Tottenham stunned Real Madrid, the Champions League titleholder, 3-1 on Wednesday and qualified for the knockout phase for only the second time.
Madrid, the European champions in three of the last four seasons, had not lost in the group stage for five years, and the humbling defeat on Wednesday came after Madrid’s defense of its Spanish league title took a hit by a surprise loss at Girona, adding pressure on Manager Zinedine Zidane.
Madrid was torn apart easily by Tottenham, a club that has not won the English league since 1961. Dele Alli, suspended for the opening three games in Group H, made an explosive return with two goals.
Christian Eriksen also scored for Tottenham, in the 65th minute, to build a commanding lead that ensured Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike in the 80th was a mere consolation.
The victory took Tottenham three points clear of Madrid at the top of the group, ensuring passage into the last 16 with two games to spare. Tottenham, which was eliminated in the group stage last season, has only competed in the knockout phase once, in the 2010-11 season, when it was eliminated by Madrid in the quarterfinals.
Then, Madrid beat Tottenham 5-0 on aggregate, but the tables have since turned. Last month, Tottenham secured a 1-1 draw in the Spanish capital and on Wednesday it defeated Madrid for the first time as Zidane endured one of the most painful games of his 22-month tenure.
In other Champions League games, Borussia Dortmund was pushed to the brink of elimination after a 1-1 draw with APOEL Nicosia in Group H. Porto defeated RB Leipzig, 3-1, and moved to second in Group G, while Besiktas kept its hopes alive with a 1-1 draw against Monaco
Manchester City, the Group F leader, beat Napoli, 4-2, while Shakhtar Donetsk stayed in second place in that group with a 3-1 win over Feyenoord. Liverpool defeated NK Maribor, 3-0, and Sevilla topped Spartak Moscow by 2-1 in Group E.