|What turned out to
be a comfortable looking 3-1 win for Spurs saw them suffer some anxious
moments in the heat and humidity of Suwon. The Sundowns side
played some good football, but left it a little late in the match to
force the pace of the game as Tottenham tired.
Watching on TV never gives the full
picture, but the eye is mightier than the word and the commentators in
this match produced more mistakes than a Crystal Palace defence to leave
Spurs fans reeling. Apparently, Ricardo Gardner was at the heart
of the Spurs defence and when Kanoute was substituted, Mido came on
despite having El Hamdaoui's shirt on !! Even when the mistake was
identified, they called him Hamood for the rest of the match !! it
was very disappointing, as I know Bryan Hamilton is a regular at White
Hart Lane, but he seemed to be taken in by the other commentator, who's
name slipped my memory ... I only would have got it wrong anyway !!
The game started with Sundowns stringing
together more passes than Spurs, but producing little at the end of
it. That was the story of the whole match really. With
Kanoute firing wide, when a ball across the box might have been the
better option, the chance was equalled by Peter Ndlovu (remember him
from his Coventry days ?) hit a volley that Cerny fell on at his
post. Just as in the first game, Spurs were blocking well, with
Edman, Davenport and Gardner all making important interventions.
Cerny was also doing his reputation no harm with a commanding
performance in goal, making well-timed dashes from goal and showing good
He might have had no chance when Ndlovu
dragged a ball back across the box to Mgwenya, who timed his run well,
but hit his shot awfully ... wide. This came but a couple of
minutes before the first goal of the match and surprisingly, it fell to
Spurs. The ball was cleared out of the Sundowns penalty area, but
it was helped back in by Huddlestone to the centre of the D. Here
it dropped for Robbie Keane and with the defence coming out so slowly,
leaving Kanoute offside (but not active), Keano took the ball down, took
it round the keeper and took the opportunity to knock it into an empty
Straight after, Spurs broke with pace and
Andy Reid's intelligent through pass found Kanoute running in on goal,
until Mhlongo nudged him in the back causing him to fall as the Mali
striker shot wide, but the ref was having none of it. Tottenham's
pacy breaks will be one of the features of our play this season I reckon
and when Routledge played the ball of Fredi and put in Keane, the
Irishman's lob over the unconvincing keeper's advance was a little
under-hit and the defender cleared it before it got to the goal.
At half-time Tainio replaced Mendes and
Sundowns came out looking to find a way back into the match.
Mgwenya made his own chance by flicking the ball up to hit it on the
volley, which flew a foot wide, with Cerny flying across his goal to get
to it. Ndlovu was showing why he used to be so effective with his
pace and ability to cross low into the area, he put the ball behind the
in-running defenders for Dladla to hit the ball well, but Gardner's legs
got in the way of his goal-bound shot.
Then, with decisive and effective
movement Tottenham went 2-0 up in the 52nd minute. Tainio's
measured pass into Wayne Routledge's path saw him advance on goal from
the right wing and his shot was parried out, but only to Fredi, who
turned and slid the ball under two defenders on the goal-line. The
pace of the break had left Sundowns' players trailing in their
wake. In fact the pace of our attacks even caught the linesman out
on occasion when he flagged for offside, when the players had not been
beyond the last defender.
Routledge was tearing up the right wing
and one cross was just missed by both Fredi and Robbie, but it was a
ball in from the left flank by Reid that caused the third goal to come
about. His powerfully hit knee high cross was sliced high in the
air and as Kanoute tried to get it down, the ball bounced into the path
fo Keane (looking suspiciously offside for once) and he took one touch
and drilled it through the keeper's legs for 3-0 in the 58th minute.
This was the signal for Sundowns to throw
on the players who had been instrumental in beating Real Sociedad at the
weekend. The shots started to fly in on the Tottenham goal, but
Cerny did not have a great deal of difficulty until the last twelve
minutes. Before that Routledge has put in Keano, who dinked the
ball over the advancing keeper, but a little too firmly and it bounced
back off the crossbar.
Three minutes later, with 78 minutes on
the clock, Sundowns finally made the breakthrough. Sapula put
Chebangu in through the left channel of the penalty area and as Cerny
set himself, the early shot flew across him into the goal. It was
a well-taken effort, but one that saw Tottenham doing their backing off
routine, which is letting them down.
Routledge then set up El Hamdaoui to go
through on goal, but he was pulled back by a linesman's flag. At
the other end, a good pull back to Chebangu again saw him shoot low to
the near post, but Cerny had covered a lot of ground to block with a
very good save low down. The Czech keeper was also in the right
place when Ndlovu had a free header that he hit straight at Cerny, then
when he did manage to miss Radek, he hit the foot of the post.
With Davenport blocking a shot in front of goal and Sapula missing from
close range, the Tottenham goal was put under pressure, but Spurs had
the final word, when El Hamdaoui produced a great piece of skill to drag
the ball back into the path of Keane as he ran through for his hat-trick
only to have the goal disallowed for offside (which he was ...
just). Robbie was disgusted and spent some time after the final
whistle "debating" the matter with the local officials.
It was a good performance, with some
players playing their second match in three days and a clinical
finishing display was what won it in the end. Four points from two
games and a place at the top of the group is a good return, but only a
win against Sociedad might be enough to go through to the final.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - TOM HUDDLESTONE