Tottenham Hotspur produced a marvellous comeback display on Thursday night, rallying to the tune of three goals to defeat Dnipro at White Hart Lane.
Roman Zozulya nodded the visitors ahead and into a two-goal aggregate lead early in the second half, but Spurs responded with a 13-minute, three-goal blitz.
Christian Eriksen and Emmanuel Adebayor (2) scored the goals to cap a thrilling turnaround and lead the club into the round of 16.
Sitting on a 1-0 lead from the first leg, Dnipro set their stall out early on by putting 11 men behind the ball in their own half and allowing the Tottenham centre-backs to have the ball at their feet.
It was their intent to absorb pressure and counter at pace, and within the first 10 minutes, they did so convincingly three times. Yevhen Konoplyanka and Matheus both surged forward with early intent and caused their respective full-backs worries.
By the 15-minute mark, Spurs had accumulated 65 percent possession, per ITV's televised statistics, but hardly troubled Denys Boyko in the Dnipro goal; Tim Sherwood stood frustrated, irritated and upset on the touchline at White Hart Lane.
Despite fielding a striking partnership of Roberto Soldado and Adebayor to produce constant pressure, the former did little, and the latter was continually dragged wide in the opening stages.
Ondrej Mazuch stepped in to block whenever a midfield playmaker wriggled free, and Eriksen was held at arm's length throughout the first half.
The half wore on with little improvement for Spurs, with Andros Townsend switching wings and Ezekiel Fryers bombing forward in an attempt to inject some urgency into Spurs' play.
The most excited the crowd got, however, was when Sandro tried his luck from fully 35 yards out.
The second period started with the home side looking to up the tempo and press forward, but just two minutes in, Dnipro struck gold from a set piece to blow the top off this tie.
Ruslan Rotan's whipped delivery from the left found the head of Roman Zozulya, and his glancing touch took it beyond the outstretched paw of Hugo Lloris.
Soldado's sweeping effort, via a beautiful Eriksen through ball, was correctly ruled offside one minute later, but it wouldn't be long before the home crowd cheered the embers of a glorious comeback.
First, Eriksen executed a dipping free-kick that he nestled in the near bottom corner from 20 yards. Konoplyanka then hit the post with a curling, long-range effort, but the Ukrainian representatives lost their cool—and the tie—soon after.
Lining up to defend a free-kick, goalscorer Zozulya headbutted Jan Vertonghen as the two tussled before the ball was swept in. The linesman spotted it, the referee duly red-carded the striker and Adebayor stabbed an Eriksen cross home moments later.
The Togolese hitman then doubled his tally and finally gave Spurs the aggregate lead in the 68th minute, chesting a Dembele pass down and poking the ball beyond the helpless Dnipro 'keeper.
Thirteen minutes, three goals, one red card.
Dnipro began pushing men forward in search of another goal and forced Spurs into a goal-mouth scramble to clear a promising attack. Their attacking intent saw Townsend enjoy a little more space on the counter, and Nabil Bentaleb was brought on to keep the tempo high.
Evgen Seleznev, a second-half substitute, saw his acute-angled drive palmed clear by the impressive Lloris, and Konoplyanka tried his luck again from distance to no avail.
The home crowd howled in disbelief as five additional minutes were signalled, but the Lilywhites saw them out and advance to the round of 16.
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|Dnipro Player Ratings|
Tottenham host lowly Cardiff City at White Hart Lane on Sunday. Dnipro's season will finally restart the following weekend at Hoverla Uzhhorod.
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