Few clubs have changed over the past ten years as much as Tottenham Hotspur. Back in 2009, Champions League football was an alien concept to the North London club, but now, any season without an appearance in the competition is a major disappointment. Here is a visual recollection of their most memorable appearances in the Champions League so far.
Tottenham 3-1 Inter Milan – 2 November 2010
Under the management of Harry Redknapp, Tottenham finished fourth in Premier League season 2009/10, and faced then-Champions League holders Inter Milan after negotiating a tricky qualification round against BSC Young Boys. Redknapp enacted a tactical masterplan upon the Nerazzurri using Gareth Bale as the focal point.
If Gareth Bale had not already come of age, this was the night he did. The Welshman tormented the Nerazzuri’s petrified defence, and there was an air of inevitability about Rafael Van der Vaart’s opener in the 18th minute, when he was expertly played in by Luka Modric.
Bale then did likewise for Peter Crouch on the hour mark, and a consolation from Samuel Eto’o was rendered just that – a consolation – when Roman Pavlyuchenko made it 3-1, benefitting from Bale’s scorching run through the Inter defence.
Tottenham 3-1 Borussia Dortmund – 13 September 2017
The 2019/20 Champions League marked the third season in succession that every English participant has survived the group stage. As the England national team has improved throughout this decade, and established itself as a frontrunner within Euro 2020 outright markets in the international football betting, so too have the fortunes of English teams in the Champions League.
Harry Kane has played an important role in both, and this demolition of Borussia Dortmund was the first hint that he could be the real deal in European action as well as the Premier League and on the international scene. Son-Heung Ming got the scoring underway, getting his seventh goal in nine appearances against Dortmund, with Andriy Yarmolenko equalising just minutes later.
Then it was time for the Harry Kane show…
Ajax 2-3 Tottenham – 8 May 2019
Lucas Moura continually splits opinion amongst Tottenham fans, having never truly recovered from a disappointing Champions League final. However, it was his heroics that gave Spurs a chance in the first place, with the Brazilian’s Johan Cruyff Arena hat-trick making all the difference.
Matthijs de Ligt got the scoring underway after just five minutes, and when the Eredivisie’s golden boy Hakim Ziyech made it 2-0 just before half-time, there was seemingly no way back. Lucas Moura obviously thought differently, but the final goal did not arrive until the sixth minute of stoppage time:
Such is the nature of Champions League football, Tottenham led for barely a minute out of the 180+ played across the two legs vs Ajax. Yet, it was when it truly counted that they led, and they will look to be similarly opportunistic in the coming knockout phase, under a man who knows how to get a club over the line in the world’s toughest continental club competition.