Spurs under 23’s 0-1 NK Dinamo Zagreb 2: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 0-1 NK Dinamo Zagreb 2: (match report)

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Croatian side NK Dinamo Zagreb 2 stood between Spurs’ development squad, and a place in the semi-finals of this seasons Premier League International Cup. Wayne Burnett’s side took on the Croatian club at the Lamex Stadium on Tuesday evening, knowing that they would have to be at the very top of their game, to overcome Igor Jovicevic’s team. Spurs fielded a very young team for Tuesday’s match due to ongoing injury problems, and this may have cost Spurs on the night who were up against a much older and more experienced opposition. The young Lilywhites came up against a side who were content to play with ten men behind the ball for large periods of the match. The Croatian club were physical and aggressive, but it was their ultra defensive approach to Tuesday’s game which is what caught us out. Wayne Burnett’s side didn’t have any out and out centre forwards available for Tuesday’s match, and in the end they had to resort to playing central midfielder Jack Roles up top. The lack of creativity and experience in Burnett’s side meant that they struggled to break down a very stubborn Dinamo Zagreb defence. Although, we did start the cup tie relatively well it was evident from quite early on in the game that it was going to be extremely difficult to break down a side who were content at staying in their own half. After a fairly even first half which saw few clear cut chances, the second half was slightly more open. After threatening our defence Dinamo Zagreb broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute of time after the unmarked Mario Ćuže fired past Brandon Austin from inside the Tottenham penalty area, after meeting Damian Kadzior’s cross on the volley. Wayne Burnett tried to respond by sending on both Rayan Clarke and George Marsh, as Spurs started to attack the Dinamo defence more. Due to the Croatian clubs solidity at the back Spurs’ best chances came from set pieces and crosses. Harvey White, Paris Maghoma, Japhet Tanganga and Shilow Tracey all came close to finding a late equaliser, but in the end it just wasn’t to be Spurs’ day. The game ended in quite unpleasant circumstances after both Shilow Tracey and Dinamo’s captain Josip Ćalušić were shown straight red cards for a coming together in second half stoppage time. Furthermore, neither sets of players shook hands after the final whistle was blown, as the visitors all huddled together to celebrate their win. 

Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in a 4-1-2-3 formation for Tuesday evenings important cup game. Development side regular Brandon Austin started in goal, while a back four of Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, TJ Eyoma, the skipper Japhet Tanganga and Tariq Hinds started in defence. First year scholar Harvey White started the game as the midfield anchorman behind both Armando Shashoua and Paris Maghoma. While Spurs lined up with a front three of Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Jack Roles and Shilow Tracey. Spurs got the game underway at the Lamex stadium, and it was the home side who started the cup tie the brighter of the two teams. After Tashan Oakley-Boothe passed the ball to Armando Shashoua down the right flank, the central midfielder continued towards the edge of the Dinamo penalty area before attempting to slip the ball into the feet of Paris Maghoma in the centre of the box however, his pass was cut out by Dinamo defender Josip Sutalo who then cleared the ball. A couple of moments later Shilow Tracey went on a promising run down the left flank before forcing a decent save out of Dinko Horkas, from his powerful low effort. Burnett’s side had started the game with a good pace about them while the visitors had been happy to just defend and soak up all of the pressure. Harvey White delivered a decent free kick from the right flank into the danger zone, but it was cleared by Sutalo. Shortly afterwards TJ Eyoma passed the ball to Shashoua who went on a darting run through the middle of the pitch, before being stopped by Dinamo defender Josip Ćalušić on the edge of the penalty area. Tashan Oakley-Boothe had a dangerous low cross cleared by the same player a couple of minutes later before Harvey White had another free kick cleared away by the Dinamo defence. Quite out of nowhere the Croatian club almost took a surprise lead from Mario Ćuže’s free kick. After the attacking midfielder had managed to pick out the unmarked Leon Šipoš inside the Spurs box, the Dinamo Zagreb striker attacked the ball in the centre of the box. And Šipoš came desperately close to giving Dinamo the lead after he headed the ball onto Brandon Austin’s left hand post, before it went behind for a goal kick.

Dinamo’s 25 year old right back Tomislav Barišić whipped a dangerous ball across the face of Brandon Austin’s goal shortly afterwards, before the Tottenham goalkeeper managed to hold Damian Kadzior’s free kick, from long range a couple of minutes later. Spurs tried to respond, after Shilow Tracey had received Shashoua’s pass down the right wing he whipped a menacing ball into the danger zone, but one again there were no Spurs players there to meet it. Spurs captain Japhet Tanganga made an important interception at the other end of the pitch after he managed to win the ball off of Mario Ćuže inside the Spurs box. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster blocked Antonio Marin’s shot inside the box a couple of seconds later. The ever impressive TJ Eyoma did well to clear behind Jakov Gogić’s cross behind for a corner kick, before Maghoma managed to clear Antonio Marin’s cross away from the danger zone. After Tashan Oakley-Boothe had won a free kick out on the right wing, young Harvey White saw yet another of his deliveries cleared away by a Dinamo defender. After Armando Shashoua had picked the ball up down the right hand side of the oppositions penalty area, he cut inside onto his left foot before slicing an effort well over Dinko Horkas‘ crossbar. The visitors created a good chance a couple of minutes later after Leon Šipoš managed to pick out Damian Kadzior down the right hand side of the Tottenham penalty area with a clever lofted pass. He managed to get in front of Lyons-Foster, but he could only fire over Austin’s crossbar from a tight angle, before taking out his frustration on the advertising hoarding behind the goal. That brought to an end a fairly uneventful first half of football in which neither side could really take a hold of. Before the second half got underway Spurs were forced into making a substitution. TJ Eyoma who had picked up an injury during the first half was replaced by Jonathan Dinzeyi at centre back. Dinzeyi had only recently returned from an injury himself. The beginning of the second half was scrappy, as both sides tried to get back into the flow of the game.

After Japhet Tanganga had passed the ball to Shilow Tracey the winger tried to get a shot away but it was blocked by Tomislav Barišić. Antonio Marin had a powerful low effort from the edge of the Tottenham penalty area saved by the diving Brandon Austin. A couple of minutes later Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to clear a pacy cross from Tomislav Barišić with a diving header, before then clearing another cross from Barišić a couple of moments later. After managing to go around Lyons-Foster down the left side of the Spurs box Antonio Marin fired an effort at goal which Austin did well to tip behind for a corner kick. Marin’s resulting corner kick was headed narrowly wide by Josip Ćalušić. Then in the 63rd minute of time the visitors took the lead through Mario Ćuže. After Damian Kadzior had whipped the ball into the Spurs box from the left wing, Jonathan Dinzeyi attempted to clear the ball but he was unable to make significant contact with it. The ball ended up coming to Ćuže at the back post and he fired the ball past the helpless Brandon Austin on the volley, 0-1. After doing well to prevent Tariq Hinds’ long pass from going out of play, Lyons-Foster flicked the ball onto Oakley-Boothe down the right flank. The Tottenham midfielder squared the ball to Maghoma who was in space in the centre of the Dinamo penalty area. However, the 17 year old snatched at the ball and he ended up firing the ball over Dinko Horkas’ crossbar, with a first time side footed effort. Brandon Austin did well to gather Damian Kadzior’s in swinging cross. Jakov Gogić appeared to handle the ball after attempting to control Josip Ćalušić’s pass inside his own penalty area shortly afterwards, Shashoua made an appeal to the referee Will Finnie, but he didn’t take any action. Spurs made their second change of the game in the 75th minute after a seemingly injured Jack Roles was replaced by winger Rayan Clarke, as Shilow Tracey moved up top. Our right back Brooklyn Lyons-Foster was taken off shortly afterwards for George Marsh, as Burnett’s side reverted to playing three at the back. Spurs continued to try and carve their way through the stubborn Dinamo defence, but Igor Jovicevic’s side were able to maintain their discipline.

After Tottenham’s skipper Japhet Tanganga had won a free kick in a promising position, young Harvey White had a good opportunity to test Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dinko Horkas. The free kick specialist curled an excellent effort up and over the Dinamo wall, forcing Horkas into making an important save to just tip the ball over the crossbar before it headed into the top left hand corner of the net. Harvey White’s following corner kick was met by Tanganga in the middle of the box, the centre half powered a header a fraction wide of Horkas‘ goal as Spurs continued to come closer to finding an equaliser. Dinamo changed into a more defensive shape for the final stages of the game. After Damian Kadzior whipped a dangerous corner kick across the face of Brandon Austin’s goal, George Marsh managed to clear Marko Gjira’s cross away from danger. Japhet Tanganga fired an effort over Dinko Horkas’ crossbar from long range. A matter of minutes later Brandon Austin almost got himself into a spot of bother after he kicked the ball straight at Roko Baturina on the edge of the box, fortunately for Austin, Baturina couldn’t control the ball and it was eventually cleared. After going on a darting run down the left flank Marko Gjira fired the ball over Brandon Austin’s crossbar. Spurs tried to respond at the other end through Oakley-Boothe, he went on a surging run down the right flank before pumping the ball into the Dinamo penalty area where he managed to pick out Tracey. The forward connected well with the ball, but his looping header lacked a little bit of power, and it was tipped behind for a corner kick by Horkas. Then, in second half stoppage time came the main talking point of the game, the dismissal of both Shilow Tracey and Josip Ćalušić. Both players had squared up to each near the corner flag after the Dinamo man had tried to take the ball away from Tracey to waste even more time. Tracey reacted and a melee ensued, although there was a bit of pushing and shoving I didn’t think that it was enough to warrant both players dismissals. It was a frustrating end to what had been a very frustrating game for Wayne Burnett’s side. It will have been particularly frustrating for Spurs because the opposition were by no means a top quality side and they will have felt that they should have won.

Dinamo Zagreb had the big advantage of having the older and more experienced players in their side on Tuesday night and I think that, that was what the difference between the two sides was. Wayne Burnett’s young side battled hard on the night and although they will be disappointed that they couldn’t make all of their possession count, I still think that they should be proud of how they performed, as a team on the night against a very physical side. Wayne Burnett’s side will return to PL2 action on Friday evening, when they host Chelsea at the Lamex Stadium.

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: The 20 year old shot stopper made two saves on the night, but on the whole he didn’t have an awful lot to do. Austin was authoritative inside his own penalty area and he dealt well with crosses and set pieces.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The second year scholar put in a very solid performance at right back against Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday evening. Lyons-Foster protected his side of the pitch well against the Croatian club, dealing well with the threat which posed from their left winger Damian Kadzior. The 18 year old made some important clearances and interceptions, he also made sure that he stayed deep, and he was very rarely caught out of position. I thought he was one of our best players on the night.
  • TJ Eyoma: Operating at RCB TJ Eyoma only managed to play the first half of Tuesday’s game after starting the game with strapping around one of his legs. The 19 year old had a solid game at the back where he made a couple of timely interceptions. It was a a good performance from Eyoma before he went off injured at halftime. 
  • Japhet Tanganga: Like Eyoma, the Spurs captain put in a particularly solid performance at centre back. Tanganga hardly put a foot wrong against Dinamo Zagreb who he made some really important defensive contributions against. Tanganga was excellent in the air.
  • Tariq Hinds: Due to our ongoing injury problems, right back Tariq Hinds had to play on the opposite side on Tuesday. He did however, put in a good shift for Wayne Burnett’s side in that position.
  • Harvey White: My motm, see below.
  • Armando Shashoua: Along with White, Lyons-Foster and Tracey, Armando Shashoua should have been proud of how he played on Tuesday. The second year scholar started the game in the centre of the park and he had a positive effect on the game from that position. Shashoua carried the ball well in the middle of the park and he used the ball well. Our under 18’s captain fantastic impressed with his passing, movement and exceptional pressing and off the ball work. The 18 year old left nothing out on the pitch against Dinamo Zagreb, and he was quietly very creative throughout the match. Shashoua went on some clever darting runs through the middle of the park, he also managed to link up well with the forwards. This was only Armando’s first ever competitive start at this level.
  • Paris Maghoma: The 17 year old midfielder did his very best to try and impact Tuesday’s cup tie however, difficult the Dinamo players made life for him. Maghoma made many intelligent runs into the danger zone and he always made himself available to receive the ball. However, the England under 18 international did struggle at times to get into the game.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Once again the 19 year old played out on the right wing for Wayne Burnett’s side. Oakley-Boothe had a particularly strong second half and he went on some good surging runs down the right flank, often getting the better of Dinamo left back Jakov Gogić for pace and skill. 
  • Jack Roles: Unfortunately Roles was unable to make much of an influence on the game, on his 20th birthday. Roles often found himself quite isolated up top during his 75 minutes on the pitch.
  • Shilow Tracey: The 20 year old started the match out on the left wing although he would later go onto play up top after Jack Roles was substituted. Tracey got up and down the left flank well and he went on some good attacking forays. Furthermore, he put in a good shift up top during the latter stages of the game, where he came close to finding a late equaliser for Spurs.
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: The 19 year old centre half came on at halftime to make his first appearance since September. I personally thought that Dinzeyi did a good job after coming on and I was impressed with how he brought the ball out from the back.
  • Rayan Clarke: He worked hard down the left wing during his late cameo.
  • George Marsh: The 19 year old got stuck in during his time on the pitch.

My man of the match: First year scholar Harvey White was my man of the match on Tuesday night, for his sterling performance as a midfield anchorman. White put in a very mature performance for Wayne Burnett’s side on only his second competitive appearance at this level. The first year scholar (17) was combative and tidy in the middle of the park. He was strong on the ball and he moved it around well, recycling possession and making some clever passes to the attacking players out on the flanks. The Maidstone born midfielder became one of our most important creative outlets during the second half and his teammates would often try to pass the ball to him in the middle of the park. White came desperately close to scoring from a free kick late on in the game, he also whipped some menacing balls into the danger zone. This was a very intelligent performance from a very intelligent young man, who looked right at home playing for our under 23’s. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him start against Chelsea on Saturday. His performance was very Skipp-esque!

Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Lyons-Foster (Marsh 76), White, Tanganga (c), Eyoma (Dinzeyi 46), Oakley-Boothe, A Shashoua, Roles (Clarke 75), Maghoma, Tracey. Substitutes (not used): Glover, Duncan.

Dinamo Zagreb: Horkas, Barisic, Gogic (c), Franjic, Calusic, Sutalo, Marin (Jovicevic 90+3), Gjira, Sipos (Baturina 73), Cuze, Kadzior (Cuic 84). Substitutes (not used): Juric, Maloku, Tolic, Fintic.

Goal: Dinamo Zagreb – Cuze 63.

Yellow cards: Dinamo Zagreb – Gjira 45+1, Cuze 60.

Red cards: Spurs – Tracey 90+2; Dinamo Zagreb – Calusic 90+2.

Referee: Will Finnie.

Venue: Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.

Attendance: 438.

Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Jack Roles – 8

Shayon Harrison – 5

Kazaiah Sterling – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Jaden Brown – 2

Vincent Janssen – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Harvey White – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 6

Kazaiah Sterling – 3

Vincent Janssen – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Troy Parrott – 1

Shayon Harrison – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Jamie Bowden – 1

George Marsh – 1

Tariq Hinds – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1

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