Vertonghen a perfect 10 as Tottenham brush aside Dortmund at Wembley
LONDON -- Tottenham are well on course to reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time since 2011 after beating Borussia Dortmund 3-0 at Wembley on Wednesday in their round-of-16 first leg.
Son Heung-Min, who played for Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen before joining Spurs, scored his ninth goal in 11 matches against Dortmund at the start of the second half. Jan Vertonghen then doubled the lead in the 83rd minute, and substitute Fernando Llorente took Spurs further out of sight late on. Tottenham fans remain keen to leave Wembley and move to their new home as soon as possible, but they will always remember this night at the national stadium.
Tottenham continue to make light of their injury issues. Mauricio Pochettino was missing his top two left-backs against Dortmund, as well as Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier. But Jan Vertonghen produced a stunning performance as a left wing-back, setting up Son's goal and then scoring himself. Meanwhile, Son continues to produce the goods up front, scoring in a fourth consecutive matches -- and Llorente is consistently providing goals and assists too. Kane and Alli could both be available by the time Tottenham head to Dortmund for the second leg in early March, but Spurs may not need them after this result.
Young Juan Foyth produced an impressive performance in defence too.
It is hard to think of a single one. This was a truly glorious night.
Manager rating out of 10
9 -- This was one of those matches where every call paid off. Pochettino's decision to deploy Vertonghen as the left wing-back and trust Foyth was entirely justified, and the benefits of the 3-4-2-1 formation were particularly evident when Serge Aurier set up Vertonghen's goal. The introduction of Llorente immediately paid dividends too.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Hugo Lloris, 8 -- Made a smart early save from Christian Pulisic at his near post and then an excellent diving stop to prevent Dan-Axel Zagadou's header from crossing the line just before the interval, both at 0-0.
DF Juan Foyth, 8 -- Making only his second Champions League appearance, the 21-year-old was confident in possession and set up a snapshot for Christian Eriksen after escaping from behind Dortmund's defence. He lost the ball carelessly to Pulisic just outside his own box on one occasion but redeemed himself by getting a touch on Zagadou's header, slowing it down for Lloris.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 8 -- Covered well behind the other two centre-backs, making some important interceptions, blocks and tackles, while stepping forward to win the ball deep in Dortmund's half for the second goal.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 8 -- Reliable as usual at the back and his pinpoint crossfield passes out to Vertonghen were tactically useful.
MF Serge Aurier, 8 -- The Ivorian's touch let him down a few times in the first half when his teammates found him in space, but he released Foyth with a neat flick when the Argentinian got free and then set up Vertonghen's goal with an excellent cross. He defended well too.
MF Jan Vertonghen, 10 -- At nearly 32 years of age, the Belgian flew up and down the left flank and delivered a series of excellent crosses, including the one that dropped perfectly onto Son's foot for the decisive goal. His volleyed goal, combined with his role in the clean sheet, made this a virtually perfect performance.
MF Harry Winks, 8 -- A mature outing on the big stage. While he over-hit a couple of passes when there was an opportunity to free a teammate, he was typically influential both in and out of possession.
MF Moussa Sissoko, 8 -- Hared around all over the pitch to halt Dortmund's attacks and made some enterprising breaks down the right-hand side. Spurs fans will have enjoyed his cynical trip on Jadon Sancho, which he somehow got away with.
MF Christian Eriksen, 8 -- Patiently tried to outmaneuver the visitors in a tight first half before growing in influence after the break, playing a part in the opening goal, continuing to probe and dissect the visitors and delivering the corner for Llorente's goal.
FW Son Heung-Min, 8 -- Struggled to find space in the first half but scored clinically at the start of the second, netting for the fourth match in a row. His pace and movement continued to trouble Dortmund until the end.
FW Lucas Moura, 7 -- Went agonisingly close with an early volleyed effort and saw a powerful second-half shot blocked, while he hassled Dortmund's defenders diligently.
FW Fernando Llorente, N/R -- Scored less than two minutes after coming off the bench, heading home at the near post.
MF Erik Lamela, N/R -- Made a late introduction in the 90th minute.
MF Victor Wanyama, N/R -- Got a cameo appearance in injury time.