Alexander M Gross
Literature | Language | Culture

By: A M Gross | September 22, 2019

Wednesday 18 September, 17:55 hrs

Champions League (BT Sport)

Tottenham Hotspur relinquished a two-goal lead in Piraeus against a dogged and determined Olympiakos side still looking for its first win in the UEFA Champions League group stage in four years. Mauricio Pochettino fielded a strong team for this first return to continental competition since defeat in last season's final to Liverpool in Madrid. Lucas Moura, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli started behind frontman Harry Kane, with Ben Davies replacing Danny Rose at left back. Spurs endured an early fright after 17 minutes when Guerrero struck the post and Brazilian midfielder Guilherme hit the ball into the ground and just over Hugo Lloris's crossbar.

On 24 minutes Tottenham were awarded a penalty when Yassine Meriah just caught Harry Kane on his way into the area. Kane dispatched the penalty kick down the centre for his fifteenth Champions League goal in just 20 appearances. Spurs doubled their advantage just a few minutes later, Moura finding the net with a great strike from 20 yards. Yet any prospects of comfortably securing three away points on matchday one in the heated atmosphere of the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium were dispelled still before half time, when the Portuguese winger Daniel Podence combined with Mathieu Valbuena on the right flank and surged between Davies and Jan Vertonghen before finishing past Lloris with a low driven shot at the far post.

The second half began with Alli finding the net from close range to restore a two-goal cushion, but VAR confirmed that he had just strayed offside as Eriksen played his enticing cross behind the Olympiakos back line. Moments later, the home side capitalised on the energy in the stadium that had been generated by the VAR reprieve. A series of contentious collisions in the Spurs penalty area culminated in a foul on Valbuena by Vertonghen, when the Belgian clumsily stood on his opponent's foot facing away from goal at the edge of the box. Valbuena scored from the spot past his countryman Lloris, and Olympiakos found themselves on level terms.

The visitors' best chance to snatch a victory came just a few minutes from time, when substitute Erik Lamela found space on the left side of the penalty area but shot straight at the goalkeeper, with Moussa Sissoko and most notably Harry Kane waiting to pounce in the goalmouth. The England captain showed his frustration at Lamela's decision making, and again moments later when he hit the crossbar from eight yards out. Tottenham came away with a point from a difficult Champions League destination, but will rue the loss of another two-goal lead after the North London derby ended with the same scoreline earlier this month.

Lloris; Sánchez, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Davies; Winks, Ndombele (Sissoko 62), Eriksen, Alli (Son 73), Lucas (Lamela 76); Kane

Goals: Kane (p26), Lucas (30), Podence (44), Valbuena (p54)

Category: Champions League 

Tags: Olympiakos