Tottenham earned a spot in the Champions League knockout stage as they beat Marseille 2-1 to win Group D.
Marseille knew they needed a win to advance and they understandably came out of traps quickly as they search for an early lead. They, though, found Hugo Lloris a significant obstacle. The France stopper made a couple of early saves, and he was relieved to see an Alexis Sanchez header drift wide too.
Tottenham were just hanging on in there without carrying any attacking threat themselves, and they suffered a big blow on the half hour when Son Hueng-min was forced off with a head injury.
The Premier League side were desperate to get in level at half time and reorganise, but they never got that chance. Former Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba powered a header into the bottom corner of Lloris’ net and Marseille had the lead their play deserved.
Tottenham needed a reaction in the second half, and they quickly got it, albeit from an unlikely source. Ivan Perisic delivered a sumptuous set-piece from the left and Clement Lenglet climbed highest to head Spurs level.
From there the game settled into an unusual pattern. Marseille did not seem to have the same energy as they showed before the break, but they continued to push forward.
That created chances for Spurs to break, yet they struggled to find a final ball each time it opened up for them. Harry Kane did have the ball in the Marseille net, but he was well offside.
Tottenham’s big chance to win it came late on, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg could only hit the bar from 15 yards when he should have scored. Kane then thought he was through on goal, but Mbemba denied him with a brilliant challenge.
A former Arsenal man should have put Tottenham out of the Champions League, though. Substitute Sead Kolasinac had a free header with the goal at his mercy, but his header could not even threaten the goal.
There was time for one last piece of drama, though, and Hojbjerg raced through deep into injury time to score a last-gasp winner and seal Tottenham’s progression into the knockout stage as group winners.
Tottenham player ratings vs Marseille
GK: Hugo Lloris – 8/10 – Kept his side in the game, especially early on.
CB: Ben Davies – 6/10 – Just about good enough, but that’s about all.
CB: Clement Lenglet – 7/10 – Majestic leap and header for the equalising goal.
CB: Eric Dier – 6/10 – Settled down after half time, but a few tough moments early on.
RWB: Ryan Sessegnon – 5/10 – Looked a bit uncomfrtable at time on his unnatural side of the pitch. Improved when he switched over to the left, but not surprise to see him get the hook at half time.
CM: Rodrigo Bentancur – 7/10 – Grew in influence as the game went on, although occasionally wasteful at key moments.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 8/10 – Quietly efficient in the centre of midfield. Hit the bar late on when he really should have scored, but got his goal in the end.
LWB: Ivan Perisic – 7/10 – Always got the feeling that if Spurs were going to create something, Perisic could be at the heart of it. Beautiful assist for Lenglet’s goal.
RF: Lucas Moura – 6/10 – Never really threatened but always a willing runner.
CF: Harry Kane – 6/10 – Uncharacteristically caught on his heels in the box on a couple of occasions. Just not his night.
LF: Son Heung-min – 5/10 – Struggled to get involved before being forced off just before the half-hour.
SUB: Yves Bissouma (29′ for Son) – 6/10 – Did okay, although he might see it as something of a missed opportunity to impress.
SUB: Emerson Royal (46′ for Sessegnon) – 6/10 – Spurs were much better from the moment he came on. Coincidence, I’m sure.
SUB: Oliver Skipp (84′ for Bentacur) – N/A
Manager: Antonio Conte – 8/10 – Banned from the touchline, but whatever tactical tweaks he was able to get across certainly did the trick.