Real Madrid 1-1 Spurs - report from the Bernabeu
Tue 17 October 2017, 21:45|Tottenham Hotspur
A brilliant, mature performance saw us hold our own in the Bernabeu and share the spoils with Champions League holders Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
In an open, exciting game between two teams with identical records in Group H, we weathered Real's early dominance and took the lead through Raphael Varane's own goal but then allowed the hosts a route back into the game with a penalty that Cristiano Ronaldo needed no second invitation to bury shortly before half-time.
But any hopes Real had of turning the contest around were dashed by an outstanding defensive performance in the second period. Our back five resisted attacks from all angles with Davinson Sanchez shining bright at the heart of it all and behind them, Hugo Lloris pulled off a string of great saves, including a stunner to deny Karim Benzema from point-blank range in a move reminiscent of his goal-line stop at Bayer Leverkusen this time last year.
And we could feasibly have won it, Keylor Navas somehow getting the slightest of touches on Harry Kane's shot and then palming wide from Christian Eriksen.
Danny Rose marked his return from a near nine-month injury lay-off in the latter stages as we managed the game well to maintain our unbeaten run in the competition ahead of another showdown with the Spanish giants at Wembley in a fortnight's time.
Striker Fernando Llorente, a veteran of La Liga, was given only his second start in our colours, bringing some vital experience up top alongside Kane. With Ben Davies still unwell and Rose featuring off the bench having not appeared in a matchday squad since picking up a knee injury in January, Jan Vertonghen operated at left-back with Serge Aurier on the right and a central defensive trio of Sanchez, Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld employed in between.
Woodwork: Ronaldo close early on - 5mins
The home side stamped their mark on the game and hit the woodwork less than five minutes in. Young right-back Achraf Hakimi advanced down his flank and crossed for Ronaldo, whose bullet header cannoned back off the post to Benzema, who dragged wide of the far post. Moments later, Ronaldo pulled a shot across the face of goal and inches past Hugo Lloris' right-hand upright as Real sought an opener.
Goal: Real Madrid 0-1 Spurs - Raphael Varane (own goal) - 27mins
After taking a while to find our stride, we began to have our own little spell, pressing Real back and creating chances. Kane's downward header was turned away by Keylor Navas on 19 minutes before we took a 27th-minute lead. It all started with Harry Winks taking the initiative and driving through midfield before laying it wide right to Aurier. His cross was met by Kane at the near post and the ball flicked in off defender Raphael Varane.
Above: Serge Aurier up against Marcelo.
Goal: Real Madrid 1-1 Spurs - Cristiano Ronaldo (penalty) - 43mins
Our defensive unit was proving solid and clearly frustrated Madrid at times, but they found a lifeline when Aurier challenged Toni Kroos as he glided through on goal after an incisive move and the referee awarded him a penalty. Ronaldo took it, blasting into the net as Lloris dived the other way.
Save: Lloris pulls off a stunner - 54mins
Most inside the Bernabeu were left wondering how Benzema didn't put Madrid in front nine minutes after the break. When Casemiro teased in a ball from the right, front man Benzema connected with a downward header from six yards out but Lloris, diving beyond the ball to his right, somehow kept it out on the line with his trailing legs. The Frenchman continued his exceptional goalkeeping with a good tip over from Ronaldo after we lost possession centrally, then denied the forward once more after he sped forward and pulled the trigger from the left angle.
Saves: Navas denies us a winner - 71-73mins
A neat move saw Llorente play in Kane 19 minutes from time and the in-form marksman looked destined to score, but Madrid stopper Navas got a slight touch on his low drive towards the far corner to turn it beyond the post. Two minutes later, he palmed Eriksen's rising shot wide of his near post as we chased a winner.
Hugo Lloris said
"It was tough until the end, we could have won, could have lost so then a draw is the honest result. In the second half we lost a bit of possession and control of the game, but mainly because Real Madrid pushed for the second goal. There was still some space to exploit and we had some chances. The goalkeeper made two crucial saves, he was decisive too. Then it’s about details."
Mauricio Pochettino said
“I’m really proud and so happy. Everybody wanted to compete and show ourselves that we can compete at this level. I am so happy. The performance was fantastic. I congratulate everyone because it was very good and of course our fans were fantastic, unbelievable and (I say) thank you so much for the support and the help. It was unbelievable. Of course, when you play you must keep your identity and compete. In the Champions League last season that disappointed us that we didn’t compete but in these three games (against Borussia Dortmund, APOEL and Real Madrid) I think the team is more mature and we don’t just play, we compete and that is most important."
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas, Hakimi, Ramos (c), Varane, Marcelo, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Isco (Vazquez 87), Benzema (Asensio 76), Ronaldo. Substitutes (not used): Casilla, Nacho, Hernandez, Llorente, Ceballos.
Spurs (5-3-2): Lloris (c), Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Sissoko (Son 89), Winks, Eriksen, Kane, Llorente (Rose 80). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Trippier, Walker-Peters, Foyth, Georgiou.
Goals: Real Madrid - Ronaldo 43 (pen); Spurs - Varane (OG) 27.
Yellow cards: Real Madrid - Ronaldo 32; Spurs - Aurier 42.
Referee: Szymon Marciniak.
Man of the match
Following his stunning saves, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris took Man of the Match honours from our supporters on social media with 71 per cent of the votes.
We reconvene at Wembley on Wednesday 1 November for the return match, but in the meantime it's back to Premier League duties as the big games come thick and fast.
Liverpool are our visitors to the national stadium this Sunday, kick-off 4pm.