Lucas Moura’s Hat-trick Sends Tottenham into the UEFA Champions League Final
Two English teams made dramatic comebacks from three goal deficits to seal an all English European final after more than a decade
On Wednesday night, the Tottenham Hotspurs pulled off a stunning comeback against a young Ajax side in the UEFA Champions League semi-final. Trailing 3-0 on aggregate at half time, a hat-trick by Tottenham’s Lucas Moura in the second period sent them through to the final.
Lucas Moura – Tottenham’s New Star
Harry Kane’s injury was a blessing in disguise as Lucas Moura made the most of the opportunity. All the three goals he scored were spot on. Alongside Moura was Son, returning from suspension, and Erisken, featuring in the central midfield role. The trio caused a ton of problems for the opposition defence. Two goals from Moura came within a period of five minutes in the second half and the momentum was on Tottenham’s side. In the dying minutes of stoppage time, Alli’s quick turnover was picked by a sprinting Moura who scored an excellent goal. Ajax’s goalkeeper Onana had clearly no chance of the saving the ball, sending the Spurs straight into the final.
Pochettino in Tears
Pochettino was celebrating Moura’s winning goal and tears were seen rolling down his cheeks. It was an emotional moment for the Spurs manager. Qualifying for the European final was the biggest achievement in Pochettino’s career after taking over the managerial role in 2014. Interestingly, Spurs have not won a trophy in 11 years. Pochettino has also hinted that he may leave the club if they win the UCL title.
“It's an amazing feeling, I am so grateful to this group of players that for me are not heroes but are superheroes. They never give up, the faith, the belief was amazing and I want to congratulate them. The players own the football and I am so proud to be their manager."
-Pochettino,Spurs Manager on the victory against Ajax
Bad Luck for Ajax
Ajax were the dark horse of the tournament, defeating Real Madrid and Juventus to make it to the UCL semi-final. Until Lucas Moura’s goal in the penultimate minute, Ajax seemed like they were well on their way to the finals. Even after the Spurs levelled the score at 2-2 (Aggregate 3-2), Ajax did not lose hope. They were prolific with their attack but could not convert it into goals. Post the hour mark, Ajax’s forward Ziyech attempted a shot; unfortunately, it hit the woodwork and rebounded.
This is the third time an all-English final will be contested in UEFA Champions league history. The last time two English teams featured in the finals was the 2008 match between Manchester United and Chelsea. With just one game left to play in the Premier League and Spurs having already booked a top four berth, their focus will all be on the Champions League final. The UEFA Champions League final will be contested between Liverpool and the Tottenham Hotspurs on June 1st in Madrid, Spain.