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Duo stun Spurs

Friday, March 09, 2018

There is simply no substitute for experience in the highest tier of Europeanfootball as Juventus proved by coming back from the abyss to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 and reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

The Italians, finalists in two of the last three seasons, were outplayed by Spurs in a 2-2 first-leg draw in Turin and were on the ropes at Wembley but goals by Argentine strike duo Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala in three minutes sent them through 4-3 on aggregate.

Son Heung-min's first-half goal had Spurs in control and dreaming of a famous scalp but they paid for two defensive lapses as their 17-match unbeaten run came to an end.

Higuain, who scored twice in the first leg, levelled in the 64th minute before Dybala burst clear of a static Spurs defensive line to curl the winner past Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham will rue missed chances and Harry Kane's last-minute header against the post but Massimiliano Allegri's streetwise Juve side proved they are still one of the toughest of European nuts to crack.

"In less than three minutes we conceded two goals - two big mistakes - and that is why we are out," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said.

Giorgio Chiellini, part of a Juve back-four packing 175 Champions League appearances, said experience had been key.

Son was given the nod ahead of Erik Lamela on the left side of Tottenham's attack and fully justified Pochettino's faith as he ran Juve's defence ragged before halftime.

His stinging shot tested Juve's 40-year-old keeper Gianluigi Buffon in the third minute and another lightning burst into the box ended with Chiellini making a crucial block.

Kane should have scored his 36th goals of the season in the 14th minute when Dele Alli played him in but the England striker fired into the side-netting.

It was not one-way traffic, though, and the hosts had an enormous let-off shortly after Kane's miss.

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