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Match Reports
Spurs v PSV Eindhoven, 03.08.03

SUNDAY 3RD AUGUST, 2003
FRIENDLY FIXTURE
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0) PSV EINDHOVEN 2 (1)

Scorers:-
Park, 9
Robben, 89

Referee:- Dermot Gallagher

Attendance:- Est 15,000

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Carr, Perry, Gardner, Taricco; Davies (sub Ricketts, 38), Redknapp (Capt) (sub Marney, 75), Anderton (sub Bunjevcevic, 46), Acimovic (sub Poyet, 61); Keane, Postiga

Subs not used:- Burch; Kelly; Jackson; Slabber

No bookings

PSV (4-2-3-1):- Waterreus; Begelund, Hofland (Vogel, 45), Colin, Young-Pyo Lee; Van Bommel, ver der Schaaf; Rommedahl (Hoogstrate, 45), Ji-Sung Park (de Jong, 74), Robben; Kezman

No bookings

It was probably due to a lack of available personnel, such as the injured Dean Richards and Ledley King, but after playing virtually all the pre-season campaign to date with two attacking midfielders supporting a lone striker, Glenn Hoddle reverted to a traditional 4-4-2 against Dutch Champions, PSV Eindhoven. PSV played an adventurous formation, with three midfielders behind Kezman, who was booed heartily due to his disparaging remarks about Spurs over the last week. Each of those three (Rommedahl, Park and Robben from right to left) caused mayhem in the Spurs half, with the full backs in particular being vulnerable. PSV have had a more competitive pre-season than Spurs, winning the Peace Cup in South Korea, but they are a class or even two above Spurs, and showed us all what Spurs must aspire to.

There was no show from Bobby Zamora, and during the game, Spurs lost both Anderton and Davies to injury. We must hope that they are fit for the season proper, but pre-season injuries are becoming all too regular at Spurs these days, and I often question the intensity of these campaigns. There were encouraging signs however, particularly from Rohan Ricketts, who replaced Davies after only 38 minutes, started on the right, and then moved inside during the second half. He provided many of the highlights for Spurs fans, with his speed and effort, retrieving several difficult balls, never being afraid of a challenge, and most of all with some exciting penetrative runs. Dean Marney did not disappoint either. He is a Stephen Carr look-alike, and there were too many moments when one sought the same sought of effort from Carr himself, twisted and turned by man of the match, Robben, and wearing that rather depressing frown too much of the time.

One of the many alleged targets for Spurs - Mark Van Bommel - captained and marshalled his side magnificently just in front of the defence. Hofland and Colin dominated Postiga and to a lesser degree - Robbie Keane, who provided most of the thrills up front. Those who saw Postiga for the first time today may be disappointed in his game, but a lot of us have seen better!

Kasey Keller returned to the fray and was the busier keeper by miles, as Spurs really failed to test Waterreus throughout. The match was played in hot sunshine, with temperature soaring towards the 90s. A healthy pre-season crowd looked on, but within two minutes they saw the chasm in class, as Kezman was allowed a run from right to left, and a shot which bobbled its way to Keller's arms. Robbie Keane showed a bit of his usual skill, and Acimovic delivered a useful ball from the left, which Postiga tried to convert at the back post, but missed the target by a mile.

PSV came at us again, and Park pushed the ball out to Rommedahl, whose cross reached Kezman, leaving the defence behind him. The Serbian striker was on his own with Keller to beat, but Kasey kept his ground well, and when the shot came, was down sharply to save the day, conceding the corner. Sadly, we went behind from the dead ball, as Park was allowed a free diving header, 10 yards out, which rocketed into the net. The handful (literally) of away fans celebrated.

The pattern was very much established with Spurs struggling to get a footing on the game, but having to defend stoutly through Perry and Gardner, to prevent any further deficit. Too often, the men in front of them failed to clear their lines effectively. After 23 minutes, Keane and Postiga led a decent attack, and from the corner, Taricco sent a cross to the middle of the area, which Perry headed only just over the bar. Another good move followed an Anderton cross from the left. Postiga put the ball back to Acimovic who threaded the ball through for Keane, but Robbie just let the ball run out of play. 11 minutes later, Anderton made a good crunching tackle in the middle and Acimovic gave Keane a good chance at the back post, which Robbie hit high and wide. Postiga had a similar effort just before the break by which time Ricketts was making his presence felt with a determined challenge that enabled a good move to continue. This had been a move starting with Keller, through Carr, Keane and then Ricketts.

Bunjee replaced Anderton, and played central midfield, whilst the guests made a couple of changes themselves. PSV's starting line-up had looked pretty strong to me, and perhaps they eased up a little as the game wore on, because Spurs managed to get into the game to better effect. However, that man Robben was able to cut in with ease from the left despite Ricketts and Carr. His shot was blocked, and Kezman hit the follow up low and wide. Robben was the supplier for Kezman again after 51 minutes, but Bunjevcevic's National team-mate was way off target. It was about this time that I was thinking maybe it's a good job we are not getting him, anyway!

Gus Poyet replaced Acimovic, and received a great ovation. Kezman went on a jinking run through the middle and it was great defending from Chris Perry that stole the ball off his feet, before he could pull the trigger, as they say! Postiga hit a lovely long ball from the left, which was aimed for Robbie, but just headed clear. Then the ball was presented to Postiga, who was no doubt surprised, and failed to control the ball, when he should have punished PSV mercilessly.

Dean Marney replaced Redknapp, and played right sided midfield. Ricketts moved inside, and after 78 minutes the ex-Arsenal youngster thrilled the crowd with a great determined run which was only brought to an end by a foul. Robbie Keane took the free kick, but was way off target. Spurs now put the visitors under a little pressure not least through the energy of Marney and Ricketts. Taricco hit a chipped cross to the middle and Gus Poyet's header was blocked. Keane could not quite reach the free ball. The ever-enthusiastic Poyet teed up Marney some 25 yards out, and he did at least force the keeper to make a save from his well hit low shot.

The match was sealed two minutes before the end, as PSV broke away, Kezman fed Robben who weaved his way into the box, had his first shot blocked by Perry, but picked up the rebound and slotted low and hard past Keller.

Spurs are apparently very close to signing Kanoute, and perhaps Mabizela will sign tomorrow, too. However, as I have been saying the problems are there for all to see at the back, and in midfield. Sporting Lisbon are the visitors in the last first team friendly, next Sunday.

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