Champions League: Juventus enter quarters after stunning fightback against Tottenham; Manchester City through despite loss

London: Juventus staged a stunning fightback against Tottenham to reach the Champions League quarter-finals 4-3 on aggregate after Paulo Dybala sealed a dramatic 2-1 win in the last 16, second leg on Wednesday.

Juventus striker Paulo Dybala celebrates after scoring team's second goal against Tottenham. AFP

Juventus striker Paulo Dybala celebrates after scoring team's second goal against Tottenham. AFP

Massimiliano Allegri's side were on the brink of elimination after Son Heung-Min's first-half strike put Tottenham ahead at Wembley.

But, despite being completely outplayed in the opening period, Juventus buckled down after the break and equalised through Gonzalo Higuain.

That was the decisive moment as Tottenham suddenly went to pieces, allowing the Italian champions to score again two minutes and 49 seconds later as Dybala punished poor defending with a cool finish.

It was an epic escape act from Juventus, who remain on course to reach a third Champions League final in four seasons after twice finishing as runners-up.

The two-time European champions have enjoyed some memorable moments in the competition, but coming back from the brink against such in-form opposition will rank as one of their finest hours.

Crashing out after having the tie in their hands was a bitter pill for Tottenham to swallow and once again raised questions about their ability to win major trophies.

Mauricio Pochettino's men had put Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal to the sword at Wembley this season, producing eye-catching displays that their manager claimed had earned them the respect of Europe's superpowers.

But Tottenham's frustrating tradition of hitting a high note before receiving a painful reality check returned to haunt them in the most painful fashion.

Pochettino had spoken this week about how he dreamed of leading the team to silverware.

Instead, Juventus turned Pochettino's evening into a nightmare.

Tottenham were in control early on and Harry Kane tricked two Juventus defenders with a muscular turn before feeding Son, whose low strike was repelled by Gianluigi Buffon.

Despite a torrid opening, Juventus felt they should have had a penalty when Douglas Costa surged away from Jan Vertonghen.

But when Vertonghen's challenge sent the Juventus winger crashing to the turf, referee Szymon Marciniak controversially waved play on.

Still seething over that decision, Juventus were ragged at the back when Son forced Buffon to palm out his header from Kieran Trippier's cross.

Son was fuming after being stamped on by Andrea Barzagli and, determined to exact retribution, he embarked on a powerful run that ended with a shot that flashed narrowly wide.

He didn't have to wait long for the ultimate revenge as Son put Tottenham ahead in the 39th minute.

The South Korea forward has a knack of scoring at Wembley, but few will have been more fortuitous than his 14th goal at Tottenham's temporary home.

When Trippier whipped a low cross towards the far post, Son got his feet in a tangle and miscued his shot onto his standing left leg, with the deflection somehow lifting the ball over Buffon and into the net.

Having got their reward for bossing the game, Tottenham were nearly punished when Miralem Pjanic smashed just wide before half-time.

That escape foreshadowed the anguish to come for Tottenham.

So poor in the first half, Juventus showed more far desire and drive after the interval.

They nearly equalised when Argentine forward Dybala fired over after sloppy Tottenham defending gifted him a sight of goal.

It was a warning Tottenham failed to heed and the visitors drew level in the 64th minute with their first effort on target.

Stephan Lichtsteiner crossed to Sami Khedira and when he flicked towards Higuain, the Argentine striker perfectly timed his run past the statuesque Spurs defence and headed home with ease.

For the first time all night, Tottenham were anxious and Juventus went for the kill three minutes later.

Higuain's pass dissected Tottenham's poorly-executed offside trap and Dybala ran through to drill a cool finish past Hugh Lloris.

Tottenham laid siege to the Juventus goal in the final stages, but the visitors defended heroically and rode their luck when Kane's header hit a post before being scooped off the line by Barzagli.

Man City reach last eight despite Basel defeat

Manchester City secured their place in the Champions League quarter-finals, but did little to enhance their tag as favourites to win the competition as a much-changed side suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat by Basel.

Despite losing for just the fourth time all season, the runaway Premier League leaders still cruised through 5-2 on aggregate after doing the hard work in Switzerland three weeks ago.

City manager Pep Guardiola could afford the luxury of making six changes from Sunday's dominant 1-0 win over Chelsea, but still saw his side extend their aggregate advantage early on when Gabriel Jesus tapped home after just eight minutes.

However, Mohamed Elyounoussi exposed some slack City defending to smash in an equaliser for the Swiss champions nine minutes later before Michael Lang rocketed home a spectacular winner 19 minutes from time.

City could have the Premier League mathematically wrapped up by the time they are next in Champions League action in early April.

And on this evidence they will need the likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva to be well-rested and in-form if they are to deliver the dream of their Abu Dhabi owners by winning the European Cup for a first time as a number of youngsters and fringe players failed to impress.

Leroy Sane was one of few regular starters retained in Guardiola's starting XI and continued his supreme form by creating the opener.

Jesus hadn't started since suffering knee ligament damage on New Years' Eve, but had the simplest of tasks to get back among the goals when Bernardo Silva latched onto Sane's pass to produce a inch-perfect low cross for the Brazilian.

City should have gone even further in front as Silva's shot from a dangerous Sane cut-back was blocked before Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik made a fine block to deny Ilkay Gundogan his third goal of the tie.

However, a minute later Basel were level as Blas Riveros burst down the left and his deflected cross was dispatched powerfully past Claudio Bravo by Elyounoussi.

The Norwegian then had a great chance to put Basel in front on the half hour mark when he miscued horribly wide with just Bravo to beat after outmuscling Danilo.

Guardiola grew visibly frustrated on the touchline as his side also started the second period slowly.

And they were punished when Elyounoussi's low cross was blasted past Bravo at his near post from a narrow angle by Lang.

Substitute Brahim Diaz came closest to a reply but his low driven effort was turned behind by Vaclik to consign City to a first home defeat since December 2016.

Published Date: Mar 08, 2018 03:52 AM | Updated Date: Mar 08, 2018 03:52 AM

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