Real tough group? Tell that to Tottenham

Son Heung Min celebrating with Harry Kane the goal that completed Tottenham's 2-1 Champions League comeback win at Borussia Dortmund.
Son Heung Min celebrating with Harry Kane the goal that completed Tottenham's 2-1 Champions League comeback win at Borussia Dortmund.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BERLIN • Tottenham's qualification for the Champions League knockout stages ahead of holders Real Madrid has proved doubters wrong, striker Harry Kane said after their 2-1 win at 2013 finalists Borussia Dortmund.

Spurs were expected to struggle in a tough Group H with Cypriot champions Apoel Nicosia the only weak link, but have progressed as group winners with four wins and a draw even before the sixth and final game.

"The group we had, a lot of people doubted us and we wanted to prove them wrong," said Kane after scoring his sixth European goal this season on Tuesday. "Hopefully we can build on this for the rest of the campaign."

Mauricio Pochettino's gamble in persisting with Kane and Dele Alli following their painful north London derby toils paid off in spades.

Kane cancelled out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's strike just after half-time and, after an anonymous first half, Alli created both goals.

Son Heung Min scored the second in the 76th minute in another triumph for the Spurs manager, who had restored the attacker to his starting line-up.

Pochettino said that the victory was a good response to last weekend's 0-2 Premier League loss at Arsenal.

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    Dele Alli set up both Tottenham goals in Dortmund, first the equaliser for Harry Kane and then the winner for Son Heung Min.

"The reaction after Saturday was perfect," he told BT Sport. "The team stepped up and we were ready to compete in a difficult game against a difficult team and we are so proud.

"The Harry Kane goal turned things around.

"It's a fantastic achievement to be group winners. It's a big deal for us."

Spurs host bottom side Apoel in their final group game next month, although the fourth-placed Premier League side have turned their attentions to Saturday's home game against 17th-placed West Bromwich.

In the other game, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema both scored twice as Real crushed Apoel 6-0 to confirm their runners-up spot and a place in the last 16.

The Spanish champions took 23 minutes to take the lead with a Luka Modric volley, before flooring their hosts with a 15-minute blitz either side of half-time. Spanish defender Nacho also got into the scoring act.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline 'Real tough group? Tell that to Tottenham'. Print Edition | Subscribe