Spurs 4-1 Kitchee SC: (match report)
“The most important thing was to share this time with all our fans and to try to enjoy the game – to be honest, the result wasn’t important. Of course, we’re professional and we always show respect to the opponent, that’s important. But then the most important thing is the image we translate to our fans because that is something they can keep forever.” (Mauricio Pochettino)
Spurs rounded off their season with a 4-1 victory over Hong Kong Premier league champions Kitchee SC, in a post season exhibition match on Friday afternoon. It was a game in which Pochettino had the luxury of experimenting with his side hence the many substitutions that were made during the game, which also saw four youngsters feature. The huge gulf in class was evident from the offing as Spurs dominated possession as they passed the ball across the park. Pochettino’s side broke the deadlock on 17 minutes courtesy of a sweet strike from Son Heung-Min. Son’s effort from 20 yards out left Wang Zhenpeng with no chance, as the ball curled in to the back of the net. We doubled our advantage a couple of minutes later when Vincent Janssen calmly tapped the ball home from close range, after receiving a low cross from Ben Davies on the left wing, 2-0 to Spurs! Pochettino’s side continued to dominate possession of the game for the remainder of the half, Spurs were in total control as they played with complete freedom throughout the game. Spurs resumed the second half in fine fashion, Janssen was narrowly denied an excellent solo effort on 54 minutes. After the Dutchman curled a delightful effort from 20 yards out which was tipped on to the cross bar by Wang, a fine save from the goalkeeper. The hosts had their best chance of the game nine minutes later when Michel Vorm made an excellent reaction save to deny Akande after he went through on goal following Vertonghens misplaced pass from the back. 18 year old Spurs youngster Kazaiah Sterling almost made an instant impact after coming on for his debut, when the strikers powerful header was thwarted by Wang shortly afterwards.
We finally netted our third of the game on the 84th minute from none other than Harry Kane. Kane latched on to Trippier’s well measured cross from the right, as he comfortably tapped the ball home from inside the box, to put Spurs three goals ahead. Kitchee netted a consolation goal five minutes later through Lucas Silva when he prodded home from close range after the ball had looped over Vorm. We rounded off our victory with a fourth goal in stoppage time, and what a moment it was for young Kazaiah Sterling. Sterling got on the end of Alli’s through ball inside the box, and the youngster was as composed as Harry Kane as he calmly slotted the ball past Wang to cap off a brilliant season for the Lillywhites. The final score Spurs 4-1 Kitchee SC, a great experience for Pochettino’s side as they complete the season in style, the team will now enjoy a much deserved holiday over the summer, before returning to pre season in July. COYS
Additional notes: There were many fine performances on display during Fridays game, notably from first team players such as Son who put in a terrific display, and Janssen who put in a really good shift up front. However, the players I was most impressed with were our young academy players that featured throughout the game. Filip Lesniak who made his debut against Leicester only the other week, was impressive in the defensive midfield role. Although he was barely tested, I made a point of watching Lesniak throughout the game and I was thoroughly impressed with the Slovakians off the ball movement. Whilst he was quite but efficient, Lesniak proved his consistency to Pochettino. 20 year old forward Will Miller enjoyed a really good game at the unfamiliar position of left wing back, Miller showed great feet and anticipation as he surged down the left wing. Millers one of the most skilful youngsters in our academy, and his performance will have impressed Pochettino. 18 year old striker Kazaiah Sterling made a dream debut capping of an impressive performance with a goal late on in stoppage time, whilst tenacious midfielder Luke Amos made an impression in the centre of the park during his 25 minute cameo. The season may be officially over but I’ll still be publishing Spurs related content throughout the summer, mainly on player articles, transfer news and some historical pieces on Spurs. COYS
My man of the match: Vincent Janssen, Janssen had a good game in Hong Kong, as he scored only his third goal from open play for Spurs. His off the ball movement and hold up play were of the highest quality, Janssen fully deserved to lift the trophy at the end!
Kitchee SC: Wang (Guo 81), Recio (Sham 81), Cancela, Goncalves, Azevedo (Lucas 81), Ferreira (Akande 46), Lo (K Lam), Lum (Tong 67), Huang (Segovia Del Burgo 73), M Lam (Wan 73), Vadocz.
Spurs: Lloris (c, Pau Lopez 30 (Vorm, 62)), Walker (Trippier 46), Alderweireld (Dier 46), Wimmer, Davies (Miller 46), Lesniak (Amos 69), Sissoko (Wanyama 46), Nkoudou (Dele 46), Eriksen (Vertonghen 46), Son (Kane 75), Janssen (Sterling 69).
Goals: Kitchee – Lucas 89. Spurs – Son 17, Janssen 21, Kane 84, Sterling 90+1.
Referee: Liu Kwok Man.