Football/Soccer

Tottenham and Liverpool take first leg leads over Man City and Porto

Tottenham's Son Heung-min celebrates the only goal of the game against Manchester City
By Andy Hampson and David Charlesworth

Uefa Champions League quarter-final, first leg: Tottenham 1 Manchester City 0

MAURICIO Pochettino fears Harry Kane could miss the remainder of the season after suffering another ankle injury in Tottenham's Champions League defeat of Manchester City.

The England captain, who was out for a more than a month after sustaining ligament damage in January, rolled his ankle and was then caught on it by Fabian Delph in the quarter-final first leg.

Spurs went on to win the game 1-0 courtesy of a second-half goal from Son Heung-min.

Spurs boss Pochettino said: "If you see the action it is an action that can damage the ligament again. We need to check in the next few days.

"It is so painful. We hope it is not a big issue and try to recover as soon as possible but it doesn't look good."

Asked if he was worried Kane's season could be over, Pochettino said: "Yes."

Kane left the stadium using crutches and with his foot in a protective boot.

Pochettino spoke to Delph after the incident, which occurred just before the hour.

Asked about that conversation, Pochettino said: "I tried to make him understand that it wasn't the intention from Harry or him to damage each other. It was a tough action.

"I said to him, you were lucky – checking on the VAR, maybe technically it was a red card - but I think both were fighting for a ball and no intention to damage each other."

Spurs now hold the advantage ahead of next week's second leg at the Etihad Stadium but Pochettino, despite the deserved victory, still regards City as the favourites.

He said: "Of course I am so happy. I am happy with the performance and the way we approached the game.

"We still have a lot of work to do. Manchester City are still the favourites to win the Champions League and it is going to be tough."

City were controversially awarded a penalty in the first half for handball against Danny Rose following a review of an incident by VAR. There was debate over whether the incident had been a clear and obvious error and over Uefa's strict interpretation of the handball rule.

Spurs escaped damage as Hugo Lloris saved Sergio Aguero's spot-kick.

Pochettino said: "I want to help VAR be a protocol to help the referee but today showed there is still a lot of work to do with the system.

"There are many things that we have to make clear. I think the direction of the game is going to change. I think it will not be like the sport we grew up watching."

City, who are chasing an unprecedented quadruple this season, were below par but manager Pep Guardiola reviewed the performance in a positive light.

Guardiola said: "Except for a few chances we conceded on set-pieces and counter-attacks we controlled the game.

"We will see if we are going to change it a bit but, with our people, with our fans, our families, we will see.

"If we are not able to arrive in the last stages it is because it is a challenge. The situation is what it is.

"When we don't play good I am the guy who says we didn't play good, but I don't have that feeling."

Guardiola felt Tottenham's goal would make City's task in the second leg clearer.

He said: "With 0-0 you have to (think about whether to) 'attack?' 'defend?'. Now we know what we have to do."

Uefa Champions League quarter-final, first leg: Liverpool 2 Porto 0

JURGEN Klopp admitted a slight frustration that Liverpool "lost a bit of direction" in the second half against Porto but was ultimately content by a 2-0 victory at Anfield.

Naby Keita's deflected fifth-minute strike – his second goal in two games – and Roberto Firmino's tap-in before the half hour put the Reds in the ascendancy in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Sadio Mane saw his strike just after the resumption ruled out for offside and the hosts struggled for fluency thereafter, though Klopp was much the happier of the two coaches afterwards.

The Liverpool boss said: "We deserved the win 100 per cent, we scored two wonderful goals, we were in a lot of really dangerous situations. Overall it was a really good performance.

"Two-nil is a really, really good result, I would probably have taken that before the game and I'll take it now.

"They had too many set-pieces because they are really good in there and we don't want to give them away but that's how it is. They went for it as well but we defended them well.

"The problem was a little bit in the second half, we gave one or two counter-attacks away and then we had to control it again a bit more.

"We lost a bit of direction, didn't play that clear any more. We were still around in the box and all that stuff, which was good, but defending counter-attacks we had to work really hard which costs you a little bit and you lose a bit of rhythm.

"But all good. Two-nil, the game is still on, we have to go there and fight. Porto will try everything to strike back and that will be a really tough game again."

While Klopp said "there were a lot of good performances", he singled out Keita for praise following a whole-hearted effort from the midfielder.

The Guinean has struggled to make his mark on Merseyside since arriving for a then club-record £53million fee last July.

But he followed up an encouraging display last Friday against Southampton, in which he opened his goal-scoring account for Liverpool, by making an impression against the Portuguese champions.

Klopp added: "Naby was a few times a bit unlucky in situations, and had to find his way back into games if you want. But he was in it from the start.

"We hoped it would be like this because last game he got better and better, minute by minute, so we wanted to build on it. He was really good. All of them were really hard-working and really good football too.

"I loved the goal. It was deflected, but it was a situation we wanted, the half-space we wanted to use. The boys did that really well. It was a really good performance."

Porto head coach Sergio Conceicao believes the Merseysiders are contenders to go all the way in Europe's elite club competition.

However, he is not writing off Porto's hopes yet and has called on the club's supporters to create an intimidating atmosphere at the Estadio do Dragao in the return leg next week.

He said: "The team we played against is a very strong candidate to win this Champions League. But the 90 minutes are over and we've got another 90 minutes at the Dragao.

"I ask all the fans to come to the game and create an atmosphere at the Dragao because we want everything on the field to even up the difference between the teams and hopefully we can get into the semi-finals."

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