Harry Kane was the headline act but Hugo Lloris stole the show as the Frenchman’s stunning save helped earn Tottenham a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid.
Spurs took a surprise lead at the Santiago Bernabeu through Raphael Varane’s own goal, only for Cristiano Ronaldo to level from the penalty spot after Serge Aurier had fouled Toni Kroos.
From there, however, Mauricio Pochettino’s men had Lloris to thank as the goalkeeper denied Karim Benzema from four yards with his legs, when the striker looked certain to score.
Kane could have even have won it for Tottenham late on when his finish was pushed wide by Keylor Navas but the visitors will be delighted with what could prove an invaluable point in Champions League Group H.
This fixture was billed the battle of Kane against Cristiano Ronaldo and Madrid’s main man might claim to have made the more telling contribution but, in truth, neither were at their thrilling best.
Instead it was Lloris, and the misfiring Benzema, that combined to strengthen Spurs’ position in the group. Borussia Dortmund’s draw away to Apoel Nicosia puts both of these sides six points clear at the halfway stage.
Not even five minutes had passed and Ronaldo had hit the post. Jan Vertonghen thought he was letting the cross run out of play but Isco was waiting to pull back to the Portuguese, whose header came back off the woodwork.
With Lloris committed, Benzema should have slotted home the rebound but, much to Ronaldo’s disgust, the Frenchman side-footed wide. Tottenham were only just about surviving as another Ronaldo effort whistled past the far post, the result of a free-flowing Madrid move that began with a cute Benzema dummy.
Kane had his first sight at goal when he headed Christian Eriksen’s corner straight at Navas while Fernando Llorente had a strong claim for a penalty when he nicked the ball off the Madrid keeper, only to be clattered by Casemiro.
Spurs had seen they could get at Madrid and, in the 28th minute, they took the lead. Aurier whipped a cross into the front post, where Kane attempted to flick the ball behind his legs towards goal. The striker failed to connect but marking tightly was Varane and he was unable to prevent it deflecting off his leg and into the net.
It looked like Tottenham might make it to half-time but, two minutes short, they conceded. Aurier gave away possession, and then brought down Kroos in the area with a diving tackle. Ronaldo made no mistake.
Madrid were bouncing again and could have scored twice early in the second period were it not for the brilliance of Lloris. First, Casemiro dug out a cross from the right and Benzema, four yards out with the goal at his mercy, somehow headed against his diving compatriot’s leg. Then soon after Harry Winks over-ran the ball in midfield, Casemiro fed Ronaldo and, as the forward unleashed a stinging shot, Lloris instinctively jumped to push it over the bar.
The game was still in the balance with 20 minutes left, and Kane had a big chance to tip it in Tottenham’s favour. Llorente slid him in one-on-one but Kane’s attempt to guide the ball inside the far post was denied by Navas.
Christian Eriksen forced another save from the Costa Rican and Danny Rose came on for Llorente in the last ten minutes – his first appearance since 31 January.
Madrid pushed for the winner but there was to be no late drama.