LONDON – Son Heung-min sparked Tottenham’s second-half overwhelming of Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday, setting the London club on its way to a 3-0 victory in the last-16 first leg.
After being on the back foot throughout the first half, Tottenham took complete control against the German league leaders once Son netted two minutes after the break to make it four goals in as many games.
Son celebrated with a trademark Tottenham handshake, but went over to Serge Aurier rather than Jan Vertonghen — the provider of the cross.
“I feel sorry,” Son laughed after the game alongside Vertonghen, “because I didn’t run to him and I ran to the other side.”
Vertonghen got his own chance to celebrate as Tottenham scored two late goals inside three minutes to take a commanding lead to Germany for the return leg on March 5.
Vertonghen raced into the penalty area and arrived at the back post to volley in Aurier’s cross in the 83rd minute.
“Technically he’s just unbelievable,” Son said of Vertonghen, who was playing at left wingback rather than in central defense. “He can play every position. He deserves a goal and an assist.”
With Dortmund struggling, Fernando Llorente scored the third in the 86th when he got a slight touch with his head to turn in Christian Eriksen’s corner.
Both teams were without their top attacking threats as Dortmund captain Marco Reus and Tottenham’s top scorer Harry Kane are injured.
In Amsterdam, with a little help from the video assistant referee, defending champion Real Madrid overcame a spirited Ajax to win 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 match and take a big step toward the quarterfinals.
Substitute Marco Asensio scored a late winner to put Madrid in a strong position going into the second leg on March 5.
Real, winner of the last three Champions Leagues, recovered in the second half after being outplayed by underdog Ajax before the break at a packed Johan Cruyff Arena, when the hosts had a goal disallowed by VAR — the first time the video referee had overturned a Champions League goal.\
Ajax had looked on course for a draw when Hakim Ziyech shot under Thibaut Courtois in the 75th minute to cancel out Karim Benzema’s opener 15 minutes earlier.