SATURDAY 6TH AUGUST, 2005
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (0) FC PORTO 0 (0)
Defoe, 73, 85
Referee:- Mr D. Richards
Attendance:- 36, 112
Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson (Capt.)(sub Cerny, 46); Stalteri, Dawson, Gardner, Edman; Routledge (sub Keane, 68), Tainio, Carrick, Reid (sub Davids, 60); Mido (sub Kanoute, 68), Defoe
Subs not used: - Naybet, Davenport, Kelly, Bunjevcevic
Michael Carrick wore the Captain's armband in the second half
Porto (4-2-3-1):- Baia; Sonkaya (Peixoto, 45), Emanuel (Capt.), Ricardo Costa, Leandro (Pepe, 45); Lucho Gonzales (sub Alan, 61), Meireles; Jorginho, Postiga, Lisandro; McCarthy (sub Ibson, 61)
NB Porto’s number 19 also came on after 78 minutes, but I do not know who he replaced.
Subs not used:- Helton (GK): Paulo Assuncao, Almeida
A bumper 36,112 crowd flocked to White Hart Lane to see Edgar Davids make his Spurs debut, but they had to wait for the last half hour. Davids had received almighty cheers whenever he ran up and down the line to warm-up, and then when he came on, and for almost every touch afterwards. There were still plenty of cheers in the tank though, and rightly so, for not one but two world class goals by Jermain Defoe, which lightened up the game and sealed a good win in this prestigious final friendly game of the 2005-6 pre-season, during which Spurs have remained unbeaten.
Porto of course are a quality team, and it showed in the first half especially, as they demonstrated fluidity in the midfield and plenty of threats upon the Spurs goal, defended by Paul Robinson for his first appearance so far. It was difficult to pick out names and numbers on their blue and white striped shirts, but ex-Spur Helder Postiga was of course easily recognisable, as was his strike partner South African Benni McCarthy – a real quality player. Postiga started as part of a strike pair, but soon fell back into a potent three man attacking midfield, where Lisandro Lopez and Brazilian Jorginho worked and switched on the flanks.
There was no sign of ex-Porto midfield Pedro Mendes (who I recall did get a knock in last week’s friendlies), and Ledley King was also missing from the Spurs stars on display. Also seen in a Spurs shirt for the first time was right back Paul Stalteri, who settled in well, getting forward on occasions, but generally fully occupied against those wing-men. I suspect that Stalteri is going to edge out Stephen Kelly from the first choice line-up in the new season. All in all, Spurs must be very pleased to have kept a clean sheet against a team in good shape for the forthcoming Portuguese League programme and of course Champions League football, not that the defence or the midfield ever looked particularly comfortable, until Spurs took the initiative by attacking hard late in the game.
In the early stages, Spurs were struggling somewhat to keep possession consistently and to create much pressure, but the game was being played at a fairly low tempo. Edman was done by Lisandro after 7 minutes, and Mc Carthy’s header was saved by Robinson, without a stretch. Two minutes later, you would have backed Defoe to give Spurs the lead as he collected after a defensive error about 40 yards out, raced for goal, and then dithered in front of Baia, who was able to dive to his right and save the eventual shot. McCarthy had the next effort, and quite stylish it was too, as he attempted an overhead conversion of a left field cross, that went wide of the post.
Carrick played a lovely ball down the inside right channel for Routledge, whose shooting was way off target, as the South Upper tier would have been worrying more than the Porto keeper! Michael Dawson made a good block to prevent McCarthy again, as he had been given too much space for initial manoeuvre. Mid-way through the half, Andy Reid’s cross as he had advanced near the bye-line, was heading for Mido, but was intercepted for a corner. Three minutes before the break, Paul Robinson anticipated well, as McCarthy met Jorginho’s cross. That was Robinson’s last significant action, as Radek Cerny played the second half.
There were plenty of substitutions in the second period, but not so many that often break the flow of the game. Just before the substitution we had all been waiting for, Andy Reid did well from near the half way line to win the ball, carry, then deliver for Mido, whose header was saved. On came Davids to rapturous cheers, and initially he started on the left, but Spurs soon settled with Davids beside Carrick, Tainio on the right and Routledge switching to the left. It looks like Tainio has the necessary flexibility to play almost anywhere in the middle, and I feel he will play a very full part in the new season.
Davids contribution was little at first, but he did make a couple of biting tackles, that would have won him a yellow card in the Premiership! His influence was probably implied more than direct though, as Spurs at last strung a few passes together. When Kanoute came on (to play on the right) he made all the difference, gathering and holding up the ball well, coupled with plenty of creation. Remember, Fredi was the third best Spurs player last term on the Opta stats. I don’t think the club should be letting him go either!
A Davids cross from the left curled goalward and became a very testing shot for Vitor Baia, who just managed to tip the ball over the bar. Four minutes later, Baia was picking the ball out of the net after an audacious lob by Defoe, collecting Carrick’s long ball, just outside the box, seeing the keeper only about five feet off his line, and scoring with perfect precision!
Porto almost bounced back immediately, as Cerny punched out a corner, then saw a header go wide. After 83 minutes, Cerny was sharp again, as a Porto free kick got some help from a back header, which Cerny had to dive quickly and low to gather at the second attempt with the ball going to his right. Then came another touch of class from Defoe, who this time was further away from goal, maybe as far as 30 yards. Tainio had delivered, and Baia was further out, but Defoe’s lob was again superb in front of the ecstatic Paxton Road crowd! Just before the end, Jermain trie4d desperately for a hat-trick, jinking into the area, but getting blocked as he pulled the trigger.
Off we go to Portsmouth next week, then, when the real business of gathering enough points to play the likes of Porto on a regular basis begins!
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