Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen pulled Tottenham back from the brink to hold Juventus 2-2 in Turin, spoiling what had looked set to be a Gonzalo Higuain one-man show in the Champions League last 16, first leg in Turin on Tuesday.
Higuain had put Juventus — losing finalists twice in the past three seasons — two goals up within the first nine minutes at the Allianz Stadium.The Argentine’s lightning strike after just 73 seconds was followed by a second from the spot to leave Mauricio Pochettino’s English side reeling.
But the 30-year-old missed two further chances to hammer home Juventus’s advantage in the first half, with striking the crossbar with a second penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Kane had pulled Tottenham back into the tie, beating veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon on 35 minutes with Eriksen whipping in the second with a 70th-minute free-kick to leave it all to play for in London next month.
“The team showed real character to come here and challenge a team like Juventus,” said Pochettino who blamed the inexperience of his side for their sluggish start.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri warned they would be ready to challenge again for a place in the quarter-finals after extending their unbeaten run at home in Champions League fixtures to 23 games.
Pochettino’s side looked down and out after the first ten minutes with Miralem Pjanic lifting a free-kick into the penalty area and an unmarked Higuain volleying past Hugo Lloris, despite being in an offside position.Higuain’s second came from a penalty after Ben Davies fouled Federico Bernardeschi, with Lloris diving the right way but unable to stop the powerful drive.
Higuain almost had a hat-trick, picking up a Pjanic pass to outfox two Spurs defenders only to shoot just wide.
Buffon twice saved from Kane, including a header from point-blank range, before the striker finally broke through.
Spurs began to take control, only for Serge Aurier to concede another spot-kick by hacking down Douglas Costa, but Higuain was denied a treble by the crossbar.
Kane pulled Spurs back from the brink, latching onto a Dele Alli pass to round a helpless Buffon who had advanced off his line, making no mistake in front of goal.
It was 24-year-old Kane’s seventh goal in Europe’s top club competition this season and puts him level with Steven Gerrard for the most scored by an English player in a single Champions League campaign.