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Girona v Spurs, 04.08.18

FRIENDLY MATCH
SATURDAY 4TH AUGUST, 2018
8 pm (C.E.T)
GIRONA 4(2) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1)

Girona scorers:-
Juanpe, 22
Lozano, 34
Portu, 53
Aleix Garcia, 61

Spurs scorer:-
Lucas Moura, 13

Attendance:- 7,340

Referee:- Jose Luis Munuera Montero

Teams:-
Girona:- Bono (sub Giorgi, 84); Juanpe (sub Ramalho, 78), Bernardo (sub Planas, 73), Muniesa (sub Alcala, 73), Aleix Garcia (sub Vito, 84), Timor (sub Pere Pons, 65), Borja Garcia (sub Andzouana, 78), Pedro Porro (sub Montes, 78), Portu (sub Aday, 70), Alex Granell (Capt.), Lozano (sub Soni, 65)

Girona had three players booked

Spurs (4-3-2-3):- Vorm (Capt.) (sub Gazzaniga, 46); Aurier (sub Walker-Peters, 46), Eyoma (sub Dinzeyi, 79), Davies, Georgiou; Amos (sub P. Maghoma, 79), Marsh (sub Bowden, 83), Skipp; Lucas Moura (sub Llorente, 46), Son (sub Tracey, 79), Nkoudou (sub Tanganga, 63)

Sub not used:- Whiteman

Why, why, why Girona!

Quite why this last pre-season friendly was arranged in the first place I do not know. My recollection is that the match was arranged after the squad (such as it was) had reported for pre-season training. Perhaps when the club agreed to the game they thought most of our World Cup stars would be back, and they did not anticipate no less than 9 absentees due to their involvement in the semi-finals week.

Add to that the absence of Carter-Vickers, Eriksen, Lamela and Sissoko, all of whom had played some part in the International Champions Cup plus the injured Wanyama and rehabilitating Harry Winks and you had a squad for this game that was more than decimated.

It was very difficult to follow this game on the Premier Sports channel, whose commentator I suspect was also in a studio outside Spain, such was his level of awareness of what was going on. I suspect that those die-hard Spurs fans (and perhaps some Costa Brava holiday-makers) also struggled to identify not only the Girona team but most of the Spurs squad. The Girona team was described as near full strength, and they approached this game (played for a local cup) with real gusto, despite being in the opening stages of their pre-season preparation.

This Spurs side was literally over-run. Even Ben Davies – covering again at centre-back – struggled to keep up with the breaks and the pace of the Spaniards, in particular Portu, born locally and a true local hero.

Despite the dominance of the home side, Spurs actually took the lead but not before they had suffered several close shaves. Portu had made a determined run into the left side of the Spurs box and was blocked by Davies. Portu had a shot deflected over for a corner after 8 minutes after a ball from the right. Our young midfielders, and our defenders were struggling to hold the keen home side at bay.

Lozano had to make a good save diving low to his right from Lozano’s downward header, and Spurs had another corner to defend.

Girona were not shy in the tackle and actually had three yellow cards shown during the game. Lucas Moura was fouled just outside the box. Davies ran over the ball and Lucas himself hit a rocket of a shot that beat goalkeeper Bono to the left. It was not going to be a “beautiful game” for Spurs.

Nkoudou did have a chance after being presented with the ball but scuffed his shot. Soon after that Nkoudou had a decent run down the left but hit a poor cross.

Girona took until midway through the first half to equalise. They had a free kick about 25 yards out. Timor hit the post and Portu picked up the ball after the rebound crossing for Juanpe to leap high and head home to the right of Vorm.

There were drinks breaks in each half due to the intense heat and after the first one Girona took the lead. Portu left Davies in his wake and cut the ball back for Lozano to have an easy finish.

Vorm had to make a good save from another Lozano effort – this one a header – after a cross from the left. Lucas Moura and Aurier were the victims of fouls which drew cards for Girona players.

Mauricio Pochettino made three changes at the start of the second half. Gazzaniga was on for Vorm. Llorente replaced Lucas Moura and Kyle Walker-Peters took over at right back to replace Aurier. I am afraid that Kyle was as much a rabbit in the headlights as some of his colleagues, such as Eyoma. Llorente hardly got a touch. Neither did Son. Our midfield were just not seeing much of the ball, as it was basically one-way traffic towards the Spurs goal.

Spurs had already had one scare before they went 3-1 down. Their defence was in a mess and Gazzaniga had to come out of his area to chest the ball away. The ball came back though and that man Portu was goalside of Eyoma, and able to score with ease.

Gazzaniga had to make saves from both Garcias – Aleix and Borja – before we went 4-1 down after another defensive mix-up. I think Walker-Peters may have been at fault here as a backward pass went into the path of Portu who hit the post before Aleix Garcia scored.

Pochettino replaced Nkoudou with Tanganga, who is a centre-back. Davies went to left back and Georgiou moved forward. Spurs were still largely on the back foot, and to be honest I took less and less interest in the mass of substitutions and Spurs’ need to at least keep the score down to 4-1 which they did thanks to some profligacy on the part of Girona and a couple more saves by Gazzaniga.

We had better just hope that most, if not all of our returning World Cup stars can be available for next Saturday’s Newcastle game plus Eriksen and Lamela. The transfer window closes on Thursday and as one of my Twitter correspondents has said “M…m….m….m….maybe we’ll buy a player”!

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