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Juventus snatch 2-1 win against Tottenham

Gonzalo Higuain of Juventus scores the equaliser during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg against Tottenham Hotspur at the Wembley Stadium in London.
 LONDON, March 8: Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala scored twice inside three minutes as Juventus stunned Tottenham with a second-half fightback to reach the Champions League quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory.

While Juventus collapsed in the first leg to draw 2-2, it was Tottenham’s turn at Wembley Stadium to throw away a winning position and go out with a 4-3 aggregate loss.

When Son Heung-min capped a dominant first half for Tottenham with a goal, it should have been a platform to build on for a team without a domestic league title in 57 years against one that has won the last six Serie A titles.

But a pair of substitutions and a tactical shift – from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 – by Massimiliano Allegri transformed the last-16 match.

And it was the pair of Argentines that ended the hopes of compatriot Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager.

Higuain struck from close range in the 64th minute and then created the winner, holding off three Tottenham players before feeding Dybala to net his first Champions League goal of the season.

From a position of strength, this was a capitulation stemming from a loss of concentration and composure by the hosts.

“I think we conceded three chances and they scored twice,” Pochettino said.

“I am disappointed because we missed a lot of chances and because the team deserved more.”

There was one chance to force the game into extra time in the 90th. Harry Kane’s header hit the post and the ball crept across Gianluigi Buffon’s goal line before being hooked clear by Andrea Barzagli.

“It’s the history of Tottenham,” Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini said.

“They always create many chances to score... But at the end they miss something.”

Tottenham who had earlier defeated defending champions Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in the group stage, there would be no third European Cup quarterfinal in its history. Instead Pochettino’s side became the first English side to be eliminated in the Champions League this season.

Chelsea and Manchester United will complete their second legs next week, but two Premier League clubs are already through.

A day after Liverpool ousted Porto, Manchester City advanced on Wednesday with a 5-2 victory over Basel despite losing 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Spurs had chances to build one early in the second leg.

Son forced an early save out of Buffon and Kane broke past Chiellini and rounded the goalkeeper only to hit the side netting.

When Tottenham rues its second-half collapse, it should remember how fortunate it was to avoid losing a player and conceding a penalty in the 17th minute when Douglas Costa was tripped by Jan Vertonghen.

Tottenham’s breakthrough came after Dele Alli had given Buffon a comfortable save and Son skewed a shot wide. – AP

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