Advantage Spurs, Liverpool: Son Punishes Wasteful City, Porto Sunk

Apr 10 - by AFP for SportPesa News

Sergio Aguero misses penalty, Kane off injured as Naby Keita and Firmino strike at Anfield in Champions League quarters first leg action in England

Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean striker Son Heung-Min celebrates scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, on April 9, 2019. PHOTO/AFP

  • City's first defeat since a January 29 setback at Newcastle is not fatal to their European ambitions, but they will have to improve on this tired effort to stop Tottenham reaching their first European semi-final since 1984
  • Kane was embroiled in a physical battle with City defence's but his attempt to fight fire with fire proved his downfall in the 55th minute
  • Liverpool then had to survive a VAR review for a potential handball against Trent Alexander-Arnold as Alisson palmed the ball into his full-back

LONDON, England- Tottenham ignored Harry Kane's latest injury woes as Son Heung-Min sealed a priceless 1-0 win over Manchester City after Hugo Lloris saved Sergio Aguero's penalty while Liverpool sunk FC Porto 2-0 at Anfield in a dramatic Champions League quarter-final first leg fixtures on Tuesday night.

Mauricio Pochettino's side earned a slender advantage thanks to Son's clinical strike late in the second half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium while Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino struck inside the first 26 minutes to put the hosts in command and Liverpool's only regret may be not building a more emphatic lead to take to northern Portugal for next week's second leg.

Son scored the first goal in Tottenham's posh new abode against Crystal Palace last week and now the South Korea forward has bagged their maiden European strike in the arena.

While Son soaked up the plaudits, much-maligned keeper Lloris also enjoyed a sweet moment of redemption in a troubled campaign when he kept out Aguero's first-half spot-kick.

Tottenham's victory was an unexpected twist to an enthralling encounter, especially after Kane injured his left ankle in a tackle on Fabian Delph early in the second half.

RECOMMENDED READ: Courted By Real Madrid, It's Time For Pogba To Prove Himself Against Barcelona

But City had only themselves to blame for failing to earn an advantage for the second leg in Manchester on April 17.

Having won the League Cup, reached the FA Cup final and kept the destiny of the Premier League title in their own hands, this was City's next hurdle in the race for an unprecedented quadruple.

But City boss Pep Guardiola is adamant it is "almost impossible" to achieve a clean-sweep of all four major trophies.

He might be right on the evidence of a City display that lacked the cutting edge and intensity required to keep Tottenham at bay.

Liverpool's Guinean midfielder Naby Keita (R) celebrates with Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first leg football match between Liverpool and FC Porto at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on April 9, 2019. PHOTO/AFP


City's first defeat since a January 29 setback at Newcastle is not fatal to their European ambitions, but they will have to improve on this tired effort to stop Tottenham reaching their first European semi-final since 1984.

This was City's 52nd competitive match of a draining season and Guardiola made four changes from the team that laboured to a 1-0 win over Brighton in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Fernandinho was selected instead of Kevin De Bruyne, the defensive-minded Brazilian lining up in midfield in a move that showed Guardiola was willing to sacrifice a little of his attacking philosophy in deference to Tottenham's quality.

Red-hot atmosphere

RECOMMENDED READ: After Leaving England A Villain, Suarez Returns Mightier Than Ever

Tottenham have been riding a wave of excitement in their new £1 billion, 62,062-capacity stadium, while City wilted in the red-hot atmosphere at Anfield in the Champions League quarter-finals against Liverpool last season.

If Guardiola was concerned about subduing Tottenham and their boisterous crowd, his side were handed a golden opportunity in the 12th minute.

Raheem Sterling cut in from the left and left three Tottenham defenders in his wake before unleashing a shot that struck Danny Rose's raised arm as the Tottenham left-back slid in to block.

There were no penalty appeals from City, but after consulting VAR, Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers awarded the spot-kick.

However, Lloris plunged to his left to keep out Aguero's penalty with a superb save.

Kane was embroiled in a physical battle with City defence's but his attempt to fight fire with fire proved his downfall in the 55th minute.

Crunching into a late challenge on Delph on the touchline, Kane appeared to twist his ankle before immediately signalling he would have to come off.

RECOMMENDED READ: Juventus Put All Champions League Eggs In Ronaldo's Basket

The sight of the England captain limping badly down the tunnel could have been fatal for Tottenham.

Kane, who has scored 24 times for Tottenham this season, is no stranger to ankle problems.

Yet Tottenham thrived in his absence for seven matches with left ankle ligament damage earlier this season.

And once again they rose to the challenge to snatch the lead in the 78th minute.

When Son beat the City offside trap, it appeared his touch was too heavy to take advantage.

But he alertly kept the ball in play, taking advantage of Delph's pause to protest the decision by slamming a low drive under Ederson from close range.

Perfect riposte

Guardiola once infuriated Pochettino by calling Tottenham 'the Harry Kane team' -- now Son has provided the perfect riposte to that jibe. 

RECOMMENDED READ: After A Charmed Start, Solskjaer Moment Of Truth At Man United Is Here

At Anfield, a fourth clean sheet in five home Champions League games this season means an away goal at the Estadio do Dragao on April 17th will leave Porto needing four to progress.

Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (L) scores the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, on April 9, 2019. PHOTO/AFP 


Liverpool thrashed the Portuguese giants 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie last season and the scoreline could have been just as embarrassing for Sergio Conceicao's men had the hosts been more accurate in front of goal.

It took Jurgen Klopp's men just five minutes to open the scoring as Keita got his second goal in as many games having waited nine months to open his Liverpool account.

The Guinean got the benefit of a big deflection off Oliver Torres as his strike from the edge of the area left veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas helpless.

Minutes later Firmino was galloping into acres of space in behind the Porto defence, but this time his deflected effort drifted just beyond Casillas's far post.

Mohamed Salah ended his eight-game goal drought as Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League table with a 3-1 win at Southampton on Friday, but the Egyptian got his angles wrong when he failed to hit the target with just Casillas to beat.

RECOMMENDED READ: Formula 1 Hits 1000: Here Are The 10 Biggest Moments In Its History

Conceicao was visibly furious with his side's slack defending, but Porto could easily have got back into the tie when Alisson Becker saved well with his feet from Moussa Marega.

Liverpool then had to survive a VAR review for a potential handball against Trent Alexander-Arnold as Alisson palmed the ball into his full-back.

Soon, though, Alexander-Arnold was helping twist the knife into Porto at the other end with his eighth assist of the season.

Jordan Henderson, playing in a more advanced midfield position than normal, cut the visitors' defence open for the England international to square for Firmino to tap into an empty net.

Liverpool have become accustomed to winning games late in recent weeks in their bid for a first Premier League title in 29 years.

However, Klopp's men seemed keen to kill the tie off before their trip to Portugal as Firmino blazed a great chance from Henderson's pinpoint pass off target.

Only a matter of centimetres denied Liverpool a third early in the second half when another excellent Henderson cross picked out Sadio Mane to volley home, but the Senegalese was flagged offside.

Marega kept plugging away to try and find the away goal that would pull Porto back into the tie, but only one of his many second-half efforts forced Alisson into a comfortable save.

RECOMMENDED READ: Forgotten Chelsea Man Drinkwater Charged With Guess What? Drink Driving


Porto's Brazilian defender Eder Militao (L) and Porto's Portuguese midfielder Danilo Pereira (R) react to their defeat on the pitch after the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first leg football match between Liverpool and FC Porto at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on April 9, 2019. Liverpool won the game 2-0. PHOTO/AFP