Harry Kane bagged a brace as Tottenham stunned Borussia Dortmund to lift the Wembley curse and give Mauricio Pochettino’s side hope of escaping the Champions League Group of Death.
The Premier League side showed their ruthless streak to claim victory and what could be a vital three points as Group H got underway.
Real Madrid also made a winning start and are likely to be their toughest opposition in a strong group that promises to serve up excitement by the bucket load.
Heung-Min Son makes an early impact in place of Dele Alli
Tottenham are missing Alli for the first three Champions League group games as a result of his sending-off against Gent back in February, robbing Spurs of a key goal threat.
The 21-year-old has opened the scoring in two of the first four matches this season, getting the breakthrough against both Newcastle and Burnley.
But having been rested at Everton on Saturday – when he only played for the last five minutes – Son was chosen to replace Alli, and he quickly silenced any concerns.
With less than four minutes on the clock, Son broke free down the left side and made a beeline towards goal.
Last season he missed a big early chance in a key Champions League clash, squandering a one on one away against Monaco – and 90 minutes later Spurs were out of the competition.
This time, however, Son made no mistake, throwing in a step-over to bamboozle the remaining Dortmund defender before lashing the ball past Roman Burki at his near post.
The visiting goalkeeper could have done better but Son’s strike bodes well for Spurs’ next two group games and, given the 25-year-old contributed 21 goals and seven assists last term, the season ahead. Like Kane, Alli and Eriksen, he is off the mark.
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Tottenham concede another worldie at Wembley
Spurs’ poor form at the national stadium has been well documented and it must be said that, while they have made their own mistakes, they have also suffered some ill fortune.
For one thing, regardless of the opposition, visiting players keep finding the top corners with unstoppable strikes.
Last season, in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, Willian scored a free kick and Nemanja Matic smashed in a stunning effort, nicking the underside of the crossbar.
When Spurs hosted the Blues again last month, Marcos Alonso netted a free kick of his own. And, when Dortmund equalised in the 11th minute tonight, it was another eye-catching goal as Andriy Yarmolenko whipped a first-time 20-yard finish into the top left corner, leaving poor Huo Lloris with little chance.
Spurs can make their own improvements at Wembley but their efforts will be made rather easier if they can stop ending up on the wrong end of a Goal of the Season competition.
Kane shows his class on the big stage
Tottenham’s striker has little to prove in the Premier League, having won the Golden Boot in each of the past two seasons.
His challenge is to consistently transform his brilliance onto the European and international stage, and he is already doing so.
Kane is already a force for his country and reached double figures for the Three Lions with his brace against Malta during the recent international break.
Having then registered twice at Everton on Saturday, he also notched two goals against Dortmund tonight.
The first was a fine individual effort, showcasing what a well-rounded player Kane is, as well as his persistence and work ethic.
It looked difficult for Kane to even hold the ball up as he challenged for a header on the halfway line, but he won the battle, ran at goal, muscled his way past another defender and finished with aplomb.
Kane missed a chance after the break when he fired over the bar, but he made no mistake when the next chance came his way on the hour-mark, burying a low angled drive into the far corner.
He has now scored six goals in four matches for club and country, and four in four in the Champions League, including last season’s strikes. He continues to answer every question asked of him.
New boys play their parts in a well-organised rearguard action
Davinson Sanchez and Serge Aurier have not had long to train with his new team-mates but both men were named in the starting line-up this evening, the latter making his first appearance for the club.
It was a big test for them both because Dortmund – the Bundesliga leaders – dominated possession for much of the game, probing for openings and making runs in behind.
Effective organisation and communication were crucial – precisely the things that take time as defenders get used to each other – but the pair performed well.
Sanchez made the odd error, particularly when he lost the ball on the halfway line in the first half and allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to run down the touchline. But Dortmund did not get many clear opportunities through the centre and their only goal came from the aforementioned long-range effort.
Meanwhile, Aurier showed his experience with a solid display at right wing-back while making offensive contributions when safely able to.
The Ivorian looked a little rusty at times, overhitting a couple of crosses and sending another straight at the goalkeeper. But he also freed Son with a through ball – the South Korean was flagged offside – and played some useful passes down the right channel to free Kane and Son.
With Fernando Llorente also making his debut as a late substitute to help see out the game, Spurs’ new recruits are already showing their worth.
The only disappointment from the evening is that Tottenham will now lose Jan Vertonghen to a European suspension after he was sent off late on for catching Mario Gotze with a swinging arm – a decision that looked rather harsh.
What a time to get that elusive win at Wembley
Tottenham went into this match with only one win in 11 matches under the arch – a record that threatened to undermine their confidence at their temporary home and undermine their efforts in all competitions.
Meanwhile, this immediately looked to be the key game for Spurs in Group H. With reigning champions Real Madrid likely to finish top of the foursome and Cypriot side Apoel Nicosia the underdogs, Spurs and Dortmund are likely to finish second and third – but in what order?
Tonight’s game was crucial and, by winning it, Tottenham already look well-placed to qualify.
The general theory is that 10 points are needed to reach the knockout stages. On that basis, the Lilywhites now just need another seven, and two of their remaining matches are against Apoel, who were beaten 3-0 by Real Madrid at the Bernabeu tonight.
While the Cypriots should not be underestimated, Spurs have crucially gained a three-point lead over the side most likely to beat them to second place – and they are three points better off than they were at this stage last season, when they lost their Champions League opener at home to Monaco.
These are early days but there is every reason to hope that Tottenham, having fallen disappointingly short last year, are now ready to make the step up and show their class against the cream of Europe.
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