in Schalke in the last-16 as well as handing Manchester United the chance to beat Paris Saint-Germain late on.

Hugo Lloris expertly saved Aguero’s spot kick, but the awarding of the penalty in the first place split opinion regarding the role VAR is currently playing in the premier European competition.

VAR was initially believed to be introduced to eliminate clear mistakes – but borderline, subjective decisions are being overturned with the way the system is currently being used.

6) Lloris has Aguero’s number

Controversy surrounded the awarding of the penalty, but when Aguero stepped up almost everyone expected him to score.

It wasn’t a bad penalty from the Argentinian, but Hugo Lloris got down to his left and made an outstanding stop to keep his team level.

It seems the Frenchman has Aguero’s number as far as penalties are concerned.

He’s now the only keeper in Europe to deny Aguero more than once from the spot.

Lloris has been phenomenal against penalties recently – stopping his last three spot-kicks by also denying Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Jamie Vardy since the turn of the year.


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