Harry Kane produced a moment of magic, scoring from the halfway line in injury time as Tottenham beat Juventus 3-2 in a magnificent game in Singapore.
It was the final decisive moment in an International Champions Cup game in which both sides had led.
Eric Lamela had tapped Spurs in front before Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo turned the game in favour of the Italian champions.
Ronaldo gave the crowd the moment it craved with a low eight-yard finish.
But Tottenham’s £53.8m record signing Tanguy Ndombele – introduced for his debut just after the hour – used his first touch to provide the through ball for Lucas Moura to equalise.
The game seemed certain to go to penalties until Kane, on as a half-time substitute, looked up about a stride inside the Juventus half and sent the ball sailing over former Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny and into the net.
It was a fitting end to a marvellous game, which included a debut for Juventus’ newest signing, Matthijs de Ligt.
Ronaldo v Son
Judging by the reaction of the supporters, this was not so much Juventus against Tottenham as Ronaldo against Son Heung-min: one of the world’s most popular and recognisable footballer against – on present form – Asia’s best player.
Any time either of them touched the ball, the crowd was in a frenzy. In fact, Ronaldo missed with an overhead kick and a header – which was actually a very good chance – yet still drew screams.
If Ronaldo was frustrated at wasting the headed chance, he was incredulous when Tottenham defender Kyle Walker-Peters blocked a goal-bound flick that seemed certain to put the Italian side ahead.
Son does not have the overt showmanship of his fellow number seven.
The South Korean is the ultimate team man, an attitude that brought Tottenham their goal, given he could easily have gone on his own rather than lay off a pass to 17-year-old Troy Parrott for the shot that ended up at Lamela’s feet.
Son hit a post in the opening stages of a half Tottenham dominated, despite Pochettino naming a mix-and-match starting line-up for their first game since losing the Champions League final to Liverpool on 1 June.
Pochettino’s side contained four outfield players who have barely made a first-team appearance between them.
Juventus’ Champions League mission
Juventus are evidently a club on a mission.
After signing Ronaldo in July 2018, this year they have brought back legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, added free transfer signing Aaron Ramsey – who was not fit enough to make this tour – plus midfielder Adrien Rabiot and two youngsters in Luca Pellegrini and Merih Demiral.
To that group, last week they added De Ligt, the much-coveted Dutch defender who captained Ajax to the Champions League semi-final last season despite still being in his teens.
They also have a new manager in Maurizio Sarri, who has left Chelsea to return to his native Italy but still paces his technical area chewing on a cigarette filter.
Juventus have all the component parts required to end a 23-year wait for a third Champions League – they have won eight successive Serie A titles, so domestic supremacy is obviously not the target – which is why it was a surprise they were behind at the break.
Not a normal pre-season game
There were three minutes between Higuain and Ronaldo’s goals, and only another five before Lucas equalised.
It was fantastic entertainment for a crowd that swelled the numbers attending Singapore’s two International Champions Cup games to more than 100,000 following Manchester United’s victory over Inter Milan in the same stadium on Saturday.
The format of the competition, hosted across three continents as selected sides – nearly all European heavyweights – play three matches each, may be derided by some.
But it has succeeded in producing more competitive ‘friendlies’ and this superb offering was the perfect example, with Moussa Sissoko adding to the occasion with a couple of thunderous challenges.
And when Kane managed to bring the crowd to its feet for a final time, it was a send off worthy of any match.
‘Unbelievable from Harry’
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino…
On Kane’s goal: “I think it was a great goal. Unbelievable form Harry. It’s good for him to start pre-season scoring.
“He is a player that has the capacity to do what he did today. He played more than I expect today. We planned 15 minutes but with the tempo in second half it was good to play 30. We are happy with him but don’t expect too much. We know his talent and what he can add but step by step – we don’t want to put pressure on him.
“We are happy with the performance but most importantly we are happy all the players finish in a good position to train tomorrow and build our fitness.”
On debutant Ndombele: “Of course but we cannot expect too much. He’s only got to know his teammates, to adapt to new country, culture, players, new tempo. All is new for him.
“I think in the first touch of the ball it showed the quality. It was amazing. You see when he touches, when he runs something can happen. He has the capacity to add different things and I hope he can help us achieve what we want.”
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