Harry Kane netted a stunning brace to propel Tottenham Hotspur towards breaking the dreaded Wembley curse, as they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1
Harry Kane is currently in red-hot form and he smashed a brace as Spurs saw off Dortmund 3-1 at Wembley. Kane’s goals propelled Spurs to a victory that will end suggestions that the north Londoners cannot win at their temporary home Wembley.
Son Heung Min opened the scoring for them after four minutes with a superb near-post strike to cap a well-worked move for the home side. Dortmund responded in style, seven minutes later, when Andriy Yarmolenko curled an outstanding effort into the top corner.
There was one sour note for Spurs since Jan Vertonghen was sent off late on. The win will leave Spurs second in Group H behind Real Madrid, who were comfortable winners over Apoel Nicosia. The Hard Tackle takes a look at five talking points from the game.
An improved Tottenham defence
When Mauricio Pochettino said that his team was ready to face Dortmund in the pre-match press conference, doubts continued to be etched on the minds of fans and critics alike. He was right in every sense though – Spurs have come a long way and that was most obvious in the way they defended against a highly-attacking side like Dortmund.
Tottenham started the first half with a seemingly tight defence. They crowded around the centre and made it quite difficult for the German visiting club to pass through the middle. Very little space was left by Spurs in the middle, which forced Dortmund to play through the flanks.
Pulisic and Yarmolenko were mostly involved in the first half. Although Tottenham’s cramped midfield saw Dortmund enjoy a greater possession during the game, Pochettino’s tactics were spot-on, as Peter Bosz’s squad were unable to cope with Spurs’ blistering counter-attacks, which saw them concede two early goals.
King Kane breaks the Wembley curse
Ever since Spurs moved to their temporary stadium, speculation has been rife about how Wembley is simply cursed for the north London club. While many tend to forget that Spurs beat CSKA Moscow there last December, the narrative stuck through – until last night.
Pochettino’s men will be delighted to have finally proven that infamous notion wrong. Spurs have managed to show strength in times of adversity, and came out on top. In fact, this is only the third time that Spurs have reached the Champions League group stages – a 12th appearance for Dortmund.
A lot of that has to be credited to Harry Kane. He was on the same pitch as Dortmund super-striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and yet there was only one marksman that truly stood out. He has truly come a long way and easily slots into the list of England’s best front men.
Serge Aurier – best bargain of the summer?
Pochettino’s decision to play Aurier ahead of Trippier made sense since the former PSG man is a seasoned Champions League player. The £23 million Frenchman came in at less than half the price of Kyle Walker – and three years younger. Aurier’s pace and power were vital during the first half.
The Ivorian put in an outstanding performance on his debut for Spurs, by showing great determination and dedication throughout the game. Despite a rash first-half tackle on Nuri Sahin, Aurier was highly responsible for restricting Dortmund’s attacks on the flanks.
He especially did a great job at tackling Dortmund’s wide-man Christian Pulisic. Also, Aurier and Eriksen created a commendable partnership after pulling the ball out of a tight spot on the away line. Aurier was equally good at surging forward and dropping back – a fact that Pochettino will definitely take note of.
Christian Pulisic – the only positive takeaway for Dortmund?
Christian Pulisic was perhaps the only shining light in an otherwise dim Dortmund show. The youngster looked lethal as he made some exciting dribbles through the flanks. Pulisic was involved in most of the attacks in the first half, and he can be a tremendously important player for the German club going forward.
The teenager made a particular mark when he ran from about 15 yards into the box and passed the ball in line to Aubameyang. Regardless, the wide-man was a bit underwhelming in the second half since Dortmund were playing mostly on the right.
He did do a great job on two occasions, providing crucial dribbles and crosses for Dortmund. However, the crosses were far too wide to catch. Pulisic has great room for improvement and has a long way to go. Having said that, the 18-year-old could have been more dangerous in the second-half if Serge Aurier was absent.
Davinson Sanchez is Spurs’ new asset
Davinson Sanchez established himself as one of the top young defensive talents in world football last season which attracted Spurs’ interest and now, the player has become a pivotal member of their squad. Interestingly, current Dortmund manager Peter Bosz was his coach at Ajax, and an ardent admirer of Sanchez’s capabilities.
Sanchez is aerially sound while also being quite speedy and agile – skills which he used to his full potential against Tottenham last night. If at all he ever looked uncertain against Dortmund, it was because he was up against a side who are experts at attacking.
Considering Spurs’ style of play, Sanchez’s capabilities will prove to be an asset in all situations. The youngster still has a long way to go and can truly exploit the best of his talents under Pochettino’s watchful eye. It will be extremely interesting to see how he develops further.