Champions League group stage recap: Tottenham the late show specialists
Friday, February 10, 2023
Antonio Conte's team were involved in plenty of drama before sealing top spot in a tight Group D.
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Spurs won their first game in the latter stages and lost their second in the dying embers – it proved to be the start of a group-long trend.
The London outfit needed another late intervention on Matchday 5 to keep first place in their hands and an even more dramatic finale to seal top spot in their final outing.
Campaign so far
Group D winners: W3 D2 L1 F8 A6
Top scorer: Heung-Min Son, Richarlison (2)
07/09: Tottenham 2-0 Marseille (Richarlison 76 81)
13/09: Sporting CP 2-0 Tottenham (Paulinho 90, Arthur Gomes 90+3)
04/10: Frankfurt 0-0 Tottenham
12/10: Tottenham 3-2 Frankfurt (Son 20 36, Kane 28pen; Kamada 14, Alidou 87)
26/10: Tottenham 1-1 Sporting CP (Bentancur 80; Edwards 22)
01/11: Marseille 1-2 Tottenham (Mbemba 45+2; Lenglet 54, Højbjerg 90+5)
Campaign in ten words: Far from straightforward but Spurs kept finding a way eventually.
UEFA.com Tottenham reporter
Group D was the closest in this season's Champions League and we were treated to the tightest of finishes. Spurs had a habit of starting games slowly and in the decider at Marseille it was exactly the same. Denied early progress by late drama against Sporting CP on Matchday 5, Tottenham must have feared more of the same in France before Pierre-Emile Højbjerg's thrilling winner.
How do Tottenham play?
Antonio Conte favours a 3-4-3 formation. Spurs have generally improved as matches have gone on, and consistently responded to falling behind with great character and grandstand finishes. Performances against Eintracht Frankfurt and Sporting CP were lacklustre at times, but when it mattered most Tottenham generally found an extra gear, upping the intensity and gaining a stranglehold on their opposition.
Fantasy star performers
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg – 32 points
Ivan Perišić – 31 points
Heung-Min Son – 27 points
In: Arnaut Danjuma, Pedro Porro, Alfie Whiteman
Out: Matt Doherty, Bryan Gil, Djed Spence
Clubs had until 24:00 CET on Thursday 2 February to register a maximum of three new eligible players prior to the knockout stage. Since 2018/19, it no longer matters whether those players have already played in the competition for another club, even for another club still in the competition.
- Tottenham had failed to score in their last three away Champions League matches before the late turnaround in Marseille.
- Spurs had also never won in six previous trips to France (D4 L2) before that game.
- Tottenham had scored in their last 21 Champions League group stage matches before drawing a blank at Sporting CP on Matchday 2.