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Kaizer Chiefs v Spurs - 21.07.07

VODACOM TOURNAMENT CHALLENGE TROPHY
(Absa Stadium, Durban)
SATURDAY 21ST JULY, 2007
KAIZER CHIEFS 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1)

Kaizer Chiefs scorer:-
Bartlett, 50

Spurs scorers:-
Keane, 40
Berbatov, 61

Referee: - Mr. W. Mpanisi (Zimbabwe)

Attendance: - Est. 40,000?

Teams:-
Kaizer Chiefs (4-4-2):- Baron; Tau, Nzama (Capt.), Mayo, Bhasera; Zwane (sub Phala (72), Spencer (sub Nengomasha, 61), Mooki, Ngobese (sub Tshabalas, 71); Khanyeza, Bartlett (sub Djiehova, 76)

Subs not used: - Bocskor; Sibeka, Mototo, Bulu

Booked: - Zwane (foul)

Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Rocha, Dawson, Kaboul (sub Gardner, 3), Ifil (sub Daniels, 77); Routledge (sub bent, 56), Jenas, Zokora, Malbranque; Berbatov (sub Taarabt, 82), Keane (Capt.)

Subs not used: - Cerny; Maghoma, OíHara

Booked: - Keane (Dissent)

Spurs pulled through their toughest pre-season friendly yet, against a Kaizer Chiefs team that played some uncompromising football, whereas there were several players on the Spurs side having their first taste of the game this season, who preferred to try and avoid tackles, and more importantly injury. Sadly, Younes Kaboul suffered a kick in the face, delivered by former Charlton striker Shaun Bartlett as early as the first minute. Kaboul was immediately replaced by Anthony Gardner, but we must hope this was much a precaution as anything of a long-term nature. The Spurs goals were delivered by skipper Robbie Keane (playing his third 90 minutes of the season) and Dimitar Berbatov, who was grateful for an unselfish pass from substitute Darren Bent.

Bartlettís was the only familiar name amongst the Chiefs. When he last faced Spurs, on 1st October, 2005, Darren Bent was a team-mate who scored two goals for Charlton, before Spurs made a great three goal comeback. Now the Spurs line-up has again changed radically, with Robinson, Dawson, Jenas and Keane the only survivors of that game in the squad today.

The Chiefs start their season proper four days after Spurs, but they looked keener and sharper than the Lilywhites, for whom Jenas rarely got a mention, Berbatov looked all too clearly in first game mode, and others often struggled against the home side, coached by a Turk (Muhsa Erlugral) who probably had not had to motivate his team too hard against Premiership opposition. Zokora probably looked most at home for Spurs, and was competitive throughout, out-muscled only once towards the end of the game, and then by his Ivory Coast compatriot Serge Djiehoua, who may have left Zokora on the ground unfairly, before giving Paul Robinson a testing shot.

Spurs other problem was to deal with the Zimbabwean officials, who showed little understanding of the offside laws, foiling all too many of the Spurs attacks. Even the referee didnít join in with the pre-season spirit, as he showed at least one card to each side, including Robbie for protesting too much about one of those offside decisions.

There was all too little to note about the football in the first half. In the early stages, Phil Ifil got in an advanced position down the left to take on Dawsonís long diagonal pass. Ifil took it to the bye-line, and his cross caused problems. But it was a long time before the next meaningful move, and only three minutes before the opening goal, Robbie Keane chipped a short ball to Berbatov, whose downward header was always going outside the post. The lead was taken thanks to Rocha meeting a half-cleared ball at the half-way line, and returning it straight away into the area, where this time Keane did beat the flag, and dinked the ball over the not too confident keeper into the net.

Both sides looked more lively after the break, and Bartlett levelled the scores thanks to the excellent work of left back Bhasera, who left Routledge in his wake, racing to the bye-line and cutting the ball back for Bartlett to head home from the near post. It wasnít long before Paul Robinson had to pat out a ball from Bhasera, which might have crept in at the top corner.

Although Berbatov was tiring, it was Routledge who was replaced by Darren Bent, who within minutes raced onto Ifilís long ball, and set up Berbatov for an easy finish from close range to restore Spursí lead. Robinson was to face more tests, including a decent 25 yard effort by that man Bhasera, which went one yard over the bar. Adel Taarabt entertained for the last 8 minutes, and nearly set up a third, with a threaded ball to bent who fell as he shot at an angle, seeing the ball saved by Baron this time.

Spurs next game in this three match series is on Tuesday night against Orlando Pirates.

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