After his shocking performance against Arsenal in the North London derby earlier this month, Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen was back to his best and brought all his experience to play during the 1-1 draw against Barcelona that ensured further progress for his team in the Champions League.
At the Emirates, the 31-year-old defender had endured probably the worst match of his life after his handball gifted Gunners a penalty and an opportunity to come back into the match.
What’s more, he was also sent off after picking up two yellow cards as Unai Emery’s men emerged 4-2 winners, having overturned a two-goal deficit.
Thankfully for Spurs fans though, the Belgian turned it around in the all-important tie at Camp Nou and was quite impressive as he kept Barca’s attacking threat at bay for most of the match.
The veteran centre-back also showed that along with his tenacious defending skills, he also brings forth some real cunning into this Spurs side when he cheekily let the linesman know his feelings about Spanish players after a soft foul was awarded to the hosts.
Check out a clip of the incident below:
Arsenal are now unbeaten in their last 22 games in all competitions this season after the 1-0 Europa League win over Qarabag last night.
Aside from the positive result at the Emirates stadium in what was a dead rubber as the hosts had already qualified for the knockout stages, fans of the North London club would have been pleased with the return of their German playmaker Mesut Ozil.
The 30-year-old had been out of action since November owing to a back injury and with nothing at stake, Unai Emery decided it was the perfect opportunity to ease the fan-favorite back ahead of a busy festive period.
While still not playing at the top of his game, Ozil showed flashes of his brilliance with some elegant touches and incisive passing as he went on to provide the assist for Alexandre Lacazette’s winning goal.
One moment of magic which particularly showed just what Ozil is all about came when he calmly glided past an opposition player and then, just as a sliding tackle looked like it would successfully halt him, went on to produce a no-look backheel pass to one of his teammates without even appearing to break a sweat.
Absolutely no respect for the Qarabag players, check out the moment below:
Ahead of their do-or-die clash against Napoli last Tuesday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had called on fans to unleash the kind of electric Anfield atmosphere which has aided the hosts in downing numerous great teams over the years.
Answering the affable German’s call and perhaps proving a point to visiting manager Carlo Ancelotti who had laughed off their iconic ground’s reputation as one of Europe’s most intimidating venues, the home supporters turned up at their boisterous best to put the visitors off their game even before Mohamed Salah could deliver the knockout punch.
If the celebrations were wild after the job had been complete and Ancelotti’s men had been knocked out of Europe’s top tier despite only suffering their first loss in six group games, the noise that reverberated inside the stadium prior to kick-off is what set the tone for another famous European night.
With players of both teams lined up on the pitch, it seemed as if the whole of Anfield sprang to life and chanted in unison to successfully drown out the Champions League anthem which was blaring on the speakers.
Check out the goosebumps-inducing moment below:
Despite losing 2-1 to Red Bull Salzburg, Celtic managed to progress to the knockout stages of the Europa League thanks to Rosenborg holding RB Leipzig to a 1-1 draw in the other group game of the night.
Ahead of the fixture, Brendan Rodgers’ men knew that even a draw at home would be enough for them to qualify but instead let the boisterous Celtic Park crowd down with a below par performance and were in danger of crashing out after having conceded two goals.
However, with full-time whistle just a few minutes away, the spectators- who had fallen quite silent by that point- found their voice back as news started floating of Tore Reginiussen’s shock equalizer in the dying moments of the game in Germany.
It was a dramatic end to another famous European night at Parkhead, where the Bhoys went home happy even after witnessing their team lose.
With the prospect of more European action to come at their fortress, perhaps the stunning picture of their iconic ground which has dropped online is a fitting tribute to Hoops’ luck and resilience that helped them progress through such a tricky group.
Check out Celtic Park shining bright under lights:
Despite substitute Lucas Moura’s equalizer in the dying moments of Tottenham’s fighting 1-1 draw against Barcelona, the North London team and their supporters who were perched at Camp Nou had to wait a bit to know for sure if they had made it through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Miles away at the San Siro, Inter Milan were locked in their own battle against PSV Eindhoven. The Italians had similarly trailed for most of the match but had come back through a Mauro Icardi strike and were searching for a winner that would have propelled them to second spot in the group ahead of Spurs.
So, with the game in Spain done and dusted, the away contingent in Barca’s iconic stadium had to endure a few minutes of suspense as there was still some time left for the action to end in Italy.
Then, as news of the Dutchmen managing to hold off Inter finally arrived, Tottenham fans couldn’t help but erupt in sheer joy at their team somehow scraping through to the last 16 of the European competition.
Watch out the exact moment below:
Laurent Koscielny made a long-awaited return to action as Arsenal stretched their unbeaten run to 22 games in all competitions with an easy 1-0 victory over Qarabag in their last group stage encounter of the Europa League.
The Gunners’ captain had not featured in a match for the North London club since May, when he ruptured his Achilles during the semi-finals defeat against Atletico Madrid in the same competition.
While he had an easy game against a weak opposition attack, the veteran defender’s timely return comes as a welcome boost for Unai Emery with Rob Holding out for the season and Shkodran Mustafi nursing a hamstring injury.
With about 20 minutes left to go, the Emirates crowd went on to give a rousing applause to their 33-year-old skipper who couldn’t stop beaming as he made his way to the bench after being substituted.
Even teammates Matteo Guendouzi and Alexandre Lacazette seemed quite delighted as they welcomed Koscielny quite warmly and in a light-hearted incident, went on to assist him with his jacket as he was about to sit down.
Wonderful moment shared by the trio and another instance of the growing camaraderie amongst Arsenal players. Check it out below:
Having made it to the Champions League knockout stages with a dramatic 1-1 draw at Barcelona, Tottenham fans will be hoping their new stadium gets ready to host the first-leg of their last 16 tie when Europe’s premier competition returns to action in February 2019.
The new White Hart Lane was set to open in September this year but has faced constant delays due to construction and safety issues.
With Spurs chairman Daniel Levy recently announcing further delay, the North London club’s first home match of the new year- against Manchester United on 13th January- looks set to be played out at Wembley.
While the news would have frustrated fans yet again, they’ll once again have to find relief in the thought that the 62,000 seater arena looks quite glorious and they’ll be in for a magical experience whenever it is ready to host matches.
To help keep their mood up for the day, a beautiful picture of their home ground clicked by a fan from his flight has arrived online and Spurs faithful would do well to have a look because it’s an absolute belter.
Go check it out:
Mohamed Salah was in full flow on Tuesday night at Anfield, with Napoli defenders having a torrid time dealing with his speed and skills as Liverpool progressed further in the Champions League with a 1-0 win.
The Egyptian forward’s goal in the first-half showed exactly what he can do to even the biggest of defenders as he first outmuscled Mario Rui to latch on to James Milner’s pass and then skinned the towering Kalidou Koulibaly with a quick feint before slotting the ball home between goalkeeper David Ospina’s legs.
While Koulibaly was still somewhat successful in keeping the 26-year-old shackled during the rest of the 90 minutes, left-back Rui wasn’t quite as fortunate.
An epic photo that’s emerged online showing the 27-year-old defender being left to eat dust on the ground is a perfect example of the kind of impact Salah had during that magical evening at the hosts’ iconic ground.
Check it out:
Manchester United fans who had travelled all the way to Spain were left disappointed after the Red Devils lost their Champions League group stage encounter against Valencia 2-1.
While Jose Mourinho’s men were already assured of qualification to the knockout stages, a win would have helped them top the group above Juventus, who were shockingly defeated by Young Boys with a similar scoreline.
But the evening turned out to be sour for the visitors as they fell behind with not even twenty minutes of the game gone by and then saw their misery doubled early in the second half when Phil Jones scored a comical own goal.
That’s not all though, for the travelling contingent also had to endure an x-rated message in the stands displayed by some locals, who were fans of English team Leeds United, historical rivals of the Old Trafford club.
Though Leeds have been playing in England’s second tier for the past few years, the hostility between the two clubs is such that rivalry is known to go beyond the action on the field.
In this case, the hatred crossed to another country and Manchester United were at the receiving end of it on a day when not much went right for them.
Check out what Leeds United fans had in store for the Red Devils in Valencia:
Having evidenced Christian Eriksen’s magical performance against Barcelona at Camp Nou on Tuesday night, Tottenham would do well to sort out a new deal for their star man and quickly, seeing as the Dane has just over a year left on his current contract.
The 26-year-old was everywhere on the pitch, pulling the strings for a resilient Spurs side that never gave up after conceding early and were finally rewarded when Lucas Moura equalized late in the match to snatch a 1-1 draw and ensure progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
In fact, the visitors could have got more goals had they made full use of Eriksen’s wonderful display of incisive passing.
The midfielder ran Barca defenders ragged with his tireless running and creativity with the ball, and even forced goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen into making a couple of fine saves.
Such was the effect of Eriksen’s colossal performance that Sergio Busquets- the hosts’ tenacious defensive midfielder- was spotted reacting with frustration after one of the former’s passes surged past him.
Check out a compilation of the Danish international’s numerous surging passes and also spot Busquets almost going mad at the end there: