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Orlando Pirates v Spurs, 24.07.07

(at Newlands Stadium, Capetown)

Pirates scorer:-
Kamwendo (pen), 87

Spurs scorers:-
Bent, 12
Routledge, 84

Referee: - Mr. Bwaya

Attendance: - Est. 40,000

Pirates (4-4-2):- Francis Chansa; Lucky Lekgwathi, Destin Makita, Lehlohonolo Seema (Capt.), Innocent Mdledle; Joseph Makhanya (sub Ramudsuli, 61), Josephy Kamwendo, Mlingisi Gumbi, Bennet Chenene; Lebohang Mokoena (sub Tefera, 68), Ralph Matema (sub Walaza, 79).

Subs not used:- Senzo Meyiwa (GK); Tonic Chabalala, Linda Mkhwanazi, Luntu Mazana, Bheki Mlambo, Jorry Merahe, Tlou Segolela, Tebogo Mashaba, Manuel Bucuane,

Booked: - Ramudsuli

Spurs (4-4-2):- Cerny; Chimbonda, Kaboul, Gardner, Stalteri; Routledge, Jenas (Capt.) (sub Malbranque, 69), Huddlestone, Taarabt (sub O’Hara, 68); Defoe, Bent (Gardner took the Captain’s armband when Jenas was substituted)

Subs not used: - Robinson; Dawson, Rocha, Daniels; Zokora, Maghoma; Keane

Booked: - Kaboul, Stalteri

Another noisy bumper South African crowd were treated to an enthusiastic performance by the home team, who tested Radek Cerny enough times to make the Spurs keeper a contender for man of the match; several touches of class from the Premiership guests, with goals from Darren Bent and Wayne Routledge; and finally more than a touch of farce as the African officials decided that Pirates should be allowed three chances to score from the penalty spot, after Cerny was adjudged to have moved off his line both times when making excellent saves!

Those excellent saves were from the feet of the not so aptly named substitute Excellent Walaza, who was finally replaced as penalty kicker by the successful Josephy Kamwendo. The Pirates team also featured a Lucky Lekgwathi (at right back) and Innocent Mdledle on the opposite side of the defence. The squad list I have seen also includes players with names such as Happy, Benedict and (dare I mention it) Paulus!

It was good to see Spurs fielding Pascal Chimbonda for his first game of the pre-season, alongside Kaboul, who was thankfully able to play the full 90 minutes after his unfortunate start to Saturday’s game. Kaboul showed plenty of skill, if a little too cavalier at times, but once again showed he has scoring potential too, hitting the outside of the frame with a terrific shot after Huddlestone slid a free kick in his direction after 32 minutes.

Paul Stalteri filled in at left back, with Jermain Defoe partnering Darren Bent up front. Spurs started the game at a decent tempo, and their strategy of lifting long balls over the defence for Bent to run onto was rewarded in the 12th minute, when the 16 ½ million man controlled Huddlestone’s’ 50 yard ball before nonchalantly lifting his shot over Francis Chansa.

Cerny was exercised for the first time after 19 minutes, by a low shot from Kamwendo, which went low to the keeper’s left side. Before long, Spurs’ excellent second-choice keeper foiled the runaway Mokoena, who had beaten the offside trap to face Cerny one on one. Cerny stayed cool, and went down at the last moment to pick up the shot.

Adel Taarabt had once again entertained, and hit a decent 25 yard effort, after picking up a good low ball from Jenas, passing from inside his half. Defoe had a shot parried before that, and as the half closed, Spurs looked like increasing the lead, with some good moves. Firstly Jenas picked out bent on the left, whose cross was fired wide by Huddlestone. Then Bent was heading down a Routledge cross for Defoe, whose shot was blocked in front of goal.

Spurs had an early scare after the break, as the ball was crossed from the left to the back post, put back into the middle, but headed way off the target by an attacker. Huddlestone hit a good left foot shot from outside the box, which Chansa beat away with both hands. Bent ran onto another long ball over the top, but could not get any strength on his shot.

Mid-way through the second half, Taarabt started and finished a good flowing move, with a ball to Jenas, and a shot just over the bar after Routledge and Jenas combined ahead of him. Late in the game, the referee started showing yellow cards – firstly to substitute Ramudsuli for a late challenge on Malbranque, then to Kaboul for what looked a pretty tame challenge, and later to Stalteri for dissent over the penalty farce.

Cerny made a terrific save from Matema’s 79th minute free kick, diving to his right to stop a powerful effort. Three minutes later, Cerny was doing the same thing to keep a Kamwendo free kick at bay. Spurs doubled their lead in the 84th minute following a good flowing move out of their half, ending with Defoe’s feed to Malbranque who seemed to have over-hit his ball across the area. Routledge did well to control the ball though with one touch, before firing home confidently from 15 yards.

There had hardly been time for celebrating though, before Chimbonda was bringing down the not so excellent Walaza, who had his two failed attempts to convert from the spot, before Kamwendo finally did the job, much to the disdain of Cerny who might have kicked the ball out of the park! The Spurs players were still protesting as the final whistle eventually blew, but they have two wins under their belt, and will face either the Pirates or the Kaizer Chiefs in the final game of the series on Saturday.

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