And somehow we’re still alive. I’m exhausted. Shattered. I’m an emotional mess. And it is exactly for nights like these that we do it to ourselves. We put ourselves through the wringer for these moments. We might not be able to put it in a trophy cabinet (yet), but it’s the raw emotion of nights like these, the unforgettable memories that we create together, that’s the unwritten contract we write with our clubs. That is truly what being a football supporter is about. The feeling of utter emptiness and despair contrasted with moments of sheer elation. This game – in fact, the last few minutes of this game – was football fandom in a microcosm. So let’s rewind to minute 90+3. I’m on the floor – literally and metaphorically. I’ve seen this film before. On repeat. For 25 years. It’s another cruel and crushing blow. “Spursy” if you must. It had been coming. It had been building. I was straining every sinew with the team to repel the onslaught. Pain etched across my face. The clock was ticking in slow motion. It was eking its way towards the hallowed minute 95. And, just as I allowed myself to think that we might hold on, we buckled. Eriksen! What have you done?!! To misquote ex-City forward, Mario Balotelli, “Why always us?!” But wait a minute! There’s a VAR review! What are they looking at? Surely not. This doesn’t happen to us. We don’t get these breaks. But we did. We did. Someone somewhere was looking down on us and protecting us last night – maybe it was that beautiful cockerel above our new temple, maybe it was one of the departed, perhaps Chas Hodges, create your own narrative – but, from the depths of despair, they dragged us out into the light. And with Easter weekend approaching, this was a fitting resurrection. I’m struggling to make sense of it all. My emotions are still all over the place. The elation hasn’t even yet taken hold. Rewind again to the 73 minute. We were already dead at this point. Out on our feet. Our midfield non existent following the removal of Sissoko. Aguero had all but ended our resistance when he belted the ball past Hugo on 59 to give them the aggregate lead. It was the first time in the tie that they had been leading and it felt like the killer blow. And yet we found the resilience, the bloody mindedness to come back. To bundle a corner in off a hip. Trippier has come in for plenty of criticism this season and had a torrid first half last night. Both full backs suffered from the narrow diamond we started with in midfield that left them hopelessly exposed to the overload on the flanks. But this was Trippier’s moment. It was his perfectly weighted delivery that ended up making the difference. For all his defensive weaknesses – and they were far less evident second half when the change of system gave him better protection – he can deliver going forward. And he did. When it mattered. Another VAR controversy. Llorente had no doubts when he wheeled away. This was a legit goal. Surely! Surely?! Oh ****, it’s hit his arm. No, one minute, it’s his hip. It’s his hip! Jenas agrees. Thank god for that. What? An On Field Review (OFR). Why? It’s come off his hip!!! They’re going to disallow it. Whenever it goes for an OFR the ref overturns it. And then he watched it. And then he watched it again. And again and again. Why is he watching it over and over? It’s clearly his hip. And then, Cuneyt Cakir turns away and the world stops, for a brief moment at least. It’s a goal! He shrugs to seemingly indicate that he’s not sure why it was referred in the first place and then gesticulates that it was, indeed, Fernando’s hip. Unbridled joy gives way for sheer relief. And then, in an instant, the demons reappear. It’s too early. We’ve scored too early. We’ve got to hang on for 20 minutes. It’s not going to happen. Yet more false hope. Why do you do it to us Spurs? In truth, Llorente was the wrong substitution. It stifled us in attack, mainly because it meant Son had to play much deeper and nullified his threat. Yet it was Llorente who scored the crucial goal. Nothing makes sense any more. They had killed us at least twice but we refused to die. In fact, tracing back to the back end of 2018, we had 1 point from 3 games in the group and were facing extinction before the campaign had even achieved lift off. We are using the proverbial nine lives in this competition. And this is the magic of Pochettino. Our stubborn refusal to surrender. This isn’t the old Spurs. This is Pochettino’s Spurs. Belligerent until the last. This squad has been overstretched to beyond breaking point. Our talisman out. A patched up midfield, bound together with glue and sticking plasters. A knackered Wanyama pushed beyond his limits, having been out for the best part of two seasons, and after playing 90 minutes on Saturday against Huddersfield, thrown into the lions den as a one man screen for a Champions League quarter final against probably the most potent attacking side in Europe. Dele – playing in a protective glove to guard the two bones in his hand that he broke in the first leg – seemed to be inhibited. He was not his usual, expressive self, perhaps because he was playing in a less suited deeper lying midfield role. Needs must and it was all hands to the deck. Sissoko – our redemption man, the engine room of our team all season – his body finally gave out, having been overplayed to the point of collapse given the lack of alternative fit midfield options all season. He joins Winks, Dier and Amos on the injury list. The decision to let Dembele leave in January grows more inexplicable with every passing game. To add insult to injury, our replacement talisman, the irrepressible Son Heung-Min, picked up a booking that will rule him out of the first leg of the semi final. Those are probably the only two yellow cards he’s received all season. But we somehow progressed. Over two legs, we beat the best team in Europe, who were at full strength. They were led by (widely considered to be) the best coach in Europe, although for me the Argentine in the opposite dugout last night is that man. They have financially doped their way to the top of world football. In contrast we have lived within our means and haven’t spent a penny in 15 months. What Poch, Jesus, Micky and Toni are achieving with this squad, against far more affluent opposition, is quite remarkable. Against all the odds, we’re still alive. And we know that, with Pochettino at the helm, whatever cobbled together team we can put out in two weeks’ time against Ajax will fight until the last. There is that uncomfortable feeling that the extra two games (hopefully three) will put even more strain on a depleted squad in a desperate fight for the top 4, to ensure that we can do this all over again next year. But that can wait for another day. Maybe we’ll win the bloody thing and the race for the top 4 will all be academic. Maybe. Maybe the gods are finally smiling on us. Maybe just maybe. As was plastered across the Park Lane wall before the first leg, “To Dare Is To Do”. And we are doing exactly that. This is the furthest we’ve gone into Europe’s premier cup competition since 1962. We are creating history. Audere Est Facere. Somehow we’re still alive. COYS!!!!