“Yet another year, yet another trophyless season” is the chant English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur and its fans have to suffer for the past decade or so, and that depressing narrative is not going away anytime soon. Italian Serie A outfit AC Milan took a 1-0 lead in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 to White Hart Lane for the second leg of the fixture, but the inability of Antonio Conte’s side to score a goal against the former meant the North London team is bowing out from the competition on aggregate. The overall tie loss prolonged the club and desperate fans’ wait for a silverware triumph for an extra season.
Spurs Could Not Get Past Maignan
Antonio Conte’s men lost to Wolverhampton in the Premier League last weekend, but the Italian made only one change to his starting line-up, by bringing in 24-year-old Brazilian right-back Emerson Royal, whereas Stefano Pioli altered his squad that was defeated by Fiorentina with three replacements, with Rade Krunić, Rafael Leão and Brahim Díaz all back to start for the 19-time Italian Serie A champion.
Both teams played a cautious first half, which led to an intriguing battle in the second period of the game. Six minutes after the restart, Real Madrid’s loanne Díaz was through to the penalty box, but his effort was bravely repelled by Spurs goalkeeper Fraser Forster. It was Spurs’ chance to attack in the 64th minute, when a determined Pierre-Emile Højbjerg burst into the penalty box to unleash a powerful shot, but Mike Maignan was there to parry it off for a corner.
Spurs’ opportunity to level things up was shredded, when Christian Romero recklessly challenged Theo Hernández for the ball. French referee Clément Turpin had no choice but to penalise the Argentine centre-back with a second yellow, sending him off from the match for good. Conte’s men lost focus after the red card, but Forster was there to disallow any Milan effort from getting past him. The team in white had one last chance to equalise, with Harry Kane’s header well-saved by Maignan, ending the match in a goalless draw and allowing AC Milan to progress into the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal for the first time in 11 years.
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What Now for Kane?
In addition to tying Wayne Rooney as his nation’s all-time joint top scorer, Harry Kane also became the third ever player to score 200 goals in the English Premier League. As good as his goal scoring record is, the England captain and star forward is nowhere near of winning any trophies on club level with Tottenham Hotspur. While the idea of being a one-club man sounds complimenting, Harry Kane, who turns 30 this July, should be seeking a move away from his trophyless club to add team accolades into his illustrious football resume. Following another season without a silverware, it is more than likely that he might be doing so this summer. Should he decide to leave the North London side, sources have said that a possible destination for Kane would be Manchester United or Bayern Munich, where a class centre-forward is very much needed.
Conte’s Future in Doubt
Spurs last won a major trophy back in the 2007/2008 Season, when they captured the League Cup by beating Avram Grant’s Chelsea. Conte’s failure in this season’s competitions (Fourth in the Premier League, third-round exit in EFL Cup, fifth-round exit in FA Cup and round-of-16 exit in the UEFA Champions League) put him in grave danger to be sacked by Daniel Levy, before the 53-year-old Italian manager can decide on his future. In a post-match conference, the former Chelsea manager also admitted his worry regarding his prospects with the club, with him highlighting that “The team was struggling to raise the bar this season”. On the other hand, Pioli, the winning-team manager, hopes to bring his AC Milan side to win a record seventh UEFA Champions League / European Cup title at the end of this season.
Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur is left with one more competition this season, the Premier League, and they will be welcoming Nottingham Forest to White Hart Lane next on Saturday. Can the North London side consolidate its fourth position in the table at the end of season? Tell us why.