Spurs under 23’s 0-2 Villarreal B: (match report)
In football, teams are always going to be taught tough lessons, one of those occurred during Villarreal B’s 2-0 victory over Spurs under 23’s on Tuesday evening, in the premier league international cup. Wayne Burnett’s side were schooled from start to finish by the talented Spanish side, playing breathtaking tiki-taka football the ‘yellow submarines’ wowed from start to finish. Our lads just couldn’t keep up with them for the majority of the game, they dictated play. Though Burnett’s side made a much greater impression on the game in the second half they lacked a cutting edge in the final third and failed to really trouble the Villarreal goalkeeper. As a footballing fan I had to admire the brilliant play and movement that the Spanish side produced, the footballing culture at youth level being quite different to in England, it was fascinating to see, Villarreal’s Pedro Martinez was one of many particularly impressive players. The game ended in a pretty unpleasant way with three red cards and a massive scrap which involved some players on the bench getting involved, but the game and the experience will have been an invaluable one for our lads. The visitors got the game under way, implementing their fast paced short passing style of play on the game in the opening couple of minutes as they went on the offensive. Spurs goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman had to be alert to gather an early cross, whilst Artiles whipped a dangerous ball across the face of the goal soon afterwards.
A fast paced Villarreal side continued their bright start, forcing Whiteman into becoming a sweeper keeper to clear a brilliant forward pass. The busy Whiteman was again called into action to thwart Artiles free kick, as Spurs struggled to get the ball off the Spanish side. Some more wonderful attacking play from the visitors saw the prominent Artiles thread a lovely through ball into Moreno, his effort dashing inches wide of Whiteman’s far post. Villarreal continued to threaten and they came mighty close to breaking the deadlock when Garcia’s thunderbolt on the edge of the penalty area, was denied only by a spectacular save, with Whiteman throwing his body to the ground to tip wide. Spurs were still to have a shot on goal, when Artiles tested our defence again after he showed good feet in the box before cutting inside and firing just over, as Spurs continued to struggle with the fast tempo set by the Spanish team. Spurs were looking to respond, Bennetts attacking foray and promising cross resulting in Sterling curling well wide. The ‘yellow submarines’ soon continued their attacking onslaught, a brilliant one two on the edge of the Spurs box culminated in Simon Moreno volleying over the bar, the crowd were in awe of Villarreal’s beautiful football, they were playing our lads off the park. The brilliant Alfie Whiteman was once again called into action, the 19 year old getting a vital leg to a flick inside the box. Young Lyons-Foster who was having a good game at the back along side Maghoma. Produced a vital intervention to stop a Villarreal player from running clean through on goal.
The young defender produced more heroics moments later to brilliantly block a header, he then cleared the ball to safety. Spurs were continuing to weather the storm, young Oliver Skipp making a valiant block on 20 minutes. Whilst Spurs enjoyed a rare attack at the other end, which saw Sterling’s low cross come invitingly to Shashoua inside the box, unfortunately for him he got his footing wrong and scuffed the ball wide of goal. Some more sublime football from the away team saw them finally manage to breakthrough our defence when Artiles made the breakthrough on 31 minutes. It was a fine goal which occurred after Spurs were robbed of possession at the back, the silky skills of Artiles saw him beat a couple of Spurs defenders before curling a precise effort inside the top right corner of the goal, 1-0. Moreno’s long range effort shortly after the restart was easily gathered by the Spurs keeper, as our lads went on to break forward. Courtesy of a great long run from Bennetts which was only ended when he was brought to the floor. Despite receiving little service Harrison had impressed throughout the game, the 20 year old embarking on a weaving run before cutting inside from the right and curling an effort straight at Lazaro, that was Spurs’ first effort on target. The busy Whiteman was yet again called into action at the other end to make a low stop to deny Artiles, whilst Marsh completed an important sliding challenge seconds later. Uruguayan Franco Acosta pulled off a Harlem Globetrotter like trick towards the end of the half before volleying a fraction wide of goal.
The resulting corner kick bounced off the woodwork before Whiteman produced another great low save. Deep into added time of the first half Villarreal doubled their lead courtesy of Riera’s strike. Pedro Martinez’s powerful low drive being met by Riera who bundled the ball home at the far post. The Spurs players started the second half much more brightly as they looked to stamp their authority on the game, but this didn’t mean that the away team were going to lower their tempo. Christian Maghoma’s clearance inside the area resulted in a Villarreal forward sending a dangerous looping header at goal, which was tipped over the bar by Whiteman. A fine move from the Spanish side forced Whiteman into making a good save at his near post, minutes later. Substitute Shilow Tracey looked to give Spurs another attacking option, his powerful effort at goal forcing a decent save out of Lazaro. Spurs continued to maintain possession, a penalty shout for Tracey was waved away by the referee as Spurs continued to create some decent chances. Spurs however, were lacking a cutting edge in the final third, making Lazaro a spectator for most of the game. Burnett’s team were trying their best to attack the opposition, though this wasn’t helped by a string of time wasting incidents from the away team. The players tempers were boiling over and this resulted in some unpleasant scenes in stoppage time of the second half as both sets of players were involved in a scrap.
It all started with a challenge on Bennetts by the touchline, unhappy with the challenge he pushed a Villarreal player to the floor it all got a bit frantic after that as a sea of players got involved, Marsh appearing to strike a Villarreal player in the face as a full melee followed, one Villarreal player even deciding to kick the loose ball at a Spurs player. This involved a number of players from the bench, in the end the referee sent of three players; Keanan Bennetts, Franco Acosta(already substituted) and Simon Moreno. It was an ugly end to the game. Shilow Tracey went close with a header in the final stages of the game as Villarreal held on for a deserved 2-0 win. Up next for Burnett’s side is a home game against Chelsea on Saturday in the PL2. COYS
– Alfie Whiteman: Made a string of top saves to stop the margin of defeat being higher for Spurs. Done a great job as a sweeper keeper.
– George Marsh: Energetic and efficient both at right back and in the centre of midfield which is where he operated for most of the second half.
– C.Maghoma: Tenacious along side Lyons-Foster, made some really important challenges.
– Oliver Skipp: One of our best players, put in a typically industrious display in the centre of the park. Very efficient at breaking up play.
– Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Mature performance from the 16 year old, made a good impression at centre half including a string of fine interceptions, held his own.
– Jack Roles: Tidy in the centre of the park, wasn’t able to make those forward runs which he is so good at due to defensive responsibilities.
– Joe Pritchard: Tidy and dominant.
– Kazaiah Sterling: Showed good movement, looked a threat in front of goal.
– Shayon Harrison: Had a positive impact on the game, worked tirelessly but didn’t get the service.
– Samuel Shashoua: Pressed relentlessly, was creative with the ball at his feet and brought energy to the game.
– Shilow Tracey: The substitute made a good attacking impact on the game.
– Tariq Hinds: Good going forward, showed good feet.
– Ryan Loft: N/A.
My man of the match: Keanan Bennetts was our biggest attacking threat going forward. Whilst he was solid and defensively sound at left back, the 18 year old went on some brilliant attacking forays down the left and was one of our main sources of creativity. Showed brilliant feet.
Spurs: Whiteman, Marsh, Bennetts, Skipp, C Maghoma, Lyons-Foster, Roles (Tracey 63), Pritchard (c), Sterling, Harrison (Loft 82), S Shashoua (Hinds 63). Substitutes (not used): Austin, Reynolds.
Villarreal CF: Lazaro, Montolio (Fernandez 81), Quintilla, Riera, Bueno (c), Lozano, Artiles, Garcia (Moya 70), Acosta, Martinez (Poveda 53), Moreno. Substitutes (not used): Franquesa, J Martinez, Francisco, Gonzalez.
Goals: Villarreal – Artiles 31, Riera (45+2).
Yellow cards: Villarreal – Lozano 89, Artiles 94.
Red cards: Spurs – Bennetts 97. Villarreal – Acosta 95, Moreno 95.
Referee: Neil Hair.