After 15 minutes at Wembley, Giorgio Chiellini already looked as though he had been playing for an hour or more.
The great Italian defender had just seen Harry Kane sweep past him on to a pass from Dele Alli. As Chiellini grappled at a blur of blue and white, he may as well have been trying to grab a wisp of smoke.
Chiellini is 33 and has always carried the kind of countenance that probably makes him look a little haggard as soon as he has pulls back the sheets in the morning.
Giorgio Chiellini looked tired early but showed his class on a memorable night for Juventus
The experienced Italian defender produced a masterful performance at Wembley to win the tie
Nevertheless, his early experience at Wembley last night had little to do with age and everything to do with the way that Tottenham can play when the mood takes them.
Yet this morning Tottenham are out of the Champions League and Juventus are forging forwards and hoping for a third final in four years.
Over the course of two legs, the Italian champions were the better team against Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham for perhaps about 20 minutes. That may be generous.
In Turin two weeks ago they scored twice in the first ten minutes and here at a stunned Wembley they repeated the trick, this time in just three.
Despite falling behind at Wembley, Juventus responded and won the game 4-3 on aggregate
But if that tells us much about Juventus and their stubbornness then maybe it tells us a little about Tottenham also. Good and getting better but still not good enough, not yet.
Pochettino will despair at this defeat. The Tottenham manager bristles at talk of his failure to break his club’s ten-year run without a trophy and although he probably did not expect to win the Champions League, he did see it as an opportunity to make a statement.
For more than an hour here, his team did that for him.
They were not only the better team by a distance, they had imposed themselves on Juventus by playing exactly the kind of football that can make them so rewarding to watch in the Premier League.
There had been no compromise and had they led by two or more goals at half-time Juventus could not have complained. The Italians had been run dizzy at times.
Juventus do not face football like this in Italy, not often anyway. Napoli – the leaders of Serie A – can play but they do not have the dexterity or the breadth of attacking options available to Pochettino.
Paulo Dybala scored the Italian’s second goal and that was the difference over the two legs
Dybala was absent in the first leg in Turin through injury but took his goal well at Wembley
Nor, though, will Juventus face many teams in the knock out stages of the Champions League capable of opening the door for them quite like this.
Juventus had not managed a shot on target in the first hour yet by the time we reached the final twenty minutes they were leading on the night and in the tie.
Both goals were dreadful from a Tottenham viewpoint and they missed their big Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld, absent injured. This maybe points to a lack of squad depth and that in terms points to the debate about the level of investment in players at the club.
But this was not really about that. This was about taking chances – or not – when they came and about ensuring you did the basic things right when you didn’t have the ball.
Over the years big European Finals have sometimes been won by teams who, on balance of play, did not deserve it.
Manchester United in 1999, the better team for three minutes. Liverpool in 2005, superior for twenty and then as long as it took to win a penalty shoot-out.
But these things do not always happen by accident. They tend to be built on the back of the kind of street smarts clubs like United once had and probably still do have and teams like Tottenham still do not.
It would be easy this morning to talk about another triumph for great Italian ideals but it wasn’t really like that. Juventus did not play on the counter on purpose, they just couldn’t get enough of the ball. They didn’t defend like great Italian sides either. For long periods, they merely clung on.
Son Heung-min opened the scoring for Tottenham and produced an excellent performance
It would be wrong to be overly critical of Spurs when many put in very good performances
No, this was a story that was more about two moments of clinical finishing – Paulo Dybala’s winner was particularly well taken – and the fine lines that will occasionally break you at the very highest level of European football.
Kane was in an offside position when he headed against the post in the last minute but he hadn’t been spotted. So the ‘goal’ would have stood.
Equally, Erik Lamela was caught a little on his heels as the ball dropped on to the goal line. Had he not been, he may have nudged it in to the net and Tottenham would have charged in to extra time high on another adrenaline shot.
As it is, Bournemouth on Sunday will not feel quite the same.