Tottenham’s time at Wembley: Real Madrid ecstasy to FA Cup agony

With Tottenham’s move into their new stadium set to be delayed until 2019, we take a look at the highs and lows of their time at Wembley so far.

When Spurs moved into the national stadium at the start of last season, there was understandable concern about the prospect of playing an entire season at a stadium that had not been kind to them in recent seasons.


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After striking a deal to play their Champions League games at the national stadium in 2015/16 while White Hart Lane’s capacity was reduced, Mauricio Pochettino’s side then failed to get out of the group after a series of insipid displays.

And having won 17 of their 19 league games in their final year at White Hart Lane, the thought of Spurs playing all their games at Wembley ensured fans were nervous of their prospects.

In the end, those fears were unfounded as they went on to secure third place in the Premier League and push Juventus all the way in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Here’s how they did it…

August 20, 2017: Spurs 1-2 Chelsea

Spurs were not handed an easy start to life in their temporary home, as champions Chelsea were the first visitors to the national stadium.

Much like their FA Cup semi-final defeat to the same opponents a few months earlier, Spurs dominated for long periods but found themselves on the wrong side of the result. Marcos Alonso’s delicious early free-kick was eventually cancelled out by a Michy Batshuayi own goal on 82 minutes, only for Alonso to pop up with the winner three minutes from time, beating Hugo Lloris at his near post.

Stale draws with Burnley and Swansea followed to further increase talk of a ‘Wembley curse’, although those two disappointing league results sandwiched an impressive 3-1 Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund.

October 14: Spurs 1-0 Bournemouth

Spurs finally had the home league win they craved on October 14, albeit it was a grind. Christian Eriksen’s goal two minutes after the break was enough to earn victory in a game in which they enjoyed 72.9 per cent possession.

October 22: Spurs 4-1 Liverpool

This was the game where Spurs finally felt at home at Wembley, when talk of a curse could finally be lifted, as Harry Kane’s double inspired them to a convincing win over Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Kane fired home the opener after just four minutes before capitalising on Dejan Lovren’s mistake to lay on a perfect pass for Heung-Min Son to score eight minutes later. Mohamed Salah pulled one back on 24 minutes, only for Dele Alli to volley home on the stroke of half-time.

Kane then poked home after Jan Vertonghen’s shot had been cleared off the line to complete Spurs’ then-finest display in their temporary home.

October 25: Spurs 2-3 West Ham

Three days later and Spurs looked to be enjoying life under the lights in the EFL Cup, racing into a 2-0 lead over their London rivals courtesy of goals from Moussa Sissoko and Alli.

But West Ham were a side transformed after the break and two in five minutes from Andre Ayew pulled them level before Angelo Ogbonna headed in the winner on 70 minutes.

November 1: Spurs 3-1 Real Madrid

The defining game of Spurs’ time at Wembley as the early-season complaints of a muted atmosphere were forgotten over a glorious evening in the Champions League in which Spurs would dismantle the eventual champions.

They surged into a 2-0 half-time lead thanks to two from Alli and the raucous home support could scarcely believe their eyes when a swift counter-attack was finished off by Eriksen to put them 3-0 ahead on 65 minutes.

Alli missed a glorious chance to make it 4-0 before Cristiano Ronaldo pulled one back with 10 minutes remaining, but no one in Wembley seemed to notice or care.

A December feast

By December, Spurs had fully got their feet under the table. Wembley was theirs. They played four home games that month and scored 15 goals in the process.

A 3-0 Champions League win over Apoel on December 6 was followed three days later by a 5-1 drubbing of sorry Stoke, with a 2-0 win over Brighton coming on the 13th – Serge Aurier’s fortunate cross floating in to break the visitors’ resistance.

Kane, who scored twice against Stoke, then went one better on Boxing Day, grabbing a hat-trick in a 5-1 romp past Southampton to cap a wonderful month at Wembley for Pochettino’s side.

January 31: Spurs 2-0 Man Utd

Spurs took their fine Wembley form into the New Year, with Son’s stunning strike earning a 1-1 draw with a battling West Ham before they dismantled Everton 4-0 on the 13th – Kane adding two more to his tally.

But if Real Madrid was the most emotional night for Spurs at Wembley, the 2-0 win over United at the end of the month was the most ruthless.

They were ahead after just 17 seconds – Kane’s knockdown flicked in Eriksen’s path by Alli and the Dane made no mistake from 10 yards. A Phil Jones own goal followed on 28 minutes in one of Spurs’ most complete displays under Pochettino.

February 10: Spurs 1-0 Arsenal

None of those wins would have mattered had Spurs allowed Arsenal to beat them at the national stadium, but that rarely looked a possibility despite the narrow scoreline. Kane proved the difference again, rising high to head home four minutes after the break to reward Spurs’ domination.

They had 17 shots to Arsenal’s four and 10 corners to the visitors’ two, although Arsenal might have snatched a point only for Alexandre Lacazette to waste two last-gasp opportunities as Spurs moved up to third in the Premier League.

The win also saw Spurs break the Premier League attendance record, with 83,222 fans packed into Wembley.

March 7: Spurs 1-2 Juventus

Spurs welcomed Juventus to Wembley unbeaten at the stadium since the EFL Cup defeat to West Ham back in October and having secured a 2-2 draw in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie in Italy. They looked set for a famous aggregate win when Son put them 1-0 up in the 39th minute.

But the game was turned on its head inside four second-half minutes as Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala struck to break the hearts of home fans.

Kane hit the inside of the post in the dying seconds, the ball bouncing away off the line and Spurs’ Champions League dream was over.

April 14: Spurs 1-3 Manchester City

Spurs had been unbeaten in the league since their opening defeat to Chelsea in August, but they were given another lesson by Manchester City having been thrashed 4-1 at the Etihad earlier in the season.

Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan put the visitors 2-0 up inside 25 minutes and although Eriksen’s fortunate goal on 42 gave Spurs hope, Raheem Sterling’s goal on 72 sealed the win that took Pep Guardiola’s side to the brink of the title.

April 21: Manchester United 2-1 Spurs

And so to Spurs’ final chance at silverware, and an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United on ‘home’ turf.

They made the perfect start, Alli scoring a neat goal on 11 minutes to reward their early dominance, but they could not extend their lead and Alexis Sanchez (24) then powered in a fine header to level for Jose Mourinho’s side.

Eric Dier’s deflected effort hit the post on the stroke of half-time, and Ander Herrera ensured United’s record-equalling 20th FA Cup final – and Spurs’ eighth successive FA Cup semi-final defeat – with a crisp finish.

May 13: Spurs 5-4 Leicester

Spurs’ final game of the 2017/18 season was a bonkers affair – a classic end-of-season goal-fest as both teams swung at each other without care for any defence.

Jamie Vardy scored twice and both times Kane replied within three minutes. In between Erik Lamela grabbed two of his own, with Riyad Mahrez, a Christian Fuchs own goal and Kelechi Iheanacho also notching, but it was Kane’s second on 76 which secured third place for Spurs.

September 15: Spurs 1-2 Liverpool

This was supposed to be Spurs’ first game at their new stadium, but ‘critical system’ delays meant an extended stay at Wembley, allowing Liverpool to gain a measure of revenge for their 4-1 drubbing last season.

In truth, it was a comprehensive win for the Reds, Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino rewarding the visitors for their dominance, with Lamela’s last-minute strike offering a lethargic Spurs a flattering scoreline.

October 3: Spurs 2-4 Barcelona

If Spurs were too good for Ronaldo last season, Lionel Messi was determined to prove he and his Barcelona team would not suffer the same fate.

The Argentinian put on a Champions League masterclass to inspire his side to victory in a pulsating game that could have ended 4-8.

After setting Philippe Coutinho up for his second-minute opener, Messi hit the post twice and scored twice, with Ivan Rakitic’s stunning volley adding the gloss to a famous night.

Yet Spurs might have nicked something from the game, with Lamela’s 66th-minute goal hauling them back to 3-2 before Lucas Moura’s shot was blocked with the ‘keeper beaten. But Barca held on and it was fitting that Messi sealed the win with his second in added time.

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