By 90Min
April 10, 2019

Narrative. Narrative, narrative, narrative. It's what football's all about. It's why we watch the sport. And it's what makes nights like Tuesday unforgettable.

In a match billed by some as New Stadium FC vs Robots FC, it was Tottenham who surprisingly seized the initiative in the first leg of their quarter final Champions League tie against Manchester City with a 1-0 win, the goal coming courtesy of one South Korean wizard.

Son Heung-min. The man has become Spurs' clutch performer this season, possibly even marking himself ahead of Harry Kane as the club's go-to guy when they're in trouble. And boy oh boy, did it look like Tottenham were in trouble against City.

What still remains so mystifying about the night is how Pep Guardiola's side were so utterly dominant for a massive chunk of the second half, and yet it was when they looked their most threatening that they were undone.

Tottenham fans were rightly concerned when they saw Harry Kane tangle with Fabian Delph on the touchline, and those fears were realised fully when the England skipper immediately hobbled down the tunnel.

From that point, it seemed like the tie was effectively done. City were growing into the game after looking unsettled during the opening period due to effective Tottenham pressing, with the hosts left bereft of their main goalscoring threat.

Dan Mullan/GettyImages

But through the darkness shone Son Heung-min and his glistening grin, his cheeky smile, and his refined locks. 

Just like he did against Watford, Newcastle, Leicester and Borussia Dortmund, Son took his chance to score when his team needed it most. And, if you look closely, you'll find that each of the goals scored in those games came in the absence of one man: Kane.

Kane is Tottenham's most important player. There can be no escaping that. His overall contribution, from netting tap-ins to dropping deep and spraying long range passes, cannot be underestimated and must not be overlooked.

But whenever Spurs have been in trouble without Kane, Son has stepped up, bailing his side out of trouble consistently. Without their best player, Tottenham beating Manchester City, who had won 23 of their last 24 games, isn't something that should be allowed in the real world. Spurs are good, but they're a marathon of miles behind City.

IAN KINGTON/GettyImages

And yet, here we are. Son escaped Kane's shadow on Tuesday and has proven enough times over the course of the 2018/19 season that he's among the best players in the Premier League. But now Mauricio Pochettino needs the former Bayer Leverkusen star more than ever. 

With Tottenham taking on City twice in the next ten days, once in the return leg in Manchester and another in England's top flight, Son's performances alongside Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Lucas Moura will be pivotal.

Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Expect City to score at the Etihad. They're too good a team to sulk and leave the Champions League with a whimper. But should Son prove his worth again in the second leg, Spurs will be looking at a historic first-ever Champions League semi final, and seeing as Son has gone full clutch frequently this year, don't bet against him doing it again.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)