Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Alcoyano:
Spurs youngster Samuel Shashoua made his 18th competitive appearance of the season for his parent club Atlético Baleares on Sunday morning, in their league game against Alcoyano in the Spanish Segunda Division B group III. Shashoua played the full match as Atlético drew 0-0 to Alcoyano on the Spanish mainland. It was, to be truthful not one of the most exhilarating games of football that I have ever watched, in fact it was quite a dour game for large periods. Alcoyano were well organised and they made it difficult for Samuel to create openings down the flanks although he did try his very best to break down the Alcoyano defence, and he came desperately close to scoring a late winner for Manix Mandiola’s side. The Balearic club wore their bright yellow away strip for Sunday’s match on a sunny morning in Valencia. After a fairly uneventful opening ten minutes which resulted in few touches of the ball for young Samuel, the Spurs loanees first involvement in the game came around the 15 minute mark. After the 19 year old attempted to play a clever lofted pass to Hugo Díaz inside the Alcoyano penalty however, their goalkeeper Bañuz was alert and he came out to claim the ball before Díaz could get to it. Although it appeared that Samuel had started the game as a number ten he was in fact operating as a left winger. Samuel teed off Díaz on the edge of the Alcoyano penalty shortly afterwards but the midfielders effort was blocked by an Alcoyano defender. Samuel was struggling to get involved in the game as the home side tried to prevent him from enjoying any sort of freedom down the left channel. After receiving the ball from Hugo Díaz down the left wing Samuel cut inside onto his right foot before quickly slipping the ball into the feet of Fullana on the edge of the Alcoyano penalty area but the Atletico captain curled an effort wide of goal courtesy of a deflection off an Alcoyano defender. A couple of minutes later Samuel had his first shot on goal of the game. It came from a Francesc Fullana’s corner kick which was headed towards Samuel on the edge of the penalty area by an Alcoyano player. The teenager set himself up well before volleying the ball narrowly over the Alcoyano crossbar. Samuel struck the ball so sweetly and he showed great technique to be able to strike the ball so cleanly and with such venom.
There continued to be very little to separate the two sides as the first half came to an end however, Samuel was involved in one more attacking move for the away side. After receiving the ball down the left flank Samuel cut inside onto his right foot before knocking the ball past Primi and then darting into the Alcoyano penalty area before being cut out by Tomás Ruso who slid in to win the ball off of him. Atlético came close to taking the lead shortly after the restart through Hugo Díaz who was only denied by a magnificent reflex save from Bañuz. A couple of minutes later Samuel went on a good run through the middle of the pitch before shifting ball out to Nuha down the left wing. The centre forward then passed the ball to Díaz inside the Alcoyano penalty area but he ended up snatching at the ball and firing wide. Samuel was becoming visibly frustrated down the left flank as the game started to slow down. After picking the ball up down the left channel Shashoua cut inside onto his right foot before forcing a decent save out of Bañuz from his powerful low effort on the edge of the penalty area. There were very few clear cut chances during the remainder of the game apart from one right at the very end which Samuel couldn’t convert. A good late move resulted in Fullana giving the ball to Samuel who surged forward through the middle before passing the ball to Nuha down the right as Atlético broke forward. Nuha unselfishly passed the ball back to Shashoua who had a made run down the left side of the Alcoyano box. With the goal gaping at his mercy Shashoua had only Bañuz to beat to net a dramatic later winner for Atlético. However, just as Samuel was about to shoot, the ball cruelly bobbled up and his lofted effort over Bañuz ended up grazing the crossbar before narrowly going over. Neither Samuel nor Nuha could believe that it hadn’t been a goal. It was such a shame for Samuel who was so, so unlucky with his late chance. In the end both sides had to settle for a 0-0 draw but even though the well organised Alcoyano defence frustrated Samuel at times throughout the match, the Spurs loanee gave another positive account of himself in a game which lacked that bit of creativity and sparkle which he tried so hard to provide.
He put some nice corners into the penalty area and he worked so hard to time his runs to perfection down the left flank. While at times unlucky due to the tenacity of the Alcoyano back line, Samuel worked tirelessly at both ends of the pitch and he tracked back well after him. He also initiated some nice little attacks for Atlético and he came the closest of any of their players to finding a winner. It was a performance that young Samuel can and should be proud of. Up next for Samuel’s parent club is a home game against Ejea next Sunday in the league, as Manix Mandiola’s look to get back to winning ways. I am hoping to watch that game.
Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares this season: