Lucas Moura: Not just the last purchase
After Liverpool’s fabulous success on Tuesday evening, Tottenham provided the next big surprise only 24 hours later: The Spurs turned a 0:2 break gap at Ajax Amsterdam into a 3:2. Everyone talked about the special match winner afterwards.
At the end of the group stage, everything was on the brink in Group B: Inter struggled at home to a 1-1 draw against Eindhoven and then looked hopefully to Barcelona, where the undisputed leader of the table should force Tottenham to his knees. It looked as if the Catalans would win until the final stage (Ousmane Dembelé had set the course early with his goal), before the Spurs were rewarded in the 85th minute for their urge phase. 60 seconds after Coutinho missed Barcelona 2-0 with a shot from the post, a Joker pushed the ball over the line on the other side of the pitch. His name: Lucas Moura.
Without the 35-time Brazilian international, Tottenham would not have made it into the knockout stages of the Champions League. And now the Spurs are in the final – thanks to Lucas Moura. The 26-year-old sunk three of his five shots on goal into the Ajax case. With his third goal in the sixth minute of injury time, which made the perfect hat-trick perfect, the attacking player made sure that the team-mates, the fans and the coaching staff were in an absolute state of emergency.
In 2013, the right-foot player had moved from his home club Sao Paulo to Paris Saint-Germain for a full 40 million euros. During his time at PSG, he scored 46 goals in 229 games, won the French championship four times, the cup twice and the league cup three times. After the big offensive with the transfers from Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, Lucas Moura fell down at the back of the Seine. When he only played five times from the bench in the first half of 2017/18, the 2012 Olympic silver medallist was looking for a new challenge.
At Tottenham, he’s more than the much-mentioned supplement, not for nothing did Lucas Moura make 31 of 35 Premier League games (24 from the start) and eleven of the twelve premier class games (eight in the starting eleven). But when the Spurs squad is discussed in public, its name is rarely mentioned. He is no Harry Kane, no Heung-Min Son, no Christian Eriksen, no Dele Alli. But now he’s sure of a place in the history books: “I’ve always said that my players are heroes. Now they’re superheroes,” said team manager Mauricio Pochettino. “And Lucas Moura is a super superhero.” Eriksen had a special suggestion. “I hope they’ll build him a statue in England,” the Dane said.
Lucas Moura himself was still overwhelmed by the events on BT Sport’s microphone: “It’s impossible to explain how I feel. I am very happy and extremely proud of my teammates. We gave everything on the pitch and deserve it – we are a family.” He described the evening as “a great gift from God that I would share with my fellow players, friends and family”. Even without several key players, Tottenham had “done very well”. Coach Mauricio Pochettino made a decisive contribution with a clever tactical trick.
“This is the best day of my life.”
But without Lucas Moura’s callousness it wouldn’t have worked either: At his first goal, the Brazilian picked up a tremendous pace to finish off a perfect counterattack. The second goal was a good one from the opposing goalkeeper, but Lucas Moura’s ball control and precise finish were a first for the Brazilians. The crowning glory came when he was in contact with his “weaker” left foot, which made Ajax’s world collapse.
“Football is incredible – it gives us moments like this. You can’t imagine that. This is the best day of my life and career,” shone the eyes of Lucas Moura. Eriksen recalled the big picture: “His season was a roller coaster ride. Today our recipe was: Heart and Moura. He deserved that moment.” The next chance to shine is on 1 June in Madrid. Then his opponent is Liverpool – in the final of the Champions League.