Jerusalem Post - - SPORTS - (Reuters)

TURIN (Reuters) – On the ropes af­ter Gon­zalo Higuain struck twice for Ju­ven­tus in the open­ing nine min­utes, Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur launched a Harry Kane-led fight­back to draw 2-2 in the first leg of their Cham­pi­ons League last16 tie on Tues­day night.

When Ar­gentina striker Higuain volleyed Juve in front af­ter two min­utes and fired home a penalty seven min­utes later, the host – run­ner-up in two of the last three sea­son – ap­peared to have one foot al­ready in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

Tot­ten­ham was wob­bling, but re­sponded to dom­i­nate for long pe­ri­ods and Kane halved the deficit in the 35th minute with his ninth goal in nine ap­pear­ances in the com­pe­ti­tion.

The out­stand­ing Chris­tian Erik­sen beat vet­eran ’keeper Gian­luigi Buf­fon with a free kick 20 min­utes from full­time to give Tot­ten­ham the ad­van­tage go­ing into next month’s se­cond leg at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium, where Spurs have al­ready beaten cham­pion Real Madrid in the group phase.

Juve, which had con­ceded only one goal in its pre­vi­ous 16 games over all com­pe­ti­tions, will rue Higuain’s missed penalty on the stroke of half­time, but could have few com­plaints af­ter be­ing shaken to the core by a vi­brant Spurs side.

Tot­ten­ham man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino even sounded dis­ap­pointed his side had not gone on to end Juve’s near five-year un­beaten run at home in Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion.

“The char­ac­ter we showed to­day was fan­tas­tic,” he said. “Two down against a side which is so dif­fi­cult to break down and in the end we de­served to win more than to draw.

“This showed the team is more ma­ture. The first min­utes were dif­fi­cult but it was amaz­ing how we re­acted.”

Tot­ten­ham ar­rived full of con­fi­dence af­ter win­ning a group con­tain­ing Real and Borus­sia Dort­mund.

But it was caught cold as Ju­ven­tus was awarded a free kick and Mi­ralem Pjanic clev­erly picked out Higuain who swiveled to vol­ley right-footed past Hugo Lloris.

Spurs had barely put two passes to­gether when they fell fur­ther be­hind. Ben Davies was caught nap­ping and his rash tackle sent Fed­erico Bernarde­schi fly­ing to give the ref­eree an easy de­ci­sion to point to the spot. HARRY KANE (right) con­tin­ued his sin­gle-handed as­sault when he scored Tot­ten­ham’s open­ing goal in a come­back 2-2 draw for Spurs at Ju­ven­tus in the Cham­pi­ons League last-16, first leg on Tues­day night. Kane’s 35th minute tally was his sev­enth goal in the com­pe­ti­tion this sea­son – match­ing Steven Ger­rard, whose seven for Liver­pool in 2008-09 had stood as a record for an English player.

Higuain duly con­verted de­spite Lloris guess­ing the right way and get­ting a touch on the ball.

From a po­si­tion of con­trol, how­ever, Juve be­gan to re­treat and al­low Tot­ten­ham’s cre­ative depart­ment of Erik­sen, Mousa Dem­bele, Erik Lamela and Dele Alli to pull the strings.

Tot­ten­ham was back in the tie when Alli picked out Kane af­ter 35 min­utes and the Eng­land striker rounded Buf­fon be­fore slid­ing home.

Ju­ven­tus played more like the away side in the se­cond half with Tot­ten­ham again press­ing, although the host went close with Lloris sav­ing well from Bernarde­schi and Mario Mandzu­kic then head­ing straight at the thank­ful French ’keeper.

There was barely a dull mo­ment and when Tot­ten­ham was awarded a foul 25 me­ters from goal Erik­sen drilled a low shot that de­ceived Buf­fon and nes­tled into the cor­ner.

Mean­while, Manch­ester City ef­fec­tively killed off its last-16 tie against FC Basel af­ter 23 min­utes, flat­ten­ing the Swiss cham­pion with three quick-fire goals on its way to a 4-0 away win.

Ilkay Gun­do­gan, Bernardo Silva and Ser­gio Aguero scored within nine min­utes of each other in the first-leg en­counter to al­most cer­tainly ex­tend Basel’s wait for a first quar­ter­fi­nal ap­pear­ance in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Gun­do­gan curled in the fourth from the edge of the area in the 53rd minute as the run­away English Pre­mier League leader clocked up an­other em­phatic win in its re­mark­able sea­son.

Basel did its best to make a game of it and cre­ated sev­eral open­ings, but looked vul­ner­a­ble ev­ery time City at­tacked.

City, which has lost in three of its pre­vi­ous four ap­pear­ances at this stage of the com­pe­ti­tion, en­joyed the lion’s share of the pos­ses­sion with 69 per­cent, although that was still un­re­mark­able by its lofty stan­dards.

“It’s an amaz­ing re­sult,” said City coach Pep Guardiola. “The tie is 180 min­utes, but we are al­most there. We de­fended quite well, we were clin­i­cal. It’s not easy to keep the level but we did it.”

De­spite the score-line, City had 12 shots to Basel’s 11 and the Swiss could have taken an early lead.

Dim­itri Ober­lin got clear of City’s de­fense and tried to poke the ball past Eder­son as the Brazil­ian rushed out of his area, but got no power on his shot al­low­ing Kyle Walker to clear the ball eas­ily.

Ober­lin also had a penalty ap­peal turned down as he went over un­der a chal­lenge from Ni­co­las Ota­mendi.

Re­al­ity struck for Basel in the 14th minute when Gun­do­gan beat Fabian Frei to Kevin de Bruyne’s cor­ner and headed in.

Four min­utes later, Leo Lacroix failed to cut out Ra­heem Ster­ling’s cross and the un­marked Silva lobbed his shot over To­mas Va­clik’s at­tempted save, then Aguero scored the third from out­side the area – City’s fourth shot on tar­get of the game.

Eder­son made his first real save in the 49th minute, palm­ing away Mo­hamed Ely­ounoussi’s long-range shot, but shortly after­wards, Aguero set up Gun­do­gan who took one touch and placed a loop­ing shot into the far cor­ner.

A bril­liant Va­clik save de­nied Gun­do­gan a hat-trick late on but, even so, the se­cond leg looks lit­tle more than a for­mal­ity for Guardiola’s side.


IS­RAELI-AMER­I­CAN A.J. Edel­man will get his chance to rep­re­sent the blue­and-white to­day when the men’s skele­ton com­pe­ti­tion gets started at the Win­ter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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