Sport

Spurs hold firm to deny Real Madrid and claim a historic point

Tottenham Hotspur put in a gutsy performance against reigning European champions Real Madrid on Tuesday evening, with only a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty coming between them and a famous victory at the Bernabeu.

Going into the game it is fair to say that the stats were not on Spurs’ side. The Londoners had never even scored against ‘Los Blancos’ let alone won against them, whilst only two English sides had ever emerged from the Bernabeu victorious.

Spurs looked set to join the long list of fallen English giants at the home of ‘Los Blancos’ early on, with Real the first to threaten after just five minutes when Cristiano Ronaldo came the width of the post from putting the hosts ahead.

Achraf Hakimi kept the ball alive at the back post, crossing first time for the Portuguese who steered a header against the woodwork, before Karim Benzema fired the rebound wide with the goal at his mercy.

Ronaldo went close again after 17 minutes when he shifted the ball away from his marker on the edge of the box and fired a low effort narrowly wide of the far post.

However, the visitors grew into the game quickly at this point. Kane called Keylor Navas into action with a header from a corner and whilst that was fairly routing stuff, there was nothing the Costa Rican could do ten minutes later as Spurs took a shock lead.

Serge Aurier crossed low from the right and as Kane attempted to back-heel the ball goalwards it took a significant deflection off Raphael Varane and flew past Navas for Spurs’ first ever goal against Real.

Aurier, clearly spurred on by his role in the goal then took aim from range but Navas got across to push his low effort wide.

Normal service was resumed at this point as Real took control of possession once again.

Zinedine Zidane’s side probed but when their chance came it was handed to them on a silver platter.

Aurier halted Kroos’ march towards goal in robust fashion and the referee was left with no option but to point to the spot. The Frenchman was booked for his troubles and Cristiano Ronaldo did the rest, sending Hugo Lloris the wrong way from the spot to send the two teams into the break level.

The second half started much as the first finished, with Real well in control.

A spell of Real pressure ensued with Lloris being forced into a tremendous save. Casemiro was afforded time and space to cross down the right and Benzema, unmarked in the middle, rose to meet his centre. The crowd waited for the net to bulge, only to see the flying Frenchman Lloris deny his compatriot with his his feet.

The Spurs goalkeeper was against forced into action shortly afterwards to keep out two powerful efforts from Ronaldo as the game opened up somewhat.

Spurs were starting to look a threat on the counter-attack at this stage and Kane perhaps should have given the visitors the lead and maybe even a shock victory after 71 minutes after being played in by Llorente but Navas produced a fine save down to his left as the England man looked to shape the ball into the far corner from 12 yards.

The Costa Rican had a busy spell a Spurs mustered a late flurry of chances. Christian Eriksen was the next to go close as his effort from a narrow angle was beaten away by Navas and when the Real stopper was eventually beaten, Davinson Sanchez’s header from the penalty spot dropped inches wide on his left-hand post.

Real regained control of the game going into the final 10 minutes but in the end they were left ruing Benzema’s two misses as the game petered out into a draw.

Spurs will undoubtedly be the happier of the two sides as they proved that they have the steely resilience to match their fluid approach.

The result leaves both sides joint on seven points at the top of Group H ahead of the reverse fixture at Wembley in two weeks’ time.

Spurs hold firm to deny Real Madrid and claim a historic point
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