JAN VERTONGHEN, a centre-half filling in as a third-choice left wing-back, teeing up one volley and netting another. Son Heung-min, Tottenham’s eff
JAN VERTONGHEN, a centre-half filling in as a third-choice left wing-back, teeing up one volley and netting another.
Son Heung-min, Tottenham’s effervescent odd-job man, opening the scoring as the truest of ‘false nines’.
And Fernando Llorente, the back-up striker widely derided as a carthorse a few weeks ago, applying a glorious coup de grace.
Had Mauricio Pochettino grown up in England, he’d have earned his Blue Peter badge at a very early age.
The resourceful Spurs boss is the master of make-do-and-mend.
He applied the sticky-back plastic, re-shaped some round holes to fit square pegs and moulded a team far greater than the sum of its parts as Spurs destroyed the best team in Germany in an awesome second half.
Without Harry Kane and Dele Alli and with neither left-back, Danny Rose or Ben Davies, deemed fit enough to start, it looked as though Spurs would aim for containment in this last-16 first-leg clash.
You’d imagine Pochettino and his men would have been delighted with a 1-0 first-leg advantage — and so two additional goals in the final seven minutes propelled them into dreamland.
When Llorente nodded home Christian Eriksen’s corner, the second leg at the Westfalenstadion on March 5 became a virtual formality.
Spurs have as good as ensured only their second appearance in the quarter-finals of the modern Champions League era and their first under Pochettino.
The ability of this team to overcome odds and defy reason is extraordinary.
Pochettino has engendered a fierce team spirit at a club which should never, in a financial sense, have qualified for the Champions League for three straight seasons.
And this is a team which looked dead and buried at the halfway stage in their group — needing tense victories over PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan at Wembley and then a draw in Barcelona, to even reach the knockouts.
When key pair Kane and Alli suffered injuries in January, this tie against the Bundesliga leaders became a formidable obstacle.
Spurs had looked naive when they were mugged by Juventus here at the same stage last season but they have done a lot of growing up since.
And while they are still often described as a ‘young team’, Spurs have plenty of big-match experience these days.
A World Cup winning-captain, Hugo Lloris, in goal, the canny Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld in defence alongside Serge Aurier, with plenty of Champions League pedigree at Paris Saint-Germain.
Then Christian Eriksen, a proper schemer, alongside Son and Lucas Moura, who are hardly wet behind the ears.
And so it was Spurs who gave a schooling to a youthful, vibrant Dortmund.
Jadon Sancho, the 18-year-old England winger who had opted for Dortmund instead of Spurs when he left Manchester City in 2017, was excellent in the first half. Wembley is likely to become a regular playground for him.
Watch him early on and the commentary of the legendary Sid Waddell comes to mind: “There’s only one word for that — magic darts.”
Those darting runs, a hurry, a scurry, a sleightness of foot and a ‘see you later’ to his marker.
Davinson Sanchez was done in cold blood early on, then Moussa Sissoko resorted to an undetected clip of Sancho’s heels which should have resulted in a dangerous Dortmund free-kick.
And at the end of the first half, Sancho sent in a peach of a centre — hit hard, with curl — on to the head of Dan-Axel Zagadou whose effort forced a magnificent save from Lloris.
But the momentum which Sancho had done so much to give his team evaporated within two minutes of the restart when the white-hot Son volleyed Spurs in front.
And when Vertonghen volleyed the second himself, Sancho had failed to track his man.
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What had started so brightly turned into a harsh lesson for the gifted south Londoner.
On the opposite flank, Christian Pulisic — who has agreed a £58million move to Chelsea next season — faded badly after forcing an early save from Lloris.
Pochettino’s men were too foxy for them.
A few weeks ago, the Argentine was first choice to be the next Manchester United boss.
After watching Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team taught a lesson by PSG on Tuesday night, and then witnessing this, you have to wonder why the United board are in a hurry to give the Norwegian that job on a permanent basis.
Tottenham fans will be delighted by United’s change of heart. They know they have a supreme managerial craftsman, modelling masterpieces out of scrap metal.