Hugo Lloris was carried aloft on the shoulders of his team-mates after saving Ilkay Gündogan’s spot-kick to send Tottenham Hotspur through to their first UEFA Champions League Final after beating Manchester United on penalties.
Spurs dominated the opening 45 minutes, not allowing United a single shot on goal during the first-half, but they couldn’t find a way past in goal as they desperately tried to claw themselves back into the tie after losing 0-2 at Old Trafford last week.
The breakthrough finally came six minutes after the break when Johnny Evans bundled over Gareth Bale in the box, giving away a penalty and picking up a caution for his efforts. Up stepped Emmanuel Adebayor who drilled the ball low to David De Gea’s bottom left.
With twenty minutes to go, Bale – who had been denied twice by De Gea – got on the end of a deep Pablo Armero cross but saw his fine header come back off the upright with De Gea well-beaten.
Inside the final ten minutes, Jose Sosa was denied by the fingertips of the United ‘keeper and the atmosphere around White Hart Lane changed as the visitors were clinging on. The corner was cleared, but Bale soon won a second when he had an effort deflected wide.
Armero swung the corner in to the six-yard box from the Spurs left, where it was met by the head of Sandro and whistled past the man on the line and into the back of the net to level the tie on aggregate.
Half-hour of extra-time couldn’t separate the sides and it went to the dreaded shootout. Spurs went first and the first five penalties went in before Lloris saved from Rodrigo, but Mario Mandzukic blazed over the bar and Andriy Yarmolenko squared it at three-all after four each.
WorldSoccer Player of the Year Lucas Leiva stepped-up and put Spurs in the driving seat, leaving Ilkay Gündogan with the unenviable task of having to score to keep Manchester United in it. He went for power straight down the middle, but Lloris stayed on feet and plucked the ball out of the air to send Spurs through to the final in Istanbul.
Gündogan looked devastated after his miss, as many were tipping him to become only the fifth player to win the competition in consecutive years with two different clubs after he won with Borussia Dortmund last year. Incidentally, he scored BVB’s first penalty in their shootout win over Barcelona.
They’ll play the winners of tomorrow night’s Semi-Final between Chelsea and Barcelona. The Spanish club lead 1-0 from the First Leg, with Alexis Sánchez scoring late-on at the Nou Camp last week.