The Malta Independent 25 June 2018, Monday

Champions League: Juventus come back to beat Spurs, City advance despite Basel loss

Wednesday, 7 March 2018, 23:19 Last update: about 5 months ago
Juventus' Paulo Dybala, right, celebrates with his teammate Gonzalo Higuain after scoring his side second goal during the Champions League, round of 16, second-leg soccer match between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur, at the Wembley Stadium in London, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Juventus' Paulo Dybala, right, celebrates with his teammate Gonzalo Higuain after scoring his side second goal during the Champions League, round of 16, second-leg soccer match between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur, at the Wembley Stadium in London, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala scored twice inside three minutes as Juventus stunned Tottenham to reach the Champions League quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday.

Building on the 2-2 draw secured in Turin in the last-16 first leg, Tottenham was in control against last season's finalists in the first half when Son Heung-min scored at Wembley Stadium.

Juventus' Gonzalo Higuain scores his side first goal during the Champions League, round of 16, second-leg soccer match between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur, at the Wembley Stadium in London, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)


But Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino failed to respond to the tactical shift after Juventus' substitutions in the second half and was left reeling when a pair of fellow Argentines ended the north London team's European campaign. Juventus advanced 4-3 on aggregate.

Higuain began the comeback in the 64th minute from close range and then created the winner, holding off three Tottenham players before feeding Dybala to net his first Champions League goal of the season.

Juventus' Alex Sandro performs an acrobatic kick during the Champions League, round of 16, second-leg soccer match between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur, at the Wembley Stadium in London, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

 

From a position of strength, this was a capitulation stemming from a loss of concentration and composure by the hosts.

There was one chance to force the game into extra time in the 90th. Harry Kane's header hit the post and the ball crept across Gianluigi Buffon's goal line before being hooked clear by Andrea Barzagli.

Tottenham's Son Heung-min, right, and Juventus' Gonzalo Higuain reach for the ball during the Champions League, round of 16, second-leg soccer match between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur, at the Wembley Stadium in London, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

 

Tottenham, which beat holder Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in the group stage, became the first English side to be eliminated in the Champions League this season.

Liverpool advanced Tuesday and Manchester City went through on Wednesday with a 5-2 victory over Basel despite losing 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Tottenham's Eric Dier jumps to head the ball as Juventus' Paulo Dybala, right, looks at him, during the Champions League, round of 16, second-leg soccer match between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur, at the Wembley Stadium in London, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

 

City advances to Champions League QFs despite Basel loss

Manchester City lost 2-1 to Basel for its first home defeat in 15 months but still advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Wednesday.

Qualification was a formality for the English club after its 4-0 win in Switzerland in the first leg and City coach Pep Guardiola fielded a virtual reserve team at Etihad Stadium.

City advanced 5-2 on aggregate.

Photo: Domenic Aquilina

 

Still, the loss — only City's fourth in all competitions this season — came as a surprise, particularly after Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus put the home side ahead in the eighth minute on his first start in 2018.

Mohamed Elyounoussi equalized in the 17th, and wing back Michael Lang earned Basel its latest victory over a Premier League giant by smashing a rising shot inside the near post through goalkeeper Claudio Bravo's attempted save in the 71st.

City's progress took the number of English teams in the quarterfinals to two, after Liverpool advanced on Tuesday.

Photo: Domenic Aquilina

 

Tottenham couldn't make it three, though, losing 2-1 to Juventus at Wembley Stadium as the Italian side clinched a 4-3 aggregate victory. Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala scored goals in the space of three minutes as Juventus came from behind following Son Heung-min's opener.

There are still chances for Premier League sides Manchester United and Chelsea next week.

Manchester City's Yaya TouManchester City's Yaya Toure, center, challenges for the ball with Basel's Geoffroy Serey Die, left, during the Champions League, round of 16, second leg soccer match between Manchester City and Basel at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

 

With qualification all but secured from the first leg, Guardiola played many of his fringe players and it showed at times. City's passing was often sloppy and Basel broke regularly through a home midfield featuring the 34-year-old Yaya Toure — the captain for the evening — and a player half his age, English prodigy Phil Foden.

It was from one of those breaks that Basel scored its equalizer, with Blas Riveros' cross deflecting off John Stones into the path of Elyounoussi, who drove home a shot from 10 meters.

That canceled out the opening strike by Jesus, who is facing a real fight to be City's first-choice striker for the remainder of the season with Sergio Aguero scoring 15 goals during the Brazilian's seven-week absence because of a knee injury.

Basel's Fabian Frei, left, challenges for the ball with Manchester City's Phil Foden, center, during the Champions League, round of 16, second leg soccer match between Manchester City and Basel at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

 

Jesus worked hard but he was understandably rusty, the ball sometimes not sticking when it was played into him. He was in the right place at the right time for his goal, though, tapping in at the far post from Bernardo Silva's low cross.

Basel's winner came when Elyounoussi slipped the ball through for Lang to fire home from an acute angle.

It was City's first home loss since a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea in December 2016. Basel has also beaten United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham in European competition since 2011.

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