Spurs under 19’s 0-2 Porto: (match report)
Our under 19’s European adventure came to an abrupt end this afternoon, as Scott Parker’s side suffered a 2-0 defeat to FC Porto in the quarter finals of the UEFA Youth league. It was a sorry end to what had been such an exciting and impressive journey for our young lads. However, that fluent attacking football which had been so evident in their other youth league matches, was missing for the quarterfinal at Hotspur Way. It was a dull uninspiring performance from Spurs (and I’m not criticising them in the slightest!) we met our match albeit in a very defensive Porto side. Who strangled any creativity that we mustered, they set up like an ultra defensive Serie A side. Their physicality and off the ball intelligence proving too much for Parker’s side who found themselves 2-0 down at half time. Unable to trouble Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa, Spurs couldn’t break down the rigid Porto defence in the second half. The Portuguese club comfortably managing to see out the remainder of the game, to progress to the semi-finals. With the stakes so high both sides approached the game with caution, so it was unsurprising that the game started so quietly. The first real thing of note occurred just after the 10 minute mark, when TJ Eyoma managed to get a vital head on the ball to prevent Queta from running through on goal. Porto had a half chance moments later when Musa received the ball down the right flank, but the Nigerian’s low cross was well dealt with by Austin in the Spurs goal. The sheer competitiveness of the game made it hard for either side to take control, a brilliant crunching challenge from Jamie Reynolds followed a fine effort at the other end. After Paris Maghoma’s dipping effort deflected off a Porto defender, leaving Costa flapping frantically in the Porto goal to prevent it from going underneath the cross bar. Clear cut chances were becoming hard to come by.
George Marsh managed to get a good block in to prevent Bessa’s effort on the edge of the penalty area. After a dull opening half hour, the visitors took the lead dead on 30 minutes through a set piece. It was a disappointing goal to concede, Estrela’s corner kick wasn’t dealt with properly as Diogo Leite rose the highest towards the back of the box, to power a low header goal bound. The defenders effort took a nick off Oliver Skipp, deceiving Austin as it went in to the back of the net, it would later be awarded as an own goal. Spurs looked to respond straight from the restart, the so far quiet Shashoua managing to slip in Bennetts down the left flank. The speedy winger managed to get his cross away despite being under pressure, the ball was frantically cleared by a Porto defender. Ten minutes after conceding the opener, Parker’s side fell further behind when Porto doubled their advantage. Coming as the result of an unfortunate error at the back, Santiago Vera was played through on goal despite Skipp’s best efforts, his touch on the ball wasn’t enough to divert it. As the Paraguayan ran through before calmly slotting the ball underneath the body of Austin who did manage to get a glove to the ball, but to no avail as it squirmed over the line. Parker’s side now needed to risk conceding more in order to get forward more. To prevent it from being 3-0, Austin produced a good save to thwart Estrela’s strike shortly after the restart. Spurs were in desperate need of a reshape at half time.
Parker made two tactical substitutions during the interval as he brought on Dylan Duncan and Phoenix Patterson in place of Maghoma and Tanganga, to try and shake things up. The half had barely begun when the referee brought out his yellow card for Hinds after a cynical foul committed by the right back, McDermott could be heard from the touchline urging his side to move it quicker. And to their credit they did but it wasn’t enough to break past this ridiculously defensive Porto outfit. Fleeting chances came and went for Spurs, Hinds saw his effort from range fly wide. Whilst Samuel Shashoua’s free kick on the edge of the Porto box was bent over Costa’s crossbar. Tariq Hinds then had an effort saved by Costa at the back post, Porto weren’t interested in extending their lead. It was all about defending their two goal cushion. By this point in the game Porto had now started some amateur dramatics, exaggerating fouls with over the top wincing. This would have been to run the clock down. Substitute Patterson fired an effort well wide off the mark as the creativity from Parker’s side continued to prove ineffective. The Porto coaches and officials were left roaring after George Marsh fouled one of their players. Already on a yellow, the coaches wanted to see him receive another. The uninspiring nature of the game continued, Brandon Austin was forced into making a terrific save low down to deny Queta’s deflected effort, as Spurs continued to offer little of note.
Porto had another chance when Queirós received the ball at the back post from the resulting corner kick, but he could only head over. The relentless Samuel Shashoua did well to create a half chance after he managed to pick the ball up from the goalkeeper who failed to gather it properly. Shashoua then tuned sharply before aiming for Bennetts at the back post, but a Porto defender reacted quickest and managed to knock the ball out for a corner. And it was from the resulting corner kick that we had our best chance of the half, a decent delivery from Reynolds resulted in Costa spilling the ball. Nearest to it was Skipp whose effort was acrobatically cleared off the line by a Porto player. The problem for Spurs was that there was no space whatsoever to get a shot in, such was the Juventusesque 11 men behind the ball approach which had been incorporated into this Porto team. We were limited to efforts from range such as the one from Hinds which flew well wide towards the latter part of the game, Porto had got their tactics spot on. The last bit of action came deep in stoppage time with the game already won. Bennetts whipped in a free kick which was easily caught by Costa, and then for some reason or another George Marsh decided to go flying into him knocking him to the floor in the process, it was such a silly foul to make. And one that would result in the Bulgarian referee giving him his marching orders, it was a sad end to a sad game. As I l made my way out I crossed paths with the Spurs players such as Shashoua and Eyoma, dejected and down beat. They had their heads down, it was apparent how much the game had meant to the them. COYS
Player reviews: -Brandon Austin: Showed very impressive communication skills, lead his defenders well. Made a couple of fine stops.
– Tariq Hinds: Had a good game, was sound defensively but he was most impressive going forward and managed to get into some good positions. Had a couple of decent efforts on goal, was good to see him getting forward so often.
– Jamie Reynolds: A tireless performance from the combative left back, whose crunching challenges and tight defending made a positive impact on the game from our perspective. Allowed Bennetts to have creative freedom going forward.
– George Marsh: It was a strange game for Marsh, who despite putting in a typically hardworking performance as a holding midfielder and also as a centre half in the second half. Undone all his hard work with a silly sending off, after already picking up a yellow card Marsh for some reason or another decided to plough into the goalkeeper in the last bit of action of the game, it was ridiculous. Sadly it’s another red card to add to his growing collection, he has got a bit of a Bartonesque streak to his game.
– Japhet Tanganga: Only played the first half, put in a sound defensive performance.
– TJ Eyoma: My motm, see below
– Samuel Shashoua: Worked harder than anyone on the pitch, had a quiet first half but grew into the game more in the second half. Tried desperately hard to create.
– Oliver Skipp: Not his best performance but you can’t expect a 17 year old to be on top of his game every single game, worked very hard but was a tad sloppy and made some risky decisions.
– Reo Griffiths: Spurs managed one shot on goal the whole game so it was of little surprise that Griffiths was living off scraps. Hence he was unable to make much of an impact.
– Paris Maghoma: There were quite a few things that Maghoma did which impressed me during the first half, those sharp turns being one of them. He offered us something different in a very defence minded midfield three. I was disappointed to see him substituted at half time as I thought that he could have provided that little spark to change the game for Spurs.
– Keanan Bennetts: Another played who tried to think outside the box in order to break past the Porto defence. Bennetts worked incredibly hard throughout, he was determined and eager to run at players. Gave a good account of himself.
– Dylan Duncan: Decent second half performance, kept things simple but got involved physically
– Phoenix Patterson: Tidy. Used the ball well.
My man of the match: TJ Eyoma. Brilliant performance from the 17 year old centre half, hardly put a foot wrong. Good in the air and decisive in the challenge, read situations well.
Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Reynolds (Brown 68), Marsh, Tanganga (c, Duncan 46), Eyoma, S Shashoua, Skipp, Griffiths, P Maghoma (Patterson 46), Bennetts. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Dinzeyi, Lyons-Foster, Bowden.
FC Porto: Costa, Justiniano, Queirós, Leite, Bessa, Estrela (c), Romário Baró (Sousa 82), Queta, Musa, Rui Pires (Lameira 90+1), Vera (Maleck Robles 75). Substitutes (not used): Silva, Fidelis, Neto Lopes, Lutindo Lopes.
Goals: FC Porto – Leite 30, Vera 40.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Hinds 47, Marsh 66, 90+5, Eyoma 86; FC Porto – Bessa 63.
Red card: Spurs – Marsh 90+5.
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (Bul).
Statistics: Under 19’s: Goals: Edwards-4