Knockout Round First Leg Recap
Juventus vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham scored a couple of key away goals in a 2-2 men’s soccer match against Juventus on Tuesday night in Turin, completing a stunning turnaround after facing an early two-goal deficit.
Striker Gonzalo Higuain put Juventus off to a flying start with a right-footed volley after a Mira Pjanić free kick found him unmarked inside of the box less than two minutes into the contest. Higuain added his second goal in the ninth minute from the penalty spot after a rash challenge from Spurs defender Ben Davies left Juventus midfielder Federico Bernardeschi in a heap. The tackle also saw Davies book for his troubles. The two goals represented the third and fourth of the competition for Higuain, an Argentinian, as he scored two in the group stage games before the new year.
The Tottenham players didn’t hang their heads after the early double salvo, though. Tottenham and Juventus had chances to add to the scoring in the ensuing 25 minutes. After 17 minutes, Spurs had a penalty shot that German referee Felix Byrch waved off. English captain Harry Kane later found himself in a one-on-one situation with Juventus keeper Gigi Buffon off a Dele Alli through ball. Kane slotted a left-footed shot into the opposite corner to pull the Spurs within a goal of Juventus.
Higuain failed to convert deep from the spot for a second time late in the first half when Hugo Lloris, a Tottenham keeper, deflected Higuain’s right-footed effort up and onto the bar.
Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen equalized with a Spurs free kick from the top of the box and just past Buffon’s outstretched arm in the 71st minute.
FC Basel vs. Manchester City
Premier League champion-elect Manchester City turned in a typically convincing performance as it cruised past Swiss premiere FC Basel en-route to a 4-0 victory on a cold Tuesday night in Switzerland.
Midfielder Ilkay Gündogan opened scoring for the Citizens with a near-post header after an inch-perfect delivery from the corner off Belgian talisman Kevin de Bruyne’s foot. Portuguese winger Bernardo Silva added the second goal just four minutes later when Basel keeper Tomáš Vaclík deflected Silva’s left-footed shot into the roof of his own net. A rough night for Vaclík, a Czech stopper, was compounded at the 23-minute mark, when a blistering shot from City striker Sergio Agüero wrong-footed Vaclík and nestled into the bottom corner, extending the score line to 3-0 in favor of the English. Gündogan later scored the pick of the goals for Manchester City with a curled effort after 53 minutes to round off a lengthy team move.
Manchester City was predictably dominant in possession, as it kept the ball for 74 percent of the game. The few chances afforded to the Swiss came on the counterattack, but FC Basel couldn’t capitalize on any of them.