Tottenham reporter Dan Thacker savours a triumph down to unfaltering belief and a "superhero" called Lucas Moura.
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Tottenham's miraculous second-leg recovery against Ajax was, according to second-half hat-trick scorer Lucas Moura, a "big gift from god". Yet unwavering belief has been a constant in the club's journey to a first UEFA Champions League final.
Even so, for all his pre-match talk about belief and after all his players have been through this season, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino must – perhaps somewhere in the deepest recesses of his soul – have been doubting whether his side could really pull off this spectacular heist when Moussa Sissoko sent his Hail Mary pass high into the Amsterdam night.
Jan Vertonghen's crossbar-bound effort notwithstanding, an Ajax side fuelled by their own sense of destiny had been successfully repelling Tottenham's late advances and were closing in on a first final in over 20 years. Yet Moura's intervention, which plenty of Spurs fans will no doubt suggest was divine, means that it is Tottenham who will be in Madrid on 1 June.
The Spanish capital seemed a long way away on the club's last visit to the Netherlands – a 2-2 draw with Ajax's Eredivisie title rivals PSV Eindhoven in late October. After that result, Pochettino conceded that his side's hopes were "nearly over" and that there was "minimum possibility" of progression.
Minimum possibility, though, is not quite the same as elimination. In some ways this Amsterdam turnaround was in keeping with Tottenham's continental campaign, which has been chock-full of late drama, fuelled by a singularity of purpose.
Harry Kane scored an 89th-minute winner against PSV in London while Christian Eriksen left it to until the 80th minute to strike against Internazionale. Moura has previous, too: he converted with five minutes to spare in Barcelona in the final round of group games.
This trumped the lot, though; surely the greatest night in Tottenham's modern history. "Thank you, football, thank you to my players," an emotional Pochettino said. "I have a group of players who are heroes. The second half was amazing. It is impossible to live this type of emotion without football. Thank you to everyone who has believed in us. To describe this in words is difficult."
The hero of the hour, Moura, also stuck to Pochettino's – and Tottenham's – theme of belief afterwards. "Always believe in this moment," he said. "We gave everything on the pitch and deserved this moment – we are family. Everyone worked really hard.
"It's difficult to play here against Ajax but I always believed in my team-mates. Football is amazing – it gives us a moment like this. We cannot imagine. It's the best moment in my career."
For Pochettino, whose side's conviction is best reflected in the fact that they have become the first in history to reach the final having had just one point after three group games, Moura was a "superhero". Eriksen described his team-mate as a "saviour" and jokingly suggested building a "statue" for the Brazilian.
Any such construction will have to wait a while; Tottenham have other grand designs in mind.