It was a highly entertaining evening at the Camp Nou, and both teams came away with a point apiece in the final game from Group B. The result sees Tottenham become the second team tonight after Liverpool to successfully manage safe passage to the next round of the Champions League, making it a great night for English football, and a sad one for Italians. Napoli and Inter Milan will continue their European Campaign in the next round of the Europa League.
Spurs were equal on Inter with points and goal difference, making qualification a real task, despite being second in the group. Both the teams came into the game on the back of a victory, with Barcelona demolishing Espanyol 0-4, and Tottenham dispatching Leicester City 2-0.
Ernesto Valverde made 7 changes from the team that won the derby, with stars like Messi, Pique, Busquets, and Ter Stegen left on the bench. Youngsters Munir, Alena, and Miranda were given starts, given that Barca had already topped the group and already qualified, irrespective of tonight’s result.
Tottenham also made 4 changes from their routine victory, with Kane, Eriksen, Alli resuming their starting roles. Kyle Walker-Peters was given a rare start, due to groin injuries to both Kieran Trippier and Serge Aurier.
The youngster was at fault for Barca’s first goal, which came through the boot of Ousmane Dembele. The former Dortmund player ran past the right back far too easily, cut in from a diving challenge, and slotted the ball past Lloris like it were a video-game.
Barcelona kept up their pressure on Tottenham’s defense, particularly the right side through Coutinho, who struck the post twice tonight in each half.
Tottenham also created their fair share of chances but was unable to finish them off. Son missed the best opportunity to level the game for Spurs, being clean through on goal but fluffing his shot.
Barcelona brought on Busquets in place of Rakitic to get more control in the middle of the park, but Tottenham was more than inspired by the team talk at the break, fashioning themselves some really good chances, looking by far the better side for the entirety of the second period. They were only held back by poor finishing, as Barcelona left huge gaps for Eriksen, Son, Alli, and Kane to utilize, which they really did, pushing the home side on the back foot.
Tottenham brought on Lamela for Walker and Lucas for Son, and both men sparked the game into another gear, with Tottenham creating chance after chance that was either fluffed or saved by Cillisen.
Tottenham had so much of the ball in the second half, that the final possession stats showed that they had 52% of the ball in the entirety of the game at the Camp Nou against Barcelona, which is really impressive when you think about it.
Here are 3 Reasons why Barcelona didn’t lose.
#1 Lackadaisical finishing from the visitors
Mauricio Pocchetino will be absolutely fuming at his side for not getting a result against a weakened Barcelona and the attackers will be taking the brunt of it, as Son, Lucas, Kane, Alli, and basically the entire team were great at 9/10th of creating an attack, just failing to take advantage of their own brilliance.
The Argentine coach will make sure that his players remember their mistakes from tonight, and try their best not to repeat them by trying to finish off moves more naturally as they did for the goal at the 85th minute.