Dele Alli marked his first appearance in this season’s competition with a brace before Christian Eriksen added a third to leave us in command against the 12-time champions of Europe, whose late strike from Cristiano Ronaldo was a mere consolation on a glory, glory night.
It was a night which evoked memories of 2010, when then Champions League holders Inter Milan were torn apart at White Hart Lane and this was an evening for the Class of 2017 to write their names into Spurs’ folklore.
Again, this was only a group stage match, but it was the manner of victory that thrilled the Spurs faithful and will grab the headlines, achieved with a mature and stylish performance against one of the best teams in world football.
Dele got the ball rolling in the 27th minute when he tucked home Kieran Trippier’s cross from close range, before adding his second 10 minutes after half-time, drilling a shot from 20 yards which deflected in off Sergio Ramos. Five years ago tomorrow, our England midfielder made his debut for MK Dons at Cambridge City in the FA Cup!
Our fans were in dreamland at that stage, but it got even better in the 65th-minute when Dele and Harry Kane combined to set Eriksen free and he calmly slotted past Kiko Casilla to make it 3-0, Real unable to cope with our magnificent counter-attacking football.
The visitors pulled one back 10 minutes from time when Ronaldo slammed home from close range and they applied plenty of late pressure in the game. But we were as solid at the back as we were efficient in front of goal and held on for another famous win.
Mauricio Pochettino made three changes from the team that started against Manchester United on Saturday - Kane, Davinson Sanchez and Trippier coming in for Heung-Min Son, Moussa Sissoko and Serge Aurier. Former Spur Luka Modric started in midfield for Madrid, but Gareth Bale missed the game through injury.
GOAL: SPURS 1-0 REAL MADRID – DELE ALLI – 27mins
It was a wonderful atmosphere inside Wembley and the opening exchanges certainly matched the noise. Our first sight of Madrid’s goal came on 11 minutes when Eric Dier dispossessed Casemiro and the ball was played early to Kane, but his attempted chip from the edge of the area was gathered by Casilla. We were forced into a reshuffle at the back as Toby Alderweireld had to come off with an injury, to be replaced by Sissoko. He went straight into midfield with Dier dropping into the back three. But just three minutes after that change we took the lead. Harry Winks clipped a delightful ball over Marcelo to Trippier who made the run off the right flank in behind the defender and his volleyed first-time cross was perfect for Dele, who slid in to poke past Casilla from close range.
Above: Harry Winks tracks ex-Spur Luka Modric.
CHANCE: KANE CLOSE TO ADDING A SECOND – 41mins
The visitors responded swiftly to their setback and we twice needed Hugo Lloris to be alert to deny Ronaldo, tipping the Portuguese forward’s angled drive wide in the 32nd minute before saving again a minute later after Achraf Hakimi’s cut back fell perfectly to Ronaldo. But we so nearly added a second at the other end when Sissoko missed Trippier’s cross but the ball came to Kane, his effort from 12 yards left of centre being blocked by Sergio Ramos having beaten the goalkeeper. An entertaining half drew to a close shortly after with us holding a narrow lead.
GOAL: SPURS 2-0 REAL MADRID – DELE ALLI – 56mins
It was the Spanish side who started the second period the brighter and we were having to defend stoutly as the pressure started to mount, although clear cut chances were certainly not falling their way. The closest they came was on 52 minutes when Marcelo found space down the left flank and delivered a low, teasing cross which Dier coolly dealt with inside the six-yard box with Ronaldo ready to pounce. Instead, it was us who found the next goal and this was all of Dele’s own making. After Eriksen dummied a pass upfield, Dele skipped past Casemiro and surged goalwards, his shot flicking off Ramos and wrong-footing Casilla as it flew into the net.
GOAL: SPURS 3-0 REAL MADRID – CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN – 65mins
The pattern of the game was set now, Madrid enjoying the majority of the possession as they probed for an opening but we were so dangerous on the counter-attack, the visitors leaving themselves short at the back. And sure enough, when a Real attack broke down we were away again, Dele surging forwards before releasing Kane on the right. His low ball into the middle was perfect for Eriksen, striding through from midfield and converting past Casilla. Outstanding stuff!
GOAL: SPURS 3-1 REAL MADRID – CRISTIANO RONALDO – 80mins
Even trailing 3-0, Real kept playing their football, trying to find a foothold in the game, but we should have added a fourth in the 78th minute when Trippier sent over another superb cross but Dele, on the edge of the six-yard box, couldn’t connect and glanced his header wide. The visitors responded immediately at the other end though, Marcelo keeping in a deep cross and popping the ball into the area where Ronaldo drilled home from close range. That gave Madrid hope and it needed a fine save from Lloris to keep out another stinging Ronaldo drive moments later. Substitute Fernando Llorente almost got in at the other end in the closing seconds, only for Casilla to come out and smother the danger, but it mattered not as the whistle blew shortly after, bringing to an end a wonderful night at Wembley.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO SAID
"I’m very proud, very happy with the performance and I congratulate the players. I'm very pleased for them, for our fans and the Club - it means a lot. It’s a great victory for everyone and I’m so, so happy. The players deserve the full credit for the performance and the victory. We helped them to achieve that but they won on the pitch. It was a good performance from Dele, could have scored a hat-trick. It’s fantastic. He’s a very important player for us and he has to keep improving, keep going."
KIERAN TRIPPIER SAID
"It feels unbelievable. We’ve worked really hard this week tactically obviously coming off a really difficult result against United. We knew we had to put that result right. We started well and I thought every single player played really well and the subs that came on made a difference as well. These are the games I’ve wanted to play in ever since I was a young boy, from watching the Champions League when I was young. To play against Real Madrid is a great feeling, and to win. They are a quality side and they haven’t been beaten in the group stage since 2012. We played a good game with a good game plan and got the three points."
Spurs (3-4-2-1): Lloris (c), Alderweireld (Sissoko 24), Sanchez, Vertonghen, Trippier, Dier, Winks (Dembele 66), Davies, Dele, Eriksen, Kane (Llorente 79). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Aurier, Rose, Son.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Casilla, Hakimi, Ramos (c), Nacho, Marcelo, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric (Hernandez 80), Isco (Mayoral 74), Benzema (Asensio 74), Ronaldo. Substitutes (not used): Ramos, Vallejo, Vazquez, Ceballos.
Goals: Spurs – Dele 27, 56, Eriksen 65; Real Madrid – Ronaldo 80.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Dembele; Real Madrid - Ramos.
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey).
MAN OF THE MATCH
Following his brace, it was Dele Alli who our supporters chose as Man of the Match on social media.
It’s another home game next as we welcome Crystal Palace to Wembley Stadium as we return to Premier League action. The Eagles’ poor start to the season has been well-documented, losing their opening seven league matches, but they have since beaten Chelsea and drawn with West Ham United, although they remain bottom of the table. Kick-off on Sunday is at 12noon.