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Spurs U-19s v Japan U-19s, 06.01.14
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

U-19 Nutifood Cup 2014
Thong Nhat Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City
Monday 6th January 2014, 3.50pm

SPURS U-19 2(0) v 1(1) JAPAN U-19

Spurs(White/Blue) 4-3-3 – McGee, Walker-Peters, McQueen, Ball(Amos 90+6), Ogilvie, Dombaxe(Lesniak 60), Winks(C), Onomah(Goddard 85), Oduwa, Akindayini(Harrison 81), Miller(Sonupe 77)

Unused subs. - Priestley

Scorers – Akindayini 50, Oduwa 73

Booked – Onomah 49(Diving), Lesniak 87(Holding)

Japan(All Blue) 4-3-3 – Toru, Rikuto, Genta(C), Yuki, Yuto, Reo, Tsuyoshi(Yusuke 59), Masaya, Takumi, Takahiro(Ryosuke 70), Shota(Naoki 79).

Scorer – Shota 8

Spurs opened the tournament against the Japanese national side before the official opening ceremony at the Thong Nhat stadium to a half-full crowd which is a lot more than most of our lads have previously experienced. The coaches say these tournaments are all about the experience so this will be new to them as with press and cameramen all round it was like a first team game. I watched the game streamed from Vietnamese TV so am limited to what they screened. The odds on a Spurs win weren’t great but I grabbed a free bet after opening a new bookmaker account so I had a bet to nothing to increase the tension.

Spurs lined up with McGee behind McQueen and Ball with Walker-Peters on the right and Ogilvie on the left. Dombaxe anchored the midfield with Winks and Onomah supporting Akindayini who led the line with Oduwa on the right flank and Miller on the left.

Spurs kicked off attacking the goal to the right but were soon under pressure from a fast-paced Japanese side. They moved the ball quickly with Takumi firing wide in the first minute. Takumi provided the little square ball to Shota on the edge of the area from which the striker scored. Shota moved the ball onto his right and fired low into the left corner of the net.

Takumi fired wide a minute later as Spurs struggled to contain them. McQueen broke from the back and got into the Japanese area before crossing to the near post where Akindayini flicked the ball into the waiting hands of Tori. Oduwa got down the right and crossed for akindayini. His effort was blocked with the ball running to Miller outside the back post, but he fired over. Takumi drove wide again as they kept the pressure on the Spurs goal. A loose pass was intercepted by Onomah who ran on driving wide from the edge of the area. Spurs were holding a good line and beginning to have counter attacks as the half finished with Oduwa pulling the ball back for Winks to fire wide and Winks found the head of Ball from a corner that the keeper saved.

As far as I could see there were no changes for the second half which saw Spurs make a strong start after McGee had to save a low drive following a corner. Onomah went down in the area running onto a pass from Oduwa and was shown a yellow card for diving. Winks passed inside to Onomah who played a ball between the two centre backs for Akindayini to run onto and score with a toe-poke to draw Spurs level.

McGee had to make a save before Dombaxe fired over. Winks took a free kick from the leftside and curled it under the bar only to see Tori push it onto the crossbar for a corner. From the corner the keeper punched the ball out as far as Dombaxe who fired over. A weak backpass by Ball almost had McGee in trouble as Shota nipped in. Spurs replaced Dombaxe with Lesniak as the Japanese began to re-assert themselves. Masaya fired wide and from a Spurs corner they broke quickly through Takahiro who laid the ball off to Shota but his weak effort was saved by McGee. The keeper released the ball quickly for an attack that saw Akindayini fire over.

Around this time the cameras kept cutting away to show the Vietnam and Roma teams arriving for their match. They came back to the action just as Oduwa, who had switched to the left, beat two defenders by nut-megging one and riding the tackle of the second before running into the area, wrong footing a third defender before firing past the keeper into the left corner for Spurs' second.

McGee saved from Ryosuke before both sides began to make changes with Spurs replacing Miller with Sonupe on the right Rikuto got down the right and crossed for Genta to head wide. Akindayini made way for Harrison before McGee had to make a double save to keep Spurs lead intact. He first saved when Naoki's cross was hit first time and he reacted quickly to save Takumi's follow up.

Goddard replaced Onomah in midfield before Lesniak was booked when an attack broke down and he was caught out by the quick counter so pulled back the runner. Spurs began to drop deep as they sought to see out the game while the Japanese applied more pressure. They had an effort fly wide before Rikuto got into the area on the right side and struck the crossbar with a rising drive. Amos replaced the injured Ball in the dying minutes of the game as Spurs held firm to the final whistle.

AS Roma beat the Vietnamese national side 2-1 in the following game which means both European clubs won their opening matches. Wednesday's game between these two is likely toproduce the tournament winner.

Ray

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