Marseille 1-2 Tottenham: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg secures dramatic comeback as Spurs reach Champions League last 16

Marseille 1-2 Tottenham: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg secures dramatic comeback as Spurs reach Champions League last 16

Tottenham will play in the Champions League knockout stages after Clement Lenglet’s second-half header and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s stoppage-time goal secured a 2-1 win against Marseille on a wild night in Provence.

Spurs were outplayed at the Stade Velodrome, unable to register a single touch inside their opponents’ box – and Marseille rightfully seized the lead in stoppage time, when Jordan Veretout hooked in a short corner and former Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba headed home.

Spurs, with head coach Antonio Conte in the grandstand, lost striker Son Heung-min to a head injury in the first half, but came out of the break a different squad, taking control following Lenglet’s equaliser.

For the visitors, Hojbjerg hit the crossbar, but Marseille could have scored late on when Sead Kolasinac missed an open goal with a header. Hojbjerg then secured the victory in stoppage time, putting Tottenham top of the group and leaving Marseille, who had led the group earlier in the evening, in fourth place and out of Europe.

“We have to analyse the performance,” Tottenham assistant coach Cristian Stellini stated. We replicate the same pattern as the previous three or four games by falling behind. In the first half, we lacked both power and intensity. We gave them too much room in our part. The pitch is lost. They were in command of the game.

“We had better control in the second half, when we switched to a 3-5-2 formation.” We have a strong second half.

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“I like it when we win. These players deserve to win; we’re a terrific squad, but we have to put in the effort for 90 minutes. We must give it our all throughout the game.

“I spoke with Antonio – he is tired because the game in the crowd for him is not normal. He wastes a lot of energy. It’s better to be on the touchline with the players.”

Elsewhere in Group D, Eintracht Frankfurt came from behind to beat Sporting CP to move from third into the second qualification place on a pulsating night of European football which swung one way and then the other.

Tottenham were given a taste of what was awaiting them in their Champions League clash with Marseille as home fans conducted a firework display ahead of kick-off.

Marseille 1-2 Tottenham: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg secures dramatic comeback as Spurs reach Champions League last 16

Thousands of home fans, who were enjoying a bank holiday in France, gathered outside the Stade Velodrome and released a barrage of pyrotechnics.

They had also let off fireworks outside Tottenham’s hotel on multiple occasions throughout Monday night. Marseille would have gone through to the knockout stages with victory, while Spurs knew they would progress with a draw or a win.

Eric Bailly was forced off early as his injury problems continued before Veretout had a good chance of breaking the deadlock when his shot was palmed away by Hugo Lloris. But Spurs were dealt a blow when Son was forced off midway through the opening period after sustaining a heavy knock to his cheekbone.

It was unclear whether the South Korean posed a concussion danger, although no concussion substitutes are authorised in UEFA play.

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Tottenham stated after the game that Son was taken off with a swollen eye, which would be evaluated properly on Wednesday. Given the absence of Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison, it was far from ideal.

Tottenham had a terrible first 45 minutes and went down in first-half stoppage time. Marseille promptly took a corner, and Mbemba was given a clean header to blast into the bottom corner.

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Sky Sports News correspondent Paul Gilmour stated from inside the Stade Velodrome: “This location has exploded. The volume is fantastic. In celebration, one of the TVs in the media area is lifted and held high by a French journalist in front of us. Behind the goal, flares are lighted. Pandemonium. On this indication, the Spurs are in for a long night.”

This was supposed to be a significant test of character, but except from Harry Kane’s late attempt in the first half, which Pau Lopez stopped, they hadn’t looked like scoring. Spurs had completed six passes in the final third, prompting Conte to request a tactical change from the sidelines – Ryan Sessegnon was replaced by Emerson Royal at halftime.

Spurs looked condemned but came out in the second half and immediately improved, levelling in the 54th minute. Ivan Perisic sent in a delicious free-kick which Lenglet headed home as Spurs continued their set-piece prowess.

The game had changed and Conte’s side were beginning to find space and had moments where they could have taken the lead.

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They wasted a chance to counter as Rodrigo Bentancur overhit a pass to Lucas Moura who was through on goal, but Spurs recycled the ball and when Royal’s cross was spilled by Lopez, Kane could not adjust his feet in time to tap-in.

They thought their moment had come in the 80th minute as they worked a throw-in brilliantly, Bentancur and Moura combining to tee up Hojbjerg, whose shot from 14 yards crashed against the crossbar.

A minute later Kane was through on goal but was denied by a brilliant last-ditch tackle by Mbemba just as he was about to pull the trigger.

Spurs escaped a scare in the 87th minute when former Arsenal midfielder Kolasinac blasted a free header wide at the far post.

It appeared like a draw would suffice, but Spurs ensured victory at the death when Kane passed in Hojbjerg, who finished impressively to calm a furious Marseille crowd.

Tottenham finished top of their group for the third time in their Champions League history, having also done so in 2010/11 and 2017/18 – but it appeared for a long time on Tuesday night that they were out of the competition.

 


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