Danny Rose has said he is “grateful” for Hugo Lloris’ penalty save against Manchester City following his early hand-ball incident.
VAR intervened to award City a spot-kick after Raheem Sterling’s shot struck the hand of Rose.
No City players appealed for the penalty but the referee was instructed to have another look at the incident and a penalty was eventually given.
Lloris saved Sergio Aguero’s weak effort so it hardly mattered in the end, but an away goal for City would have completely changed the tie.
Instead, Tottenham take a 1-0 lead to the Etihad and will hope to score an away goal of their own to increase their chances of reaching the Champions League semi-finals.
After the game, Rose spoke frankly – as he always does – about the penalty incident and thanked his captain for saving Aguero’s strike.
“It did hit my arm and I didn’t think my arm was outside my body,” Rose said (via Sky Sports).
“But the referee said it was and if VAR wasn’t there, I would have got away with it.
“But he’s given it and luckily Hugo got me out of trouble. Even though it was after 13 minutes, it was a game-changing save.
“I’m not sure I can complain. I haven’t seen it again. It did hit my arm but it certainly wasn’t intentional.
“I’m just grateful Hugo saved it and we kept a massive clean sheet, scored at the end and have something to look forward to next week.
“It’s unnatural to try to defend a shot with your arms behind your back and I’m not sure that’s something the manager would be promoting.
“But there’s not much I can do, I have to learn from it.
“I was lucky Hugo made the save because if they were 1-0 ahead after 13 minutes it would have been a long evening for us.”
It’s very likely Spurs will be without Harry Kane for the second leg after the striker limped off with a serious-looking ankle injury.
Son Heung-min grabbed the winner for the hosts and will be aiming to get on the scoresheet again at the Etihad.