Tottenham achieved “mission impossible” by qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Lucas Moura’s 85th-minute equaliser earned a priceless point at Barcelona, as Spurs completed an unlikely turnaround in Group B having collected only one point from their first three games.
They needed to match or better Inter Milan’s result at home to PSV Eindhoven and had faced elimination when Mauro Icardi cancelled out PSV’s early goal.
Moura’s goal swung the advantage back in Spurs’ favour but an agonising wait followed before it was confirmed Inter had failed to find a winneragainst the group’s bottom side.
“I am so happy for the fans – this is a massive, massive achievement for the club,” said Pochettino.
“We suffered because when we finished the game we did not know the result at Inter. It was two very difficult minutes, but in the end of course we were so happy. It’s so important for the club.”
The Premier League side had gone behind to Ousmane Dembele’s early strike but then peppered Barcelona’s defence with wave after wave of attacks, with both Harry Kane and Son Heung-min going close.
They finally made the decisive breakthrough five minutes from the end when substitute Moura, who moments earlier had a header cleared off the line, fired in.
Spurs become only the eighth side to qualify from the group stage after claiming only one point from their first three games.
Spurs rewarded for attacking display
Had Pochettino’s side been eliminated they would have looked back with regret on only beating Barca goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen on one occasion.
The Dutchman, who replaced first-choice Marc-Andre ter Stegen, was exceptional throughout and his clawed save to keep out Moura’s earlier effort came after superb stops to deny Son and Christian Eriksen.
Kane was also denied by the makeshift Barcelona defence when his header was cleared off the line by Miranda.
But, like the rest of his team-mates, Kane persevered and with time running out his pinpoint cross found Moura whose first-time finish sealed Spurs’ qualification – an achievement that seemed so improbable just a few weeks ago.
Pochettino added: “I always believed it was possible to win the game. We produced a lot of chances.
“But after we missed so many we thought maybe it was not our night. We fully deserved to go through with Barcelona. We were the best teams in a difficult group.”