LONDON: Totttenham put one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals after a thrilling second-half performance saw them beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in their second round first leg at Wembley.
In the night’s other game holders Real Madrid defeated a lively Ajax 2-1 in Amsterdam.
Back in London Spurs were second best in the first half, but put that right after the break as goals from Son Heung-min, Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente swung the tie firmly in their favour.
It will take some capitulation in Dortmund on March 5 for them not to make it through to the last eight, on a night where Harry Kane and Dele Alli should be back in the fold.
Son continued his leading role in the influential duo’s absence as he scored his 11th goal in his last 12 games early in the second half and his love affair with playing Dortmund continued as that was the ninth time he has scored against them in 11 games.
Vertonghen, who was playing at left wing-back, capped a man-of-the-match performance with a second goal in the 83rd minute and then three minutes later Llorente gave Spurs vital breathing space by nodding home from a corner with his first touch of the game.
It was the club’s first win in a home knockout tie in the Champions League and by keeping a clean sheet it means the Bundesliga leaders have to score at least four goals in the second leg to have any chance of progressing.
It did not start off so well for Spurs as after Lucas Moura came within inches of putting them ahead with an instinctive volley which whistled past the far post, Dortmund began to take control.
BVB, with the help of some shoddy defending, began to pick holes in their hosts’ defence and forced Hugo Lloris into two saves.
First Juan Foyth was criminally caught in possession by Chelsea-bound Christian Pulisic, whose low shot from an acute angle was kept out by Lloris’ leg, and then the Frenchman’s handling was tested by Axel Witsel’s effort.
Lloris made another stop to deny Thomas Delaney after more lax defending, this time by Davinson Sanchez, before the Frenchman saved his best for the final few seconds of the first half to ensure it stayed goalless.
Dortmund worked a two-on-one at a corner and Jadon Sancho crossed invitingly for Dan-Axel Zagadou, but he could not connect with his header properly and Lloris was able to claw it away with millimetres to spare.
That save proved crucial as Spurs went ahead just 67 seconds into the second half.
Vertonghen won possession back high up the pitch and, after being given the ball back, sent in a pinpoint cross that evaded Zagadou for Son to cushion home a first-time volley.
He could have been celebrating a second not long after had Christian Eriksen not been uncharacteristically careless when racing clear down the left.
Eriksen is the king of assists for Spurs, but for some reason chose to lift a cross in when rolling the ball across the face of goal would have left Son with a tap-in.
This was a different Spurs side compared to the first half as Dortmund struggled to create anything by way of danger.
And two goals in the final 10 minutes put Spurs on the brink of the last eight.
Vertonghen got a goal his industrious performance on the left deserved as after more high pressing won the ball back, Serge Aurier floated in a delicious cross that the Belgian rammed home at the far post.
Wembley was still rocking three minutes later when Llorente made it 3-0 as he nodded home a corner with his first touch of the game.
Spurs closed out the game, knowing they can travel to Dortmund in three weeks with the job virtually done.
Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio were on target as Real Madrid secured a 2-1 win over Ajax in the Champions League last-16 first leg in Amsterdam.
But the reigning champions, seeking a fourth straight title, were given a major scare by the only team left in the competition who had to come through qualifying.
Four-time winners Ajax, in the knockout stages for the first time in 13 years, dominated for long spells.
In a vibrant display they hit the woodwork, tested Thibaut Courtois frequently and had a goal ruled out by the video assistant referee before Benzema struck.
Hakim Ziyech then equalised for Ajax, only for substitute Asensio to grab the winner three minutes from the end.
Real travelled to Holland full of confidence after a 3-1 win against Atletico Madrid at the weekend, their sixth victory in a seven-game unbeaten run.
Gareth Bale was back in their starting line-up and the Welshman was teed up for an early chance by Luka Modric, but curled his shot straight at Ajax keeper Andre Onana.
Moments later Ajax threatened and Noussair Mazraoui was played in by Dusan Tadic only to screw his shot across goal and wide.
Onana was in action again after 15 minutes to tip over a fierce angled drive from Brazilian teenager Vinicius Junior.
But Tadic came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock when he held off Sergio Ramos only to see his shot come back off the foot of a post.
Ajax were by now well on top and another slick passing move put Ziyech through on goal but Courtois came out well to block.
The hosts thought they had taken a deserved lead when, from the corner, Courtois made a mess of claiming a header and Nicolas Tagliafico nodded in the rebound.
However, a lengthy VAR review eventually ruled out the goal with Tadic, marginally offside, standing in front of the Real keeper as the ball looped in.
Early in the second half Benzema tested Onana with a low shot on the tun, before Ajax broke down the other end and David Neres fired too close to Courtois.
But just before the hour mark Benzema made the breakthrough with his 60th Champions League goal on his 450th Real appearance.
Vinicius chased a ball over the top down the left wing and cut inside before finding Benzema, who sent an unerring finish across Anona and high into the net.
Ajax were not finished, though, and with 15 minutes left they sliced Real open again with Ziyech converting a low cross from Neres.
However, Asensio converted the winner when he met a stunning delivery from Dani Carvajal at the far post.