LONDON – Juventus staged a stunning fightback against Tottenham to reach the Champions League quarter-finals 4-3 on aggregate after Paulo Dybala sealed a dramatic 2-1 win in the last 16, second leg on Wednesday.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side were on the brink of elimination after Son Heung-Min’s first-half strike put Tottenham ahead at Wembley.
But, despite being completely outplayed in the opening period, Juventus buckled down after the break and equalised through Gonzalo Higuain.
That was the decisive moment as Tottenham suddenly went to pieces, allowing the Italian champions to score again two minutes and 49 seconds later as Dybala punished poor defending with a cool finish.
It was an epic escape act from Juventus, who remain on course to reach a third Champions League final in four seasons after twice finishing as runners-up.
The two-time European champions have enjoyed some memorable moments in the competition, but coming back from the brink against such in-form opposition will rank as one of their finest hours.
Crashing out after having the tie in their hands was a bitter pill for Tottenham to swallow and once again raised questions about their ability to win major trophies.
Meanwhile, Manchester City secured their place in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, but did little to enhance their tag as favourites to win the competition as a much-changed side suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat by Basel.
Despite losing for just the fourth time all season, the runaway Premier League leaders still cruised through 5-2 on aggregate after doing the hard work in Switzerland three weeks ago.
City manager Pep Guardiola could afford the luxury of making six changes from Sunday’s dominant 1-0 win over Chelsea, but still saw his side extend their aggregate advantage early on when Gabriel Jesus tapped home after just eight minutes.
However, Mohamed Elyounoussi exposed some slack City defending to smash in an equaliser for the Swiss champions nine minutes later before Michael Lang rocketed home a spectacular winner 19 minutes from time.
Leroy Sané was one of few regular starters retained in Guardiola’s starting XI and continued his supreme form by creating the opener.
Jesus hadn’t started since suffering knee ligament damage on New Years’ Eve, but had the simplest of tasks to get back among the goals when Bernardo Silva latched on to Sané’s pass to produce a inch-perfect low cross for the Brazilian.
FULL-TIME | 🔵 1-2 🔴 (5-2) #cityvfcb #mancity
A loss on the night, but a convincing scoreline in the tie overall sees us progress through the last 16 in the @championsleague for the second time! Quarter finals incoming! 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/YG4m3NGBKD
City should have gone even further in front as Silva’s shot from a dangerous Sané cut-back was blocked, before Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik made a fine block to deny Ilkay Gundogan his third goal of the tie.
However, a minute later Basel were level as Blas Riveros burst down the left, and his deflected cross was dispatched powerfully past Claudio Bravo by Elyounoussi.
The Norwegian then had a great chance to put Basel in front on the half-hour mark when he miscued horribly wide with just Bravo to beat after he outmuscled Danilo.
Guardiola grew visibly frustrated on the touchline as his side also started the second period slowly.
And they were punished when Elyounoussi’s low cross was blasted past Bravo at his near post from a narrow angle by Lang.
Substitute Brahim Diaz came closest to a replym but his low driven effort was turned behind by Vaclik to consign City to a first home defeat since December 2016.