Tottenham Hotspur took a big stride towards the UEFA Champions League knockout phase after forcing European champions Real Madrid to fight back for a draw in Spain on Tuesday night.
Spurs led when Harry Kane’s clever run made Madrid defender Raphael Varane divert Serge Aurier’s right-wing cross into his own net.
The Spanish champions equalised before half-time when Aurier’s rash challenge on Toni Kroos was punished with a penalty, Cristiano Ronaldo drilling in to extend his tally as the leading scorer in Champions League history.
The home side increased urgency immediately after the break as Spurs were pinned back, away keeper Hugo Lloris producing stunning acrobatic saves to deny Karim Benzema and Ronaldo.
However, Spurs grew back into the contest and Kane – who has been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu this week – almost scored a winner for the Premier League side.
The England striker found himself clean through on goal with 20 minutes left, but was denied by a superb fingertip save from keeper Keylor Navas.
The result moved Tottenham ahead of Madrid at the top of Group H at the halfway stage, having now scored more away goals than their opponents.
Significantly, the English side’s hopes of reaching the last 16 for only the second time were strengthened by Apoel Nicosia’s 1-1 home draw against Borussia Dortmund.
Tottenham are six points clear of 2013 finalists Dortmund and Cypriot side Apoel, who have both already lost to Spurs and remain winless.