Sports

Acrobatic Spurs keeper Lloris keeps Real at bay in Bernabeu

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MADRID : 

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made a string of impressive saves in the second half to earn his side a 1-1 away draw with Champions League holders Real Madrid on Tuesday which kept the two sides locked on seven points at the top of Group H.

Tottenham scored for the first time in their history against the 12-times European champions when Serge Aurier aimed a cross towards Harry Kane and defender Raphael Varane accidentally backheeled the ball into his own net in the 28th minute.

The erratic Aurier let his side down moments before the break, however, clattering into Toni Kroos in the area. Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot in the 43rd minute after sending Lloris the wrong way. It was his fifth Champions League goal of the season and he joined Spurs’ Harry Kane at the top of the competition’s scoring charts.

Madrid were more dominant in both halves but were denied a third consecutive Champions League win by the heroics of visiting captain Lloris, who made his most outstanding save by flinging his legs out to block a goal-bound header by compatriot Karim Benzema.

“A point at Bernabeu, you would take that every day of the week. It shows how far we have come as a team,” Kane told reporters.

“We are happy. Of course they are going to have chances but we played well and made it tough for them. It puts us in a great position and we play them again in a fortnight. It shows we can handle it at this level and that’s what it is all about.”

Real goalkeeper Navas added: “We nearly got the job done but we couldn’t leave here satisfied in the end. We tried to win for the whole of the game but we had a great side in front of us and there were lots of opportunities for both sides.”

Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino picked Fernando Llorente and Kane up front together for the first time this season in a bold starting line-up, although his side opted to sit back and play on the counterattack for most of the game.

Real demonstrated their renowned attacking power as early as the fourth minute when Marcelo switched play to 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi who crossed for Ronaldo to head against the near post while Benzema flashed the rebound wide.

Tottenham nearly struck down the other end when Christian Eriksen’s corner found Kane and Keylor Navas was forced to tip over the bar, while the visiting side also had a penalty appeal turned down when Casemiro trod on Llorente’s ankle.

Madrid spurned several chances to level before Ronaldo’s spot kick and prodded around the visiting area even more after the break but were repeatedly thwarted by Lloris, who also denied Ronaldo and Isco in addition to his stunning save against Benzema.

Spurs had a conservative approach in the second half but had a flurry of attempts in the space of three minutes in which Kane and Eriksen were narrowly denied by Navas, and their 4,000 visiting supporters let out a bellowing cheer when the final whistle sounded.

Published: October 18, 2017 10:35 am