TURIN: Tottenham recovered from conceding twice inside the opening nine minutes to draw 2-2 at Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 match on Tuesday.
Gonzalo Higuain scored twice, including a penalty, but the Argentina forward also hit the bar from another spot kick at the end of an exhilarating first half.
Tottenham had managed to reduce the deficit by then through Harry Kane, who was thwarted on several other occasions by Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, and Christian Eriksen leveled in the 72nd minute.
“It was an excellent performance after that (start) and we deserved to get back into the game,” Kane said on BT Sport. “We look back now, two away goals we’re taking to Wembley, it’s a great result.
“I had a chance before it (his goal) and I should have scored that, but like I always say, you’ve got to be ready for the next one. Dele (Alli) put a great ball in and I managed to finish it off. That got us back into the game, which was important.”
It was also an exciting first half in Basel, with Manchester City scoring three goals before going on to win 4-0 to leave it with one foot in the quarterfinals.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri went for an attacking lineup, with Federico Bernardeschi, Douglas Costa and Mario Mandzukic supporting Higuain.
And that paid off right from the start in a nightmare opening 10 minutes for Spurs.
Mousa Dembele fouled Miralem Pjanic, 30 yards (meters) from goal, inside the first minute. Pjanic himself took the free kick and picked out Higuain, who beat the offside trap to volley into the far corner.
Matters swiftly went from bad to worse for Spurs as Ben Davies tripped Bernardeschi inside the area and referee Felix Brych pointed instantly to the spot.
Higuain stepped up and placed a precise penalty into the bottom left corner for his second of the match and his eighth in his last five matches.
Tottenham had a mountain to climb against a side which had reached the Champions League final in two of the past three seasons. Juventus had not let in a goal in 2018 and had only conceded one in its past 16 matches.
However, with Juventus content to sit back, Spurs began to dominate possession and almost got one back in the 26th but Buffon pulled off a great save to keep out Kane’s header from point-blank range.
Higuain almost got his hat trick after a swift counterattack and some lovely interplay with Pjanic, but he fired narrowly wide of the left upright.
Buffon did well to tip another Kane effort round the post but Spurs were getting closer and did get back into the match 10 minutes from halftime.
Kane ran onto Dele Alli’s through ball, took it round the onrushing Buffon and calmly deposited into an empty net.
It was the first goal Juventus had conceded in 696 minutes
Spurs pushed for the equalizer but Juventus almost extended its lead on the stroke of halftime when Serge Aurier brought down Douglas Costa in the area. Higuain stepped up again but, rather than complete his hat trick, fired onto the crossbar.
He had another good chance to grab a third, shortly before the hour, but he headed a corner straight at Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who had done well to tip Bernardeschi’s effort round his post moments earlier.
Juventus was made to pay for its missed opportunities as Buffon was caught out by a low Eriksen free kick into the bottom left corner.