Eriksen keeps us alive with Inter winner
Spurs 1-0 Inter
Wed 28 November 2018, 21:53|Tottenham Hotspur
Christian Eriksen came off the bench to fire a late winner against Inter at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday evening and keep alive our hopes of progressing to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The Danish playmaker had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes after replacing Erik Lamela, but made a significant contribution by smashing home the only goal of a game which we had always threatened to win but one that looked like it was slipping away.
It was such an important strike too as not only did it give us the three points, but ensured we have the head-to-head advantage over the Italians in Group B. If we match Inter’s result on Matchday Six then we will make it into the last 16.
Once again it was a really positive opening, even if the goals didn’t arrive like they had done against Chelsea four days earlier. The chances were there though and had our finishing been a touch more clinical, we would have been in front. There were 12 minutes on the clock when Dele’s shot from 25 yards cleared the bar, while Lamela tried his luck from distance but fired wide seven minutes later. The visitors had their spells of possession but created very little with it, failing to trouble Hugo Lloris throughout the first half, whereas at the other end, Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic was always on his toes as we continued to threaten.
A burst down the right from Moussa Sissoko led to another chance on 30 minutes, after his square ball infield was dummied by Dele, allowing Lucas Moura to run and strike first time from the edge of the area but it was saved low down by Handanovic. We came closest on 38 minutes when Winks hit a curling right-foot shot from almost 30 yards which beat Handanovic but smacked against the crossbar. Lucas then headed straight at the keeper, while Inter had their only sight at goal of the half just before the interval when substitute Borja Valero was about to shoot, only for Serge Aurier to step in with a fine tackle to thwart the danger and it was goalless at the break.
While we dominated the first period, it was much more even in the second half with both sides showing plenty of attacking intent. Matias Vecino flashed a shot wide from 25 yards and Kane hit one straight at Handanovic from a similar distance in the early stages, before Ivan Perisic’s deep cross found its way to Milan Skriniar at the back post but he couldn’t get enough contact to find the target.
We made two attacking changes with Heung-Min Son and Eriksen replacing Lucas and Lamela, and the Dane’s first touch almost delivered a goal, his driven free-kick finding Jan Vertonghen inside the six yard box but he somehow headed wide.
Inter only needed a draw to guarantee their own progression but they weren’t content to sit back, almost finding a breakthrough when Valero set up Perisic, but Lloris’ strong hand kept out his angled drive from close range.
We kept plugging away though and eventually forced the opening goal, thanks to another surging Sissoko run. He broke through the Inter midfield and into the box, squaring the ball to Dele who helped it on to Eriksen and he made no mistake from 12 yards out. That wasn’t game over though as Lloris made a fine save to keep out Danilo D’Ambrosio’s effort and Inter threw everyone up including Handanovic for a last-gasp corner, but we held firm to register another fine Champions League result.
There can only really be one! It was starting to get tense and there was a feeling the all-important goal wasn’t going to come as the clock ticked down, but we didn’t panic, didn’t get frustrated.
Instead, we kept playing our football and when Sissoko and Dele teed up Eriksen in the 80th minute, that patience was duly rewarded with a fine winner to keep our Champions League aspirations alive.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino was pleased to see the players rewarded for another big effort in another big game following on from Saturday's win over Chelsea, and with the north London derby to come this weekend.
"We are alive (in the competition) and it was such an important performance," he said. "I’m very happy. Like I always tell you, I’m very pleased for the players and our fans.
"We deserved the victory and now we’ll be humble, try to rest and recover from the effort and prepare for another big game against Arsenal."
Eriksen was thrilled to bag the winner, explaining: "It was a very important goal bearing in mind what was at stake. It was an all or nothing game for us.
"We wanted to go through in the Champions League. It's where we feel we belong. We have a chance now in our own hands to play at Camp Nou and that will be a fun game. It was must-win and we accomplished it."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Spurs 1-0 Inter
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks (Dier 87), Sissoko, Lamela (Eriksen 70), Dele, Lucas (Son 62), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Walker-Peters, Rose, Llorente.
Inter (4-2-3-1): Handanovic, D’Ambrosio, De Vrij (Miranda 82), Skriniar, Asamoah, Vecino, Brozovic, Politano (Balde 83), Nainggolan (Valero 44), Perisic, Icardi (c). Substitutes (not used): Padelli, Martinez, Ranocchia, Candreva.
Goal: Spurs – Eriksen 80.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Alderweireld, Lamela, Son; Inter – De Vrij, Valero.
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey).
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London.
Weather: Fresh breeze, light rain at times, 12 degrees.