– Real Madrid 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

October 17, 2017

Tottenham scored their first goal against Real Madrid after failing to score in their previous four meetings

Tottenham Hotspur took a big stride towards the Champions League knockout phase after forcing European champions Real Madrid to fight back for a draw in Spain.

Spurs led when Harry Kane’s clever run made Madrid defender Raphael Varane divert Serge Aurier’s right-wing cross into his own net.

The Spanish champions equalised before half-time when Aurier’s rash challenge on Toni Kroos was punished with a penalty, Cristiano Ronaldo drilling in to extend his tally as the leading scorer in Champions League history.

The home side increased urgency immediately after the break as Spurs were pinned back, away keeper Hugo Lloris producing stunning acrobatic saves to deny Karim Benzema and Ronaldo.

However, Spurs grew back into the contest and Kane – who has been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu this week – almost scored a winner for the Premier League side.

The England striker found himself clean through on goal with 20 minutes left, but was denied by a superb fingertip save from keeper Keylor Navas.

The result moved Tottenham ahead of 12-time European champions Madrid at the top of Group H at the halfway stage, having now scored more away goals than their opponents.

Significantly, the English side’s hopes of reaching the last 16 for only the second time were strengthened by Apoel Nicosia’s 1-1 home draw against Borussia Dortmund.

Tottenham are six points clear of 2013 finalists Dortmund and Cypriot side Apoel, who have both already lost to Spurs and remain winless.

Spurs show Real maturity

Travelling to face Europe’s most successful club in the imposing 81,000-capacity Bernabeu – where the home side had won 21 and drawn two of their previous 23 Champions League group games – has long been a daunting experience for visiting teams.

Spurs themselves suffered a hiding there in 2011, losing 4-0 in their quarter-final first leg, but returned with boss Mauricio Pochettino urging his vibrant team – last season’s Premier League runners-up – to prove they could compete with Europe’s elite.

They did exactly that in a disciplined display.

Spurs, backed by almost 4,000 supporters in the Spanish capital, had been given further optimism of a positive result by Madrid’s patchy home form.

Zinedine Zidane’s side have only won one of their four La Liga home matches this season, struggling to find a way through teams who sit back and defend deep.

Pochettino said before kick-off it was important for his team “to be brave”, illustrated by the Argentine’s surprising decision to start Spain striker Fernando Llorente up front alongside talisman Harry Kane for the first time.

At times the visitors had to defend in numbers – only to be expected against a side containing so much quality – and had the moments of luck needed by any team who leave the Bernabeu with anything.

But they also wisely chose their moments to attack their illustrious hosts, showing a maturity perhaps not seen by their supporters in recent European campaigns.

A point was no less than they deserved and will give them further confidence before the rematch at Wembley in a fortnight.

“A point at Bernabeu, you would take that every day of the week,” Kane said. “It shows how far we have come as a team.”

Ronaldo has now scored 110 goals in the Champions League, 14 more than nearest rival Lionel Messi of Barcelona

Did Kane pass his Bernabeu ‘audition’?

Much of the pre-match chat had centred around Harry Kane amid reports that Real Madrid are eyeing a move for the prolific England striker.

Some English newspapers claimed this week the Spanish giants are willing to pay £150m