By: Jack Zinman (Sports Correspondent)
For the first time since the team was founded 137 years ago, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club will be playing for a Champions League trophy as they have squeezed their way through to the 2018/19 Champions League final.
Unlike their opponent, Tottenham has not been looked at as a European powerhouse, especially playing without their best player, Harry Kane.
It hasn’t been an easy road to the final at all for Spurs. Coming out of group B, Tottenham needed to wait until the last day to get through to the knockout stage as they tied Barcelona, and got help with an Intertie to PSV, which sent Spurs into the knockout stage on a tiebreaker.
In the round of 16, Tottenham squared up with Borussia Dortmund. Spurs made a statement right away winning the first of two legs 3-0 at home and securing their spot in the final 8 with an away goal at Dortmund.
In the final 8, Tottenham matched up against a familiar foe in Manchester City who would later go on win the Premier League title.
In the first leg, Tottenham notched a goal in the 78th minute, thanks to Son Heung-min, to go up 1-0 heading into the second leg in Manchester.
The second leg was a night to remember for Spurs and one to forget for City. The game saw 3 goals in the first 11 minutes, two from City and one from Spurs. A goal from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero each put City up 4-2 and 4-3 on aggregate.
It wasn’t until a Fernando Llorente goal in the 73rd minute to put Spurs up on away goals and put them in prime position to send them to the semifinals.
Spurs had a scare in the 90+3rd minute when Raheem Sterling put one in the back of the net but after a video replay, the refs confirmed that he was offside and called off the goal.
The goal would’ve sent Man City to the semis but instead, Tottenham punched their ticket to play Ajax in the semi-finals.
In the final 4, the first leg saw only one goal and it was by Donny Van De Beek early and Ajax got the crucial away goal heading into the second leg.
In the first half of the second leg, Ajax was dominant adding two goals to go up 3-0 on aggregate and almost certainly booking their spot in the final next month.
Lucas Moura had other plans. He scored not one, but two goals in the span of 4 minutes (55’,59’).
All Tottenham had to do was score one more goal and hold Ajax to nothing. Easier said than done though.
Tottenham had so many chances as Jan Vertonghen missed a header late and Fernando Llorente missed a wide open net in the 87th minute.
At the end of the 90 minutes, the referee indicated 5 minutes of added time. As the clock approached the 5th minute the Ajax faithful grew louder but in the final attack for Tottenham, Dele Alli played a short through ball to Lucas Moura who buried a 90+6th-minute goal to send Spurs onto Madrid for the Champions League Finals.
Although the Cinderella run has been nothing but spectacular, Tottenham has done all of this without the best player in the world, Harry Kane.
In the knockout stage, Kane has appeared in only two matches, one in the second leg against Dortmund where he scored the only goal of the game and the first leg against Man City where he injured his left ankle which would hold him out of play for the season.
After seeing his team succeed and battle their way into the UCL Final, Kane is determined to be fit for the match against Liverpool on June 1st.
With Kane out, it gave the opportunity for some unsung heroes to emerge for the squad. A bunch of players rose to the occasion, nobody bigger than Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura.
In the Champions League, “Sonny” has scored four goals, including two in the second leg against Manchester City. Sonny has also notched an assist while playing 816 minutes in 11 matches played.
Spurs wouldn’t be here without Lucas Moura. With his heroics against Ajax, Lucas Moura has shown the world and PSG, that he deserves a spot in a top club’s starting XI.
In the 701 minutes he’s played, Moura has scored 5 goals and has completed 78% of his passes. Although he doesn’t have an assist this season, he has shown that he may not be able to create a play but he can sure finish one.
In order for Spurs to beat Liverpool, they will have to play their best defensive game of the year and their lives, slowing down the big three Liverpool has in Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. Easier said than done though.
Lastly, Liverpool’s defense has been sold this season led by Virgil Van Dijk, Spurs must figure out a game plan to eliminate him from the game.
It will be a game to remember for years to come and at the end of the 90+ minutes, Tottenham will be raising the trophy after a 3-2 victory in the Champions League Final.