Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Son Heung-min proved the scourge of Borussia Dortmund again as his late winner ensured Tottenham will go through to the Champions League last 16 as group winners.

Spurs fell behind to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first-half strike but Harry Kane equalised with his sixth goal of the tournament before a brilliant bit of Dele Alli trickery set up Son to seal a 2-1 victory.

The South Korean now has eight goals in 10 games against Dortmund, a record that stretches across three different clubs – Hamburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Tottenham.

Few of those strikes are likely to have been as important as this one, however, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side now guaranteed to go through first in Group H with one game to spare, ahead of European champions Real Madrid.

The result also comes as a timely boost to morale following Saturday’s gut-wrenching defeat at Arsenal.

When Tottenham last visited the bouncing Westfalenstadion, they were the underdogs in a Europa League tie they took little interest in and the German outfit ended up winning 5-1 on aggregate.

Now, Spurs head into the Champions League knock-out stages, having not only brushed aside Dortmund home and away, but also Madrid. They will be a dark horse when the draw is made next month.

Pochettino had suggested some players would be rested but he picked a strong line-up that included Kane and Alli, both recently injured, as well as Danny Rose, whose future was again thrown into doubt after he was not even on the bench for Saturday’s north London derby.

As for Dortmund, Aubameyang was recalled after being dropped for disciplinary reasons and former Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa started in midfield.

Son skipped in behind early on but dwelt too long on the finish before an ever better chance fell to Aubameyang. The striker, played onside by Rose, had only Hugo Lloris to beat but scuffed wide.

After an even start, Tottenham lost their way and in the 31st minute, Aubameyang struck. Andriy Yarmolenko’s backheel allowed him again to bear down on Lloris and this time he made no mistake, drilling into the far corner.

Aubameyang, the hero, could quickly have become the villain had referee Clement Turpin or his assistant referee seen the swipe he took at Davinson Sanchez, who, to his credit, made little of it.

Spurs twice went close before half-time as Christian Eriksen’s shot was blocked after an excellent Rose cutback and then from the resulting corner, Eric Dier’s header was brilliantly kept out by Roman Burki.

Dortmund still just about deserved their lead at the break but Tottenham carried their momentum into the second half and within four minutes had an equaliser.

It was only half a chance but that was all Kane needed. He shifted the ball out of his feet on the edge of the area and guided it inside the post for his 16th goal in 14 club games this season.

From there it was all Spurs, Eriksen, Alli and the busy Harry Winks controlling possession and restricting Dortmund to the occasional foray on the break.

The hosts looked on course for a draw but, 14 minutes from time, Alli danced between two defenders out wide, drove into the box and laid on Son. He took one touch before planting it in the top corner.

Eriksen should have made it three with a header and substitute Fernando Llorente spurned a one-on-one with a heavy touch. It mattered little and after the final whistle, Rose made a point of going over to applaud his jubilant fans.

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