SATURDAY 26TH JULY, 2003
ORLANDO PIRATES 2 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1)
Manyathela, 85 (pen)
o.g, 76 (Postiga cross/shot turned into goal)
Attendance:- 20,000 approx
Referee:- Petros Mathabela
Orlando Pirates (4-4-2): Mayala, Musasa (Dinha, 84), Mabizela, Khomane, Netshodwe, Phakatadi, Tshabalala, Makhanya (Lekoelea, 62), Thwala, Manyathela, Tshamala (Kauleze, 52).
Spurs (3-4-1-2): Burch, Carr, Taricco (Galbraith, 86), Gardner, Perry, Etherington, Redknapp (Anderton, 80), Toda, Davies, Poyet (Keane, 65), Postiga.
Spurs Odyssey is grateful to Ralph Hohls for his reports from South Africa
A warm afternoon saw Spurs take on the first of their South African
opponents, Orlando Pirates (the Buccaneers). We were sat in the East stand,
with the sun setting in our eyes, eagerly waiting to see what the 2003/2004
Spurs team would offer up. Sadly, most of us trudged out of the ground 90 +
minutes later feeling like we'd seen a repeat of the last half of last
season. The team did not look up for it, and had no more than 5 shots on
target the whole game. Having said that the pitch had a rugby match played
on it the night before, and the grass looked long and thick from where we
were sitting high up in the upper east stand.
Spurs started out with Carr playing wide on the right in midfield with
Tarrico behind him in the right back position. Carr didn't really look
comfortable to me, and had his usual scowl on his face for most of the
match. His handball later looked almost deliberate. I must say I'm not
convinced that he wants to stay at Spurs, but perhaps I'm just fueled by all
the press in recent months.
Postiga was basically alone upfront until Keane arrived to help. He looked
isolated and was frequently frustrated by the Pirates defence.
The first 10 mins were relatively comfortable with Spurs team looking very
relaxed, bordering on a little lethargic. Within 5 minutes, Jamie Redknapp,
had sent in a good cross, which had the Pirates keeper confused as he left
it to a defender who didn't take charge. Unfortunately the ball flashed
harmlessly across the goal. On around 10 mins Matty Etherington, crossed the
ball into the box after good build up play from Gus, once Jamie had fed him.
A minute later, Pirates threatened for the first time, a through ball
finding a Pirates player and he was not flagged off-side (much to the dismay
of the Tottenham crew behind me). Fortunately, (and not for the last time
this afternoon I was later to observe), Chris Perry did what he often does
best IMHO...get in a basic and decisive tackle to rob Pirates of a goal
scoring opportunity. On 13 mins, Pirates midfielder Mumasa flashed the 1st
of many shots high, wide and handsomely over the bar. Spurs appeared to be
getting into some sort of rhythm as Gus sent through a good scything pass
that Helder Postiga almost latched onto.
20 minutes into the game and keeper Burch had not yet been tested, but
finally a Pirates shot found the target area and Rob Burch was able to burn
some energy making a comfortable save.
Soon after, Tottenham managed to get a shot on target. Simon Davies received
the ball just inside his own half, and released Matty down the left flank,
whose cross was met powerfully by recent signing Postiga. The header was
strong & downward but unfortunately straight at the keeper. Most of
Tottenham's rather few attacks started with Toda feeding Matty down the left
On the half hour mark, the Pirates number 5 flashed over the bar for the
umpteenth time. A minute later Gus challenged for the ball and released
Matty once again down the flank. Unfortunately once again the cross from the
number 11 was poor, drifting too close to the keeper who duly snatched it
from the air. After 32 minutes Spurs had their first corner of the
afternoon. Not sure who took the corner but it was sent hard and low to the
edge of the box (reminiscent of the old Sheringham routine). In this case
Redknapp tried to make something of it, but the corner was not met and Spurs
were quickly caught on the break. It looked menacing , but Spurs were saved
after the lanky Gardner tracked back some 40 yards to make a superb tackle
and end the Pirates break.
The rest of the half involved a few exchanges with both teams getting
chances, a free-kick on 40 minutes forced a good punch out from Burch, who
had a solid game, including a good save after a free-kick resulted from a
needless shirt tugging by Gardner.
The 2nd half saw no changes to the Spurs line-up, which was disappointing as
they had not looked very comfortable in the 1st half. Jamie was playing far
too deep for my money, and was not controlling the midfield effectively as a
result. Postiga was playing alone upfront and was regularly being felled,
legally I might add, by the resolute Pirates back-line (including one
Mbulelo Mabizela !!). I feel Postiga will need to toughen up in the
Premiership if he is to succeed. He seems all to eager to fall-over after a
challenge, and a strong defender will keep him under wraps easily if he is
not prepared to scrap a little. I should give him the benefit of the doubt
though, as this was my first view of him in action. Perhaps he was just
making sure he did not injure himself.
A Spurs free-kick 8 minutes into the 2nd half saw the ball sail agonisingly
across the 6-yard box with neither Perry nor Redknapp able to get head onto
it. Good distribution saw Postiga with a chance on the edge of the box. His
shot was weakly struck and again Pirates were able to break quickly up the
right flank. A mis-hit shot by the Pirates right winger was a mercy to the
rapidly retreating Spurs defence. This marked a period of sustained pressure
by Pirates, which would ultimately culminate in a reward in the form of a
goal. Pirates had 3 corners within a minute, with Chris Perry mostly taking
care of the clearances. Pirates got a free-kick on 65 minutes and brought on
the influential midfielder, Steve Lekoelea. The free-kick was wasted and
Spurs opted to replace Gus with Robbie Keane (much to the delight of the
Spurs supporters scattered around the ground). A few minutes later Toda hit
a strong volley from the edge of the area, which almost went thru the
keeper's legs. A minute later Spurs were going forward again, with some neat
exchanges between Simon and Jamie however once again today the final ball
just wouldn't come.
On 70 mins, Gardner made a mistake again which the reliable Perry cleaned
up. Minutes later Spurs conceded a free-kick 10 meters out from the Spurs 18
yard box. Pirates stalwart Lekoelea stepped up and curled a fierce shot past
Burch. 1 - 0 to the Bucs. Of course this seemed to galvanise the Spurs into
some sort of action, and they were duly on even terms, albeit rather
fortunately, a minute later. A good run by the lively Keane put Postiga
thru, who, I must admit, did well to beat 2 defenders and get a shot in . It
was across the goal, though, but it did force the Pirates defender, Musasa
to stab the ball past his own keeper. 1 -1. Though Tottenham now appeared to
have woken up they still were not fluent, and our disappointing day was
summed up by Steven Carr's handball 5 minutes from time. The ref had no
hesitation and the Pirates star, Manyathala made no mistake from the spot.
At this point the Pirates fans started to chant. There is a buzz at South
African matches generally but it raised a few bars after this goal as they
could sense a famous victory. South African football fans have almost a
fetish it seems, for blowing on these bugle-type horns that make for a
constant drone around the ground.
This drone increased steadily with the 2nd goal going in ! Glenn brought on
David Galbraith with 5 mins to go, replacing Tarrico, but it was too little
too late.. Galbraith did however, supply a cross from the left in injury
time, which was met by the towering Gardner. He somehow contrived to get
under it though and sent it sailing over the bar.. Soon after the referee
blew the final whistle to end a very lacklustre and sluggish performance by
Hoddle would later bemoan the length of the grass on the pitch. I think he
had good reason, as we all thought the play looked very sluggish and
certainly not fluid from a Spurs perspective. Pirates, of course, played on
the same pitch but it's possible they are a little more used to this type of
pitch having played on rugby pitches on more than one occasion before.
Be that as it may, the scattered Spurs contingent slowly made their way out
of the stadium hoping that Cape Town would see an improvement in the overall
(Copyright of this compilation is claimed by Ralph Hohls)
· Read the full preview for this mini-tour of South Africa
Top of page | Index to Friendly Fixtures 2003-4