From A Spurs Fan: Champions League Quarter Final Leg 2, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The VAR
I am a huge Tottenham Spurs fan. No I am not from North London (I’m Canadian) but I fell in love with the beautiful game after the 1998 World Cup. I started to get into the Premier League in the early to mid 2000s and wound up choosing Spurs as my club because a) I enjoyed their kits b) I really enjoyed saying Tottenham Hotspur c) everyone who watched soccer at school liked either Man U, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool or Barcelona and I guess I wanted to root for an underdog that still had history and could one day come back to glory. Spurs fans had a taste of it with Bale and Modric before they were sold to the goliath Real Madrid and I soon found out about Spusy uping the joint when they bobbled their chance to win the Premier League in the 2015-2016 season. So with my Spurs heading into the second leg against the vaunted Manchester City up one nil on aggregate with no away goals conceded, I really didn’t know what to expect. Hopes were high but I have been beaten into submission with feelings of happiness being ripped away from my fandom.
Here is my timeline of that classic game that has given us Spurs fan’s hope yet again…..
1:45 pm - It’s a beautiful day and I have it off no less and I just finished doing laundry and yard work after a night out with the boys drinking and watching the Raptors dummy the Magic, what a time to be alive!
2:45pm - After a quick shower and a couple of games of FIFA, I switch over to DAZN and try to decide what Spurs Jersey to wear. I go with the Under Armour 2015-16 home one, with the blue sash design. Not a great feeling as I got whooped in my first game of FIFA vs Bayern and pulled out a draw against Man U, but needed Kane to nab a late one to steal a point. It really brought home the point of how thin this Spurs roster is and that this is not Huddersfield at home. Yes Kane scored a tap in and claimed it, we get it Arsenal fans.
2:55 - I realize Dele Alli is in the starting line up, nice! hopefully he can thread some passes and be his usual dick self and cause some havoc.
3:00 - I’m settled in, my body is ready!
3:05 - Raheem Sterling (who has proved all the haters wrong this season) finishes a gem from the space he found on the left hand side after piss poor defending, it’s gonna be a long afternoon. I text one of my few footy friends Alex and tell him “soccer sucks, I’m sticking to hockey, a classy Canadian institution.”
3:08 - SOOOOOOOOON! Sonaldo! Korean Mesi! Ederson makes a mess of a hard Son shot and Spurs have the coveted away goal. “I love this beautiful game!” I text to Alex.
3:10 - Holly fuck! I am on dream street! Another Son goal are you kidding me, this one was a no doubter from Son, a real peach of a goal curling it top corner.
3:12 - You have got to be kidding me not even two minutes later and its all tied up now! I can’t even have five minutes to soak in this 3-1 on aggregate lead. Bernardo Silva gets the goal with a bunch of help from Danny Rose who is having a nightmare two legs so far. Aguero Swiss cheesed everyone to get it to Silva on the right side.
3:15 - Palms are sweaty, knees weak mom’s spaghetti etc. but I’m calming down. Spurs are still up one on aggregate and have the away goal advantage so City need two more goals.
3:22 - “FUUUUUUCK” is what I text Alex. I honestly can’t take this anymore, Sterling bangs in another goal from a picture perfect low cross by KDB. Trippier was caught looking and my buddy Alex (who is a United fan and hates City) rips into my boy Tripps but I can’t defend him on this one too much - we both poke of fun at Trips’ terrible chest tattoos though.
3:25 - It’s already an all time classic Champions League game and I’m hanging on by a thread of hope, all Spurs have is the away goal advantage now and I know there are more twists and turns. The lads need another goal but please lets just park the bus and ride this one out till half time.
3:35 - Sissoko has gone down and I’m nervous. I can not believe this, Ive been cursing his name for ages but mostly this season he’s been a breath of fresh air and has played himself into a bonafide starter…..oh good looks like he’s gonna be okay.
3:40 - Nope never mind Sissoko has gone off injured, great who do we have to replace him, Oliver Skipp? Man City have Sane, Fernandinho, Mahrez and Jesus on the bench and Spurs are replacing a solid midfielder with bellow average forward Fernando Llorente.
3:42 - I really need this half to end. I have accepted that Llorente is on the pitch and I trusted Spurs manager Pochettino in the first leg of the round of 16 vs Dortmund - when he had long time center back Jan Vertonghen play left wing back and boy did that pay off, of course this is a much less desirable circumstance against a better opponent that’s firing on all cylinders.
3:43 - Nice tackle Trippier, I still love you.
3:44 - Soooo close Son. Almost jumped out of my couch and yelled hat trick! Son tapped danced around former Spur Kyle Walker and sailed it just wide, great chance.
3:48 - Finally it’s half time, that was a roller coaster of emotion and I feel like I need a cold shower. I crack open my first cold one and proceed to change into my 1991 throw back FA Cup final Spurs jersey because I am a loser and feel like I have control over this game played by professional players while I drink beer on my couch.
3:52 - DAZN plays that stupid add were Zlatan says “your watching Da Zone or as I call it Da Zlatan” fuck off, its a good thing your brilliant.
3:55 - After a discussion with footy friend Alex about if you wear a Cantona jersey you should be required to have the collar flipped up by law, I blurt out Llorente sucks but he’s gonna score a header off a corner. For no reason and I swear on my mothers soul I said that….foreshadowing?
4:04 - The second half has started and my guard is up, but at least I know because City has no away goals the game can not go to extra time and or penalties, thank goodness my heart can’t take it.
4:09 - A big save by Lloris and a sigh of relief that Rose did not get a penalty off a foul in the box, doing just enough to get out in front of Bernardo Silva for a sure bet tap in after the big save.
4:13 - Just put me out of my misery! City has been bossing this second half and KDB is a man on fire, with an excellent strike just outside the box but the big lanky French keeper makes a great save!
4:18 - Fuck sakes! Well City deserved another goal in this game, vintage Aguero near post after a class flick on by KDB.
4:21 - “Well your lads still have 32 mins” says Alex. Thanks I know dickhead, sorry I’m just really bitter.
4:22 - Ugh I hate full of shit housery Fernandhinho, I hate his face, he is a great player though, he’s sub’d on in the 63rd minute of the game.
4:31 - Finally a bit of life from my Spurs, Son gets a tight angle shot in on Ederson from a nice pass from Trippier, corner! Another corner after Ederson is messy with handling the initial one……
4:32 - Llorente! I take back every thing I have said about you! Oh wait no this is gonna get called back for sure on VAR isn’t it, ugh I hate VAR! The B.S pk given on a beyond harsh Rose hand ball call (Lloris saved it) in the first leg and now your gonna take this moment away from me!
4:34 - It Stands! Off the hip! I am completely biased here and could see this one being called back but who cares it’s 4-4 and if it stays this way Spurs go to the semi’s on away goals.
4:35 - “Oh my God dude you called It!” says Alex. I can not believe I called Llorente off a corner during half time (to be fair I said header not hipper) but honestly the only other time I called something like this was when my Dad and I went to the Grey Cup game in 2017 ,Canadian footballs Superbowl. Right before kickoff I went to the only other Toronto Argonauts fan’s in our section and I half buzzed said 27-24 Argo’s I can feel it. Even though I saw like 3hours of CFL football all year and couldn’t name you any one on either team - sure enough the final whistle blew: 27-24 Argos over Stampeders and those two guys jumped for joy and yelled “this guy is a fucking time traveler!”
4:42 - 83rd min Sane is in for Mendy, what a treat that is for City supporters, I’m sure the Oasis brothers are happy or punching each other in the face.
4:44 - Erickson tries to catch City keeper Ederson off his line with a chip shot from the half way line, no dice but worth a go.
4:49 - The 90 minutes are up and there will be at least five minutes of added time, my heart is racing, the bus has been parked and I know City are gonna go full out, this would be so Spursy to let it slip after all of this, I can barley watch.
4:52 - Gutted, I hate this game so much, I am beside myself. Sterling scores after a terrible pass from Erickson led to a give away, no way back from this.
4:53 - Hold on VAR? For what, offside? No could it be? Aguero was a touch offside on the build up to that earth shattering goal…..Get outta here, NO GOAL!!!!!!! This game will not stop producing drama!
4:56 pm EST - It’s All over Spurs face off against Ajax in the Semi Finals of Champions League and I am at a lost for words. They did it, they actually pulled it off.
Hope you enjoyed my time line rundown with me and got a glimpse into my bat shit crazy fandom of Spurs football….. up next winners and losers from the quarter finals of the very same tourney I just talked about and than a look back at my all time favorite pro wrestling video game.