Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Lleida:
Spurs youngster Samuel had a day he will never forget on Sunday evening after he helped Atlético Baleares to clinch the Spanish División B – Grupo III title with a 2-1 home win over Lleida, at the Son Malferit. Shashoua had a truly wonderful game in the evening sun as he helped to inspire Atlético to overcome a Lleida side who were fighting for a play off place. The pressure of the occasion didn’t get to Samuel and his teammates as they outplayed Lleida for large periods of the game, thanks mainly to the impact that Samuel and Atlético’s centre forward Nuha Marong had on the game. With his clever jinking runs, hard work and all round intelligent play, Samuel had one of his very best games of the 2018/19 season. Shashoua started the game out on the left wing as Atlético lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The 19 year olds first involvement in the game occurred around the five minute mark, after he peeled away from a Lleida defender and looked to run onto Marcos De la Espada’s lofted pass inside the oppositions penalty area. However, Lleida goalkeeper Pau Torres managed to gather the ball in time, before Samuel could latch onto it. There was very little focus on the left flank during the opening stages of the game and this meant that Samuel found it extremely difficult to make an impression on the game considering that he had such few touches. Around the 15 minute mark Shashoua switched flanks with Canario. The Lleida goalkeeper Pau Torres punched away a good cross which Samuel whipped into the box from the left wing, before the ball was eventually cleared away by a defender. It is worth noting that Shashoua was tracking back well after him during the opening stages of the first half, and he was looking sharp. Atlético’s top scorer this season Nuha Marong gave the home side the lead in the 35th minute of time after he beat Pau Torres with a clever lobbed finish on the edge of the Lleida penalty area. Then a couple of minutes later The Gambia international doubled the ` Balearicos ’ advantage after he was set up by Samuel. After Francesc Fullana played his corner kick short to Shashoua, the Spurs man intelligently dummied Lleida defender Dalmau as he came inside onto his left foot before picking out Nuha at the back post with a clever chipped cross which the centre forward headed down into the turf before it bounced up over Pau Torres, and into the back of the goal. It was a really clever piece of play from Shashoua who actually turns 20 tomorrow!
Unfortunately Juanto Ortuño managed to pull a goal back for Lleida in the 38th minute of the game however, it didn’t stop Atlético from finishing the half strongly. After powering forward down the left flank Shashoua whipped a menacing ball across the face of the Lleida goal in what turned out to be his final involvement of the first half. Shashoua started the second half back out on the left wing and it was during this half that the Spurs man really started to up his game and try different things with the ball. After winning the ball down the left flank Samuel dribbled away from Cano before darting forward with the ball glued to his feet. Shashoua then skipped past Dalmau before clipping the ball into the oppositions penalty area, but it was cleared away by Iván. Samuel had started the second half really well and he continued to cause the startled Lleida defence problems. After receiving a pass from Canario down the left hand side of the Lleida penalty area, Samuel cut inside onto his right foot before wildly whipping the ball over Pau Torres’ crossbar, this resulted in Samuel shaking his head in disapproval. After latching onto Peris’ throw in a couple of moments later Shashoua drifted inside from the left wing before forcing a decent save out of Pau Torres from his curling effort on the edge of the Lleida penalty area. A couple of minutes later the sharp 19 year old raced down the opposite end of the left flank to help close down Lleida’s Dalmau to prevent him from crossing the ball into the Atlético penalty area, this was yet another selfless piece of defending from Samuel. There was a commotion after Lleida midfielder Trilles was sent off for elbowing Nuha in the face however, instead of getting involved in the resulting scuffle Shashoua calmly went over to the dug out to get a drink of water. Another darting run from Samuel down the left flank resulted in the 19 year old skipping past the helpless Dalmau before driving forward and doing well to hold off Albístegui. He then cut inside before attempting to pick out Canario on the opposite flank however, his pass was cut out by a Lleida defender. Shashoua continued to impress down that left flank as the half went on. After receiving Peris’ ball down the left flank the nimble footed winger danced his way around Lleida’s Iván who was rooted to the spot. He then sprinted into the Lleida box before holding up the ball and seeing his attempted cross blocked behind for a corner by Dalmau. Samuel was replaced by Álvaro Vega in the 90th minute of the game as Manix Mandiola’s side looked to hold onto the win.
This was a truly excellent performance from Shashoua who had an outstanding game all round out on the left flank. By far the most fouled player on the pitch, the tricky youngster dazzled particularly during the second half of the game with his fancy foot work, darting runs and strength. Chipping in with another fine assist, it was a very productive day for Samuel who tracked back impeccably well after him to help out the Atlético defence. Some of the 19 year olds attacking forays down the left flank were sensational this evening. And it is his ever improving dribbling ability, pace and decision making in the final third which fills me with hope that he will get a chance to show off his qualities to Mauricio Pochettino for the first team in pre-season. I would like to congratulate Atlético’s player of the season on helping the Balearic club win the Spanish División B – Grupo III title, and on putting in another match winning performance.
Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares 2018/19: