Spurs under 21’s 0-0 OGC Nice (Spurs win 3-2 on penalties): (match report)
Wayne Burnett’s development side played French club Nice in their second group game on day one of the Tournoi Europeen on Friday afternoon. After taking two points from PSG earlier in the day in an exciting end to end game of football. Our encounter with Nice was the complete opposite of that fluent game, whilst Burnett’s side played well against the French club they struggled to break them down. Nice played like Stoke City for the majority of the game they were extremely negative and were keen to hoof the ball 40 yards up the pitch whilst resorting to fouling and sandwiching our more intricate players. Burnett made a couple of tactical changes for our second game of the day, young centre halve Maxwell Statham came in for the injured Lyons-Foster. Whilst Samuel Shashoua and Jack Roles got their first starts of the tournament, Spurs lined up in the same 4-3-2-1 formation with Shayon Harrison leading the line. Spurs got the game underway as the rain started to fall down in Ploufragan, but it was Nice who were to have the first attempt on goal of the game. Thomas Valtriani testing De Bie with an early effort from range, the Belgian comfortably gathered his effort. Nice had started the game well and only a couple of moments later Paul Wade saw his free kick go wide of the Spurs goal. Tottenham skipper Connor Ogilvie was forced into making an important sliding challenge to prevent Alexandre Gameiro from entering the penalty area. Jonathan Dinzeyi then made an important block Gameiro’s shot on goal as Spurs struggled to contain the French side. Moustakim Assoumani headed wide of De Bie’s goal from the resulting corner kick as strange fake clapping sounds could be heard blasting out of the speakerphones behind from where I was standing!
Eventually Spurs managed to find their feet and Samuel Shashoua almost created the opener after some good aggressive pressing. Shashoua’s pressing had forced Remy Mestrallet into making an error out on the left flank, Shashoua won the ball off of him before darting into the penalty area. Shashoua jinked past a Nice defender before scooping the ball up to Harrison who was waiting in the centre of the box with his back to goal. The strikers acrobatic volley flew narrowly over Vicenzo Bezzina’s crossbar. Spurs had started to come into the game and only a couple of minutes later we almost took the lead after executing a clever passing move. Of which started at the feet of Bowden who passed the ball to Edwards who then quickly released it to the unmarked Shashoua out on the left side of the penalty area. However, the advancing forward was quickly closed down by the outrushing Bezzina who was there to make the save. Both sides were pushing for an opener as the rain came gushing down, after a quite spell Jonathan De Bie was called into action once again. This time the Belgian got a strong hand to the ball to prevent Valtriani’s long range thunderbolt from going into the Spurs goal. At the other end of the pitch Connor Ogilvie whipped another teasing cross into the danger zone, this time towards the head of Shayon Harrison. As the centre forward went to attack the ball Bezzina came rushing out to try and punch it clear. However, he ended up giving Harrison a painful looking whack to the head instead. It was turning out to be a really frantic end to end game, some panic in the Spurs box could have gifted an opening as Jonathan Dinzeyi made an important challenge. The ball came back out to Gameiro who fired the ball narrowly over De Bie’s goal, the Frenchman should have found the back of the net from such close range.
The impressive Maxwell Statham did well to make two excellent blocks to thwart Eddy Sylvestre’s shots on the edge of half time as both sides went into the interval with all still to play for. Nice got the game back underway as Wayne Burnett’s young men tried to break down their French counterparts. Such was the tenacity of the Nice defenders Spurs were struggling to create chances for Harrison to follow through on. We did however come close to breaking the deadlock after Edwards caught Nice on the break. The teenager sprinted forwards down the right before cutting inside and passing the ball to Harrison inside the box, the striker ended up firing the ball inches over the crossbar. Nice responded with Hamach lashing the ball over from range as the game continued to lack any real sort of quality, Spurs were beginning to become incredibly frustrated at their lack of chances. In an attempt to change Spurs’ fortunes Burnett decided to make a double substitution, bringing on Parrott and Markanday in place of Harrison and Tracey. Meanwhile Valtriani was resorting to desperate measures to try and beat the impressive De Bie, his attempt from 50 yards out from goal was audacious to say the least. It did however, fly well wide of the Tottenham goal. Nice were continuing to bombard the Tottenham defence after Jonathan Dinzeyi gave away a free kick on the edge of the penalty area for an alleged handball, Hicham Mahou wasted what was a good goalscoring opportunity for the French side as he smashed the ball into orbit from the resulting free kick. Burnett threw one last role of the dice when he decided to introduce Shilow Tracey to the game towards the latter stages.
Electric in our last game against PSG Marcus Edwards seemed extremely leggy during our encounter with Nice and he struggled to influence the game, Spurs were lacking that spark to their game as both sides went in search of a winner. Hamachi struck a venomous effort at goal which was well saved by De Bie whilst the referee didn’t take too kindly to Parrott’s high pressing at the other end. On this occasion the Irishman would receive a yellow card for a crunching sliding challenge on Nice goalkeeper Vicenzo Bezzina. Meanwhile a late flurry of chances at the other end forced De Bie into action on more than one occasion. The first important save from the Belgian came after he managed to keep out Assoumani’s deflected header from a resulting free kick. The 18 year old then managed to make another fine stop to thwart Valtriani’s powerful effort from long range. And he wasn’t done there as Nice continued to pester the young lilywhites as Hamach’s effort deflected off of Statham, and into the feet of Guessand inside the Tottenham penalty area. The newly introduced forward spun around before forcing De Bie into making a terrific low save to his left as Spurs managed to take the game to yet another penalty shootout. Maxime Pelican stepped up first for the eaglets but ended up firing his penalty well wide of the right post. Edwards then stepped up to give Spurs the lead as he calmly tucked the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. Nice responded by netting their next spot kick whilst Jack Roles reestablished Spurs’ lead with a calm finish to the goalkeepers right. Hamach made it 2-2 when he smashed the ball down the middle of the goal, meaning that young Troy Parrott had the chance to win it for Spurs. Nothing seemed to faze the 16 year old as he stepped up confidently to slot the ball into the bottom right hand corner to send Spurs top of Group A on four points, ahead of their final group game with Stade Rennais on Saturday.
Player reviews: – Jonathan De Bie: Easily one of Tottenham’s best players during our encounter with Nice. De Bie made at least a dozen fine stops, he was attentive and decisive. He read set pieces and corner kicks well whilst barking instructions at his defenders at the same time. It was that late flurry of attacks from Nice which could so easily have won them the game but for a trio of fine saves in close succession from the 18 year old.
– Tariq Hinds: Another impressive showing from the young right back, Hinds read the game incredibly well and managed to keep Mahou at bay out on the left wing. He is such an intelligent defender.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: It was a good solid performance from the centre halve against Nice. Dinzeyi marshalled the backline well and won many important aerial duels and made some equally important blocks/challenges and helped Spurs to achieve that clean sheet.
– Maxwell Statham: My motm, see below.
– Connor Ogilvie: A leader of men. Ogilvie was excellent once again with his powerful surging runs down the left wing, his ability to effortlessly get back into position and make those crucial defensive contributions, once again he was different class. Although Nice did manage to neutralise him from an attacking perspective in the second half he was still just as effective and just as good a leader too !
– Paris Maghoma: It was a good strong performance from the 17 year old in the middle of the park. He imposed himself well on the game and carried the ball well, combining his time getting stuck in with making promising runs towards the six yard box.
– Jack Roles: Kept things ticking and worked tirelessly to ensure that we were superior to Nice in the centre of the park.
– Jamie Bowden: Cool and calm on the ball and just as effective without it Bowden once again slotted in effortlessly to the central midfield, breaking up play and initiating moves throughout.
– Samuel Shashoua: Shashoua looked nice and sharp when he came up against the eaglets on Friday afternoon. Created some nice openings down the left wing whilst also getting himself in good goalscoring positions. He was unlucky not to find the back of the net.
– Marcus Edwards: His electric performance against PSG earlier in the day seemed to take its toll on his performance against Nice. He looked quite leggy and didn’t have that explosiveness about his game. Don’t get me wrong he still had a good game but he just wasn’t as effective and tended to drift out of it for large periods.
– Shayon Harrison: Despite not getting on the scoresheet I thought Harrison had a really productive game against Nice. With his silky skills and clever movement off the shoulders of defenders he worked some nice openings and had a few decent attempts at goal.
– Shilow Tracey: Didn’t really impact the game during his short cameo.
– Troy Parrott: Hardworking and crafty throughout his time on the pitch Parrott looked sharp and hungry to get in between the Nice defenders despite a lack of service. He was promising nonetheless.
– Dilan Markanday: Went on some nice attacking forays during his short time on the pitch.
My man of the match: Maxwell Statham. It was a really mature performance from the 17 year old centre halve against Nice. He was decisive and confident in his defending, he was dominant in the air and strong in the tackle. I thought he had an excellent game Nice I was impressed with how he read the game and how he kept such good positioning throughout. Statham also made a whole host of important blocks and sliding challenges, he throws his body on the line for his team. He reminds me a lot of how Christian Maghoma was at the same age.