It’s a Mouracle! Spurs going all the way to the final
Dramatic Champions League comeback means Mauricio Pochettino's men will face Liverpool in the final
08 May, 2019 — By Dan Carrier
Semi-Final, Second Leg
AJAX 2 (De Ligt 5, Ziyech 35)
SPURS 3 (Moura 55, 59, 90+6)
(3-3 on aggregate, Spurs win on away goals)
MAURICIO Pochettino had to fight back the tears after seeing Spurs pull off an astonishing fightback to beat Ajax 3-2 last night (Wednesday) and set up an all-English Champions League final against Liverpool.
Lucas Moura was the hero, scoring a second-half hat-trick at the Johan Cruijff Arena including a dramatic 96th-minute winner. It meant that Tottenham, trailing 1-0 from the first leg, won 3-2 in Amsterdam, drawing 3-3 on aggregate to book a place in their first Champions League final.
“Thank you, football, thank you to my players,” said Pochettino, who dropped down to his knees in tears after the final whistle.
“Without football I think it is impossible to live, I am so emotional.
“To achieve this amazing moment is fantastic, it’s difficult to describe in words.
“We showed passion, and our love for the sport. We want to thank the fans, and everyone who believed in us, they have all been amazing.”
Having seen Liverpool stage a mesmeric comeback on Tuesday night by overturning a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona to book their place in the final, Tottenham fans had every reason to be hopeful.
That hope, however, was severely tested within five minutes when Matthijs de Ligt all too easily lost Kieran Trippier and beat Dele Alli in the air to head home Lasse Schöne’s corner.
Pochettino’s side almost came up with the perfect response as Spurs went straight down the other end of the pitch and almost equalised. Heung-Min Son drove into the box from wide on the left and put in a cross-cum-shot that beat Andre Onana and hit the base of the post.
Just after the half-hour mark the energetic Donny van de Beek – the match winner in the first leg – found Dusan Tadic on the left, and the former Southampton midfielder caressed the ball to Hakim Ziyech, who whipped a first-time shot past Hugo Lloris.
The miracle mission became mission impossible. Or did it?
Spurs had to go for it, and go for it they did as Moura suddenly took centre stage.
The Brazilian pulled a goal back on 55 minutes when he sprinted through a gap in the Ajax defence and met Alli’s pass, danced into the penalty area and slid the ball past Andre Onana.
Four minutes later it was 2-2 on the night. Fernando Llorente, who came on as a half-time substitute, was somehow denied at point-blank range by Onana, but the ball fell for Moura, who spun and slammed a shot into the back of the net.
Then, with time all but over, Moura struck again, turning to fire home an unforgettable winner on an unforgettable night.
“My players are all heroes,” beamed Pochettino, “but Lucas is my superhero.”
AJAX: Onana, Mazraoui, De Ligt, Blind, Tagliafico, Schone (Veltman, 60), De Jong, Ziyech, Van de Beek (Magallan, 90), Dolberg (Sinkgraven, 67), Tadic
Substitutes not used: Varela, De Wit, Dolberg, Huntelaar
SPURS: Lloris, Trippier (Lamela, 81), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose (Davies, 82), Wanyama (Llorente, 45), Sissoko, Eriksen, Alli, Lucas, Son
Substitutes not used: Gazzaniga, Foyth, Dier, Skipp