Spurs under 19’s 0-2 FC Porto: (match report)

Spurs under 19’s 0-2 FC Porto: (match report)

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Spurs‘ European odyssey came to an end on Wednesday afternoon after they were knocked out of this seasons UEFA Youth league by Portuguese club FC Porto, in the last 16 round of the competition. It was the second consecutive season that John McDermott’s side had been eliminated from the competition by the ‘ Dragōes ‘ after they defeated us 2-0 in the quarter finals of last seasons competition. Our under 19’s were missing a number of important players for Wednesday’s big match and they didn’t have a recognised centre forward available for the game. Porto were the better team on the day, at the Centro de Treinos e Formação Desportiva – Vila Nova de Gaīa. The home side managed the game better than us on the day, they were more physical and they were also more dangerous in the final third. Although Spurs put a lot of effort into the game they just lacked the focal point of somebody like Troy Parrott up top, he and Jack Roles were missed greatly by McDermott’s side. After a good start to the first half from the home side, Spurs grew into the game as the half went on and they managed to play some decent football. Porto may have had a goal harshly ruled out for offside early on in the game however, Spurs had a glorious chance to take the lead on the stroke of halftime through J’Neil Bennett. The 17 year old was only denied by a super save from Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa. Porto were the better side during the second period, and two goals in quick succession essentially ended Spurs’ hopes of making the quarter finals. Their first goal was scored by Angel Torres in the 52nd minute of time. Spurs were unable to respond and after TJ Eyoma was robbed of possession on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area, Porto doubled their advantage through Romário Baró less than five minutes later. The remainder of the game was controlled relatively comfortably by the home side with Spurs unable to respond. Our under 19’s have given a really good account of themselves in the competition this season and they should be proud of how well they performed to get out of what was a very tough group, to even get to this stage of the competition.

John McDermott’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against the Portuguese club, with Spurs captain Brandon Austin starting in goal. A back four consisting of Tariq Hinds, TJ Eyoma, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Harvey White partnered up with Oliver Skipp who made a surprising start in central midfield, while Paris Maghoma and J’Neil Bennett operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Dylan Duncan who was making his first appearance in the competition this season. Tricky winger Dilan Markanday led the line for Spurs. The young Lilywhites got the game underway, on a warm afternoon in Northern Portugal. It was the home side who started the game the better of the two teams. After receiving Tomás Esteves‘ pass on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, Romário Baró hurriedly blazed an effort wide of Brandon Austin’s goal. Porto were seeing more of the ball during the opening stages of the game. After Baró had received Tomás Esteves‘ lofted pass inside the Spurs box, the Porto forward attempted to get a shot away on goal, but his effort was blocked by TJ Eyoma who had done well to close him down. Mário Fernando Magalhães Silva’s side thought that they had taken the lead a couple of moments later after Fábio Silva had put the ball into the back of Brandon Austin’s goal, after volleying home Vieira’s brilliant cross at the Tottenham goalkeepers back post. Silva had been in an onside position however, the linesman on the far side had harshly ruled his goal out for him being offside, much to Spurs’ good fortune. John McDermott’s side started to grow into the game more as the half went on. A good passing move resulted in Bennett passing the ball to White, he shifted the ball out to Cirkin on the left wing. The Spurs fullback then pumped the ball into the Porto penalty area where he managed to pick out Paris Maghoma at the back post. However, the 17 year old missed most of the ball and it ended up getting away from him. At the other end of the pitch, Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin was on hand to gather Diogo Queirós’ low cross.

After receiving Tariq Hinds’ pass out on the right wing, Paris Maghoma whipped a menacing ball into the Porto penalty area which was headed away from danger by Diogo Leite. Shortly afterwards Maghoma conceded a free kick in a dangerous position out on the left wing after committing a foul on Tiago Lopes. However, the attentive Harvey White was on hand to clear João Mário’s resulting free kick. Dylan Duncan attempted to play J’Neil Bennett through on goal with a clever pass but it was cut out in time, by Porto defender Diogo Leite.  A couple of minutes later Bennett received a pass from Harvey White out on the left flank, the tricky winger came inside before entering the Porto box and curling an effort over Diogo Costa’s crossbar. Vieira went on a surging run through the middle of the pitch before blazing over Brandon Austin’s goal at the other end, before Porto striker Fábio Silva came close to giving the home side the lead. Vieira’s pass eventually found its way to the Porto centre forward inside the Tottenham penalty area. Silva had his back to goal when he received the ball but he quickly spun around and fired a powerful low effort narrowly wide of Austin’s right hand post. The game was becoming more and more even as the half progressed. Paris Maghoma had a hopeful cross plucked out of the air by Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa before Maghoma had what he thought was a great chance to put Spurs ahead. After Harvey White passed the ball to J’Neil Bennett on the left wing, he managed to pick out Maghoma in the centre of the Porto box with a clever lofted pass. The Tottenham midfielder found himself in space but he was unable to generate the power needed to beat Costa and the Porto goalkeeper was able to keep out his header, which was directed straight at him. Thankfully for Maghoma the linesman on the near side had raised his flag for offside. TJ Eyoma was shown a yellow card shortly afterwards after he was seen to have caught Fábio Silva with a flailing arm in an off the ball incident. Eyoma wasn’t helped by the fact that Silva had gone to the floor so theatrically.

John McDermott’s side had a fantastic opportunity to take the lead right on the stroke of halftime through the lively J’Neil Bennett. A good move resulted in Hinds passing the ball to Markanday on the edge of the Porto penalty area. The skilful playmaker sorted his feet out before threading a nice pass through to J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the box. Bennett attempted to beat Diogo Costa with a powerful low effort which was intended for the bottom right hand corner of the goal. The wingers venomous effort was well saved by Costa who managed to turn the ball behind for a corner kick with his outstretching left leg. Bennett couldn’t believe that the Porto goalkeeper had managed to keep out his effort. That was to be the final piece of action from the first half. Porto got the second half underway and they started it with a good energy about them. After Baró passed the ball to Silva the 16 year old centre forward darted down the left hand side of the Spurs box before attempting to fire the ball across the face of Austin’s goal. Silva’s shot/cross was blocked by Lyons-Foster who had closed him down well. A couple of minutes later Harvey White came close to scoring from a corner kick. The 17 year olds curling delivery into the danger zone almost ended up bending into the far corner of Diogo Costa’s goal, but for the smart reactions of the goalkeeper to tap the ball over his crossbar, at the decisive moment. White’s resulting corner kick ended up coming to Bennett inside the danger zone, he had an effort blocked by Tiago Lopes before the ball came out to Hinds on the edge of the penalty area. The right backs low, first time drive ended up deflecting off of Lopes before going behind for a corner. Spurs continued to test the Porto defence and a couple of minutes later Brooklyn Lyons-Foster rose inside the Porto box to nod a cross from Tariq Hinds wide of Costa’s goal. After João Mário had been given the ball by Angel Torres, Mário went on a marauding run through the middle of the pitch, powering past both Eyoma and Hinds before testing Austin with a powerful low effort from the edge of the box. Austin got down well to make a smart stop and to hold Mário’s effort.

The Tottenham goalkeeper could have done nothing to prevent Angel Torres strike a couple of minutes later. The Portuguese side took the lead in the 52nd minute, after Vieira had passed the ball out to Torres on the right flank the young Colombian continued forward into the Spurs box. It was there that Torres shifted the ball onto his left foot before curling the ball around Spurs centre half Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and into the far left hand corner of the outstretched Brandon Austin’s goal, 0-1. McDermott’s side attempted to respond, shortly after the restart Tariq Hinds did well to win a free kick in a promising position out on the right flank. However, Harvey White’s resulting delivery was cleared away from danger by Lopes. Spurs were dealt a big blow in the 57th minute after Romário Baró doubled the ‘ Dragōes ‘ advantage. A lofted pass from Diogo Queirós was initially cut out well by Eyoma however, the young defender was robbed of the ball by Tomás Esteves who quickly passed the ball to Silva. The Porto centre forward sprinted into the Spurs box before squaring the ball to Romário Baró who tapped the ball past the helpless Brandon Austin and into the back of the net, 0-2. Unlike last seasons match the Porto players still looked to attack the Spurs defence rather than sit back, after scoring their second goal of the game. After the dangerous Fábio Silva had latched onto Vieira’s pass on the edge of the Spurs box he tried to beat Austin by firing an effort at goal, which stung the palms of the Tottenham goalkeeper. Spurs struggled to break down the home sides rock solid defence. A decent cross from Dilan Markanday came close to picking out Bennett in a dangerous position inside the Porto box, but it was cleared in the nick of time by Leite before Bennett could get to it. J’Neil Bennett had been one of Spurs’ most threatening attacking players throughout the second period and he wasn’t afraid to try his luck on goal. After Oliver Skipp passed the ball to the first year scholar on the edge of the Porto box, Bennett cut inside onto his right foot before curling an effort on goal. However, it was deflected behind for a corner kick by Tomás Esteves.

Spurs made there first substitution of the game after they brought on Tashan Oakley-Boothe for Dilan Markanday in the 65th minute. TJ Eyoma managed to block Vieira’s shot behind for a corner kick before Brandon Austin was called into action once again, this time to deny Fábio Silva after he advanced down the right hand side of the Spurs box after latching onto Vieira’s pass. Silva managed to cut inside Lyons-Foster before curling a low effort towards the bottom left hand corner of Austin’s goal. The England under 20 international did well to hold it and to make the save. Porto went on another good attack, after Esteves had given the ball to Silva he slipped it into Torres down the right hand side of the Spurs box. However, the wingers cut back was cleared by Harvey White. Tashan Oakley-Boothe whipped a menacing ball across the face of the Porto goal at the opposite end of the pitch. Dylan Duncan then had a hopeful effort on goal blocked by Lopes, Duncan was brought off shortly afterwards for Armando Shashoua. The game had started to slip away from Spurs and the opposition were showing no signs of vulnerability within their back four. After Torres had managed to find Silva down the right side of the Spurs box, the 16 year old managed to get past Eyoma but Dennis Cirkin was on hand to cut out Silva’s resulting cross before Lyons-Foster managed to head Romário Baró’s cross clear. The potent Vieira then fired an effort wide of the Spurs goal after having a shot from edge of the penalty area. McDermott replaced J’Neil Bennett with Rayan Clarke in one last desperate attempt to try and change the game in Spurs’ favour. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster met a late cross from Tariq Hinds inside the Porto penalty however, he ended up volleying the ball over Diogo Costa’s crossbar. Porto then broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch, but the move ended after Fábio Silva had an effort on goal blocked by Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. The referee sounded the full time whistle a couple of moments later, the majority of the Spurs players collapsed to the floor, they had been overcome by disappointment. 

It must be said that there was absolutely no shame in losing to a team such as Porto. They are an absolutely top quality side who have some extremely talented young players, and I for one think that every single one of John McDermott’s players should be proud of their efforts on Wednesday afternoon. 

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: My motm, see below.
  • Tariq Hinds: The right back put in a sterling shift for John McDermott’s side against Porto. The 18 year old put in a fantastic defensive performance and he protected his side of the pitch really well, against Porto winger João Mário. Hinds got up and down the right wing well and defensively speaking I thought that he was flawless. The fullback was aggressive but disciplined, he made many important interceptions and blocks. Hinds also went on some good attacking forays and he whipped some nice crosses into the danger zone. It’s also worth noting that he was very good on the ball, and he impressed me with his dribbling.
  • TJ Eyoma: On the whole it was a solid performance from Eyoma who operated at RCB in a back four on Wednesday afternoon. Apart from his mistake which led to Porto’s second goal I thought that the England under 19 international had a good game. He read the game well and he also managed to cut out some dangerous Porto attacks. 
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Eyoma’s partner at centre back put in another solid performance for our under 19’s. Lyons-Foster made many blocks, interceptions and clearances and the 18 year old also posed a threat offensively, from set pieces.
  • Dennis Cirkin: The 16 year old put in another strong performance at left back particularly during the first half, where I thought he had an outstanding game. Cirkin read the game really well and he anticipated danger to effect, dealing well with the threat which Porto winger Angel Torres posed. It is worth noting that Cirkin picked up quite a heavy knock just before the end of the first half.
  • Harvey White: The 17 year old put in another tidy performance in central midfield, this time alongside Oliver Skipp. White was neat and tidy in possession and he made a number of important challenges and interceptions.
  • Oliver Skipp: Although it was slightly surprising to see Oliver feature for our under 19’s on Wednesday, it was great to see him play in such an important game. I thought that Skipp broke up play well and his presence in the midfield really helped us on the day. The 18 year old performed his duties as a midfield destroyer diligently, and to great effect.
  • Paris Maghoma: Despite his best efforts the 17 year old found it difficult to influence the game out on the right wing, as he was effectively playing out of position.
  • Dylan Duncan: The 20 year old operated as a CAM on his first appearance in the UEFA Youth League this season. Duncan was energetic and he impressed me with his passing and his movement.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The 17 year old put in another positive performance out on the left wing where he constantly tried to test Porto’s right back Tomás Esteves. Bennett looked to cut inside onto his right foot and test the Porto goalkeeper throughout the game, and it was good to see him so eager to try and make things happen. Bennett came so close to giving Spurs the lead on the stroke of halftime.
  • Dilan Markanday: I thought that the second year scholar did as well as he could do in the unnatural position of CF against Porto. Markanday was good on the ball and although life was made difficult for him by the two big centre halves, I thought that he still managed to put in a good shift. The silky winger created J’Neil Bennett’s glorious chance on the stroke of halftime, and he worked hard throughout his time on the pitch.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The second half substitute went on some purposeful runs down the channels during his time on the pitch. He also whipped some decent crosses into the box. 
  • Armando Shashoua: The midfielder was energetic and positive during his short cameo appearance.
  • Rayan Clarke: N/A.

My man of the match: This was a difficult choice to make because of the quality performance that Tariq Hinds put in at right back, but I’m going to give my man of the match award to our goalkeeper Brandon Austin, on what was his last ever appearance for our under 19’s in the competition. Austin made three impressive saves against Porto and he impressed me with his handling. The 20 year old goalkeeper dealt effectively with crosses and set pieces, and he also showed good leadership as our captain. However, it was the talented shot stoppers excellent distribution which impressed me the most on the night. After having a bit of trouble with his kicking against PAOK in the last round, it was great to see Austin look so composed under pressure with the ball at his feet, and he looked very comfortable with his overall distribution. The goalkeeper has played all eight of our UEFA Youth League games this season, and he has put in some fantastic performances in the competition since our first group game against Inter Milan back in September.

FC Porto: Costa, Esteves, Quieros (c), Leite, Lopes, Ndiaye, Torres (Borges 90+1), Vieira, Silva (Fomakwang 90+1), Baro (Ferreira 82), Mario (Sousa 74). Substitutes (not used): Meixedo, Matos, Justiniano.

Spurs: Austin (c), Hinds, Cirkin, Skipp, Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Maghoma, White, Markanday (Oakley-Boothe 65), Duncan (A Shashoua 75), Bennett (Clarke 85). Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Dinzeyi, Okedina, Binks.

Goals: Porto – Torres 52, Baro 57.

Yellow cards: Porto – Silva 61, Ndiaye 85; Spurs – Eyoma 40.

Referee: Halil Umut Meler (TUR).

Venue: Estádio Luís Filipe Menezes, Porto.

Spurs under 19’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 3

Jack Roles – 2

Rodel Richards – 2

Paris Maghoma – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 1

Assists: Jamie Bowden – 3

Troy Parrott – 2

Jack Roles – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Paris Maghoma – 1

Harvey White – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 3

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