INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP
SDCCU STADIUM, SAN DIEGO
WEDNESDAY 25TH JULY, 2018
8.05 pm (Local time)
A.S. ROMA 1(1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4(4)
Llorente, 9, 18
Lucas Moura, 28, 44
Referee:- Alejandro Mariscal
Roma (4-3-3):- Mirante (sub Fuzato, 82); Santon (sub Florenzi, 82), Manolas (Capt.), Jesus (sub Marcano, 58), Luca Pellegrini (sub Bianda, 72); Cristante (sub Coric, 58), Gonalons (sub De Rossi, 59), Pastore (sub Strootman, 58); Gengiz Under (sub Kluivert, 52), Schick (sub Dzeko, 58), Perotti (sub Lorenzo Pellegrini, 58)
Subs not used:- Olsen; Cardinali, Karsdorp, Kolarov, Fazio, El Shaarawy
De Rossi wore the captain’s armband when he came on.
Booked:- Luca Pellegrini (foul on Lucas Moura)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vorm (Capt.) (sub Gazzaniga, 63); Aurier, Carter-Vickers, Davies, Walker-Peters (sub Georgiou, 82); Sissoko, Amos (sub Marsh, 82); Lucas Moura (sub Nkoudou, 82), Eriksen (sub Skipp, 63), Lamela (sub Sanchez, 77); Llorente (sub Son, 63)
Subs not used:- Whiteman; Eyoma
Spurs blitz Roma in San Diego
Only 10 days before this game the World Cup Final was played in Russia, and Spurs have undertaken this US tour without their 9 World Cup semi-finalists. Christian Eriksen, who reached the World Cup’s Round of 16 with Denmark, and played that game on July 1st, started for Spurs, with two other World Cup players (Davinson Sanchez and Son Heung-min) on the bench.
Roma’s less than full strength starting team seemed to be more by choice than World Cup impediments. Star striker Edin Dzeko did not appear until nearly an hour had passed, by which time Roma had been completely blitzed by a surging first half performance by Spurs. There were no goals in the second half, but more pressure and chances for the Italian team including Dzeko and a Croatian who did not go to Russia – 22-year-old Ante Coric, who Roma have signed from Luka Modric’s old team Dinamo Zagreb.
Roma have had a significant departure of course – Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson – who has gone to Liverpool for a fee reported around £60 million. They started this match with a new goalkeeper signing – 35-year-old Antonio Mirante – from Bologna. Mirante was replaced late in the game by another Brazilian keeper – Daniel Fuzato, aged 21.
I watched this game on Premier Sports, and whilst the commentators (Paul Dempsey and Pat Nevin) tried as hard as they could to “big” this game up, we all know that essentially it was a friendly. However, there was plenty of reason for satisfaction in the Spurs camp, and deep disappointment for the Roma coach Eusebio di Francesco, whose team had after all reached last season’s Champions League semi-final when they lost to a Liverpool side who feature another former Roma star, Mohamed Salah.
Spurs’ defence was of necessity makeshift with Ben Davies playing beside Cameron Carter-Vickers, who spent last season on loan in the Championship at Sheffield United and Ipswich. Apart from the fact that Roma’s goal went through his legs, Carter-Vickers (now a full USA International) held pretty firm, even against a strengthened second half Roma team.
In front of the defence 21-year-old Luke Amos was a revelation and if there was a post-match survey, he would surely score highly, despite two goals apiece for Llorente and Lucas Moura. Amos was in no way overwhelmed by his more experienced opponents, challenging and winning forcefully throughout.
Things did not look promising when Spurs fell behind after only three minutes. Roma attacked down the left flank and a final pass by Pastore was turned in by Shick, possibly taking a slight deflection, but beating Michel Vorm inside his left post.
Spurs bounced back in the ninth minute. Pastore was caught out on Roma’s left side, and the ball was sent to Lamela in the middle who fed Amos advancing towards the right of the Roma box. Amos lofted a cross which was headed home by Llorente.
The Spurs attacking midfield three was looking eager, with Eriksen perhaps in second gear ably supported by the energy and skill of Lamela and Lucas Moura. The ball was fed diagonally from right to left by Spurs until Kyle Walker-Peters was challenged outside the left of the area, but the ball was poorly cleared to the feet of Eriksen. The Danish midfielder hit a right footed shot which rebounded off the far post.
Spurs had a corner on the right taken short to Eriksen, whose left footed effort was pushed over for another corner. After this corner taken from the left, the ball was crossed by Lamela (with his right foot!), giving Lucas Moura a good chance, which was saved by the keeper, but parried to Llorente who gleefully tapped home.
Last year’s game between the same teams (on the same date) had finished with a flurry of goals. This one was starting in the same fashion.
Gengiz Under had a powerful shot which hit the stanchion at the back of the side netting, but Spurs had got over their early defensive discomfort, whilst Roma were making little headway. Spurs were looking potent going forward, progressing through short sharp passes from Lucas Moura, Lamela and Eriksen. A Kyle Walker-Peters cross won a corner and after a good cross from the right by Serge Aurier, Lucas Moura headed down the left of the keeper to make it 3-1. That derogatory “Hey Jude” chant could be heard from the Spurs section of the crowd.
Roma’s young left back Luca Pellegrini was shown a yellow card for a severe challenge upon Lucas Moura, who doubled his tally just before the break. The goal followed another powerful surge by the front four, supported by Sissoko, who hit a powerful cross/shot, parried again by the keeper running to Lucas Moura who happily fired a low shot back past the keeper.
There were no changes at the start of the second half, but after 52 minutes Gengiz Under suffered a shoulder injury and was replaced by a certain Justin Kluivert, aged 19, who had been signed from Ajax for a reported £10 million fee. Kluivert is, of course, the son of Patrick, and provided moments of excitement.
Excitement came at a premium in the second half which featured a raft of changes, including Dzeko, who had several chances. The first was deflected for a corner. Others were off target, but Spurs’ substitute keeper Paulo Gazzaniga made a very good save diving to his right to push a Dzeko left footer wide.
Before going off, Vorm had held a good shot by Coric. Son was one of Spurs’ early substitutions, and led a counter attack with a fast run down the right before a cross intended for Lamela was put out for a corner.
Coric hit the side netting with a shot after good work by Kluivert, and had a late shot go wide of the far post, but Spurs had focussed upon defence in the second half against Roma’s bigger guns, with Davinson Sanchez replacing Erik Lamela.
Next up for Spurs will be Barcelona on Saturday night in Los Angeles, with the final game of this tour next Tuesday in Minneapolis against Milan. They could not have made a better start!
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