Spurs narrowly make it to the UCL round of 16

They say the road to success is always under construction. You have to tackle adversity in order to achieve greatness. Yet as Tottenham’s players shuffled dejectedly down the tunnel at the halfway point in southern France, it looked awfully like Spurs’ misfortune was going to be Marseille’s ultimate gain.


Manager Antonio Conte was consigned to the stands, Heung-Min Son had been forced off with a facial injury and they had conceded yet another poor first-half goal. Spurs were heading out. They failed to make a single touch in Marseille’s penalty area during the first 45 minutes – almost as if they had forgotten where the goal was entirely. It was all unravelling before Conte’s eyes, and he was powerless to stop it.


Tuesday’s Group D conclusion was a wild ride. The writing was on the wall for Spurs, but for a spirited second-half display which saw Rodrigo Bentancur drag his side kicking and screaming over the finish line.


The Spurs fans sing about him being the reason they are playing on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s this season. Well, he remains that reason.


Staring elimination square in the face, the Uruguayan dug deep, taking up a position in a more advanced area in support of Harry Kane and Lucas Moura. It worked. They ditched the nervy demeanour and began to take the game to their hosts.


Spurs’ secret weapon, set-piece coach Gianni Vio, once again earned his keep as Ivan Perisic’s free-kick was nodded in by Clement Lenglet to spark the comeback.