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Spurs v Barcelona (NextGen Series), 13.09.12
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]


        NextGen Series 2012-3, Group 1
          White Hart Lane, Tottenham 
       Thursday 13th September 2012, 7pm

           SPURS      v     BARCELONA
        (All White)        (Blue/Red)
          4-2-3-1            4-5-1

            0(0)              2(1) 
Spurs team:- Vigouroux, McQueen A.,Stewart(C), Dombaxe, Ball(Lameiras 74), Veljkovic, McEvoy, Gallifouco(Coulthirst 51), Coulibaly(Onomah 65), Bentaleb(Ogilvie 74), Pritchard

Unused subs:- McGee, McQueen D., Winks.

Barcelona:- Ondoa, Ekpolo, Costa, Bagnack, Quintilla(Garfarot 86), Samper, Adama(Cristian 76), Quesada(C)(Babunski 76), Sandro(Huertas 86), Calvet, Ebwelle(Olivan 82)

Unused subs:- Tienda, Riera

Scorers:- Sandro 18, 74

Coach:- A. Inglethorpe J. Vinyals

Referee:- W. Barratt
Assistants:- L. Wood & A. Quelch
4th Official:- T. Goddard

Attendance:- 8,887

Best atmosphere of the season so far!

It was a cool evening for the visit of Barcelona to the Lane for Spurs' second group match in this year's NextGen tournament. The game was played in front of a large and vocal crowd.

Spurs lined up with Vigouroux in goal behind Ball and Veljkovic, with Alex McQueen at right back and Stewart on the left. Dombaxe and Gallifouco took up a position in front of the defence. Bentaleb, who was flanked by McEvoy and Pritchard, formed the midfield behind Coulibaly up front on his own.

Spurs attacked the Paxton Road end in the first half and almost scored in the first minute when Coulibaly blocked a clearance by Odona with the ball dropping onto the top of the goal. The visitors pressed in midfield and created a chance for Adama shortly after and continued to make it difficult for Spurs to play their passing game.

Pritchard got round the back after being released by Stewart but curled his effort wide. Bagnack fired wide from a free kick by Quesada. Barca went in front when a long diagonal ball found Adama free on the right. He beat Stewart and crossed for Sandro attacking the near post to turn in.

Spurs responded with an effort by Pritchard over and Coulibaly's header from a cross by McQueen was deflected for a corner. Gallifouco fired over from the edge of the area.

The visitors now packed the midfield and sought to release their wingers as their main form of attack. Ebwelle fired wide from a corner. McQueen floated in a centre that Coulibaly met with an overhead kick from the edge of the area that went wide. After Calvet drove wide Coulibaly tried another overhead kick when Bentaleb turned back a deep corner.

Barcelona were now tightening their grip in midfield, and were not allowing Spurs to get away with the ball, whilst looking to the pace of Adama and Ebwelle. Coulibaly had a chance from a ball in by Bentaleb which he switched to his left foot and fired into the keepers ribs. As the half ended McQueen found Pritchard at the far post. Alex made a yard before curling the ball onto the crossbar with McEvoy not able to keep the ball in as it dropped.

There were no changes for the start of the second half as Dombaxe fired over early on. Bagnack took out McEvoy when he had a clear run at goal, conceding a free kick when it looked like he should have been given a yellow. Quesada fired over from Ebwelle's cross before Inglethorpe made his first change. Gallifouco was replaced by Coulthirst who went to the left side allowing Pritchard to move inside and Bentaleb dropped deeper.

Bentaleb had a shot when Coulthirst pulled the ball back, but it was easy for Odona. A quick break saw Ebwelle fire wide. Odona saved a free kick from Pritchard and released Ebwelle who fired wide. Ebwelle played in Sandro who curled the ball wide of the far post.

Dombaxe saw his free kick saved before Spurs made another change. Onomah replaced Coulibaly which meant that Coulthirst moved up front and Pritchard moved wide again. Barcelona began to control the game simply by sitting and waiting to gain possession before looking to release the wide men for quick counters.

Barcelona then went further ahead when Odona kicked long down the centre for Sandro who got between the two central defenders and drove past Vigouroux. Spurs immediately made two changes. Ball was replaced by Lameiras and Ogilvie came on for Bentaleb. Lameiras went into the midfield and Ogilvie went to left back with Stewart moving inside.

With the game safe Barcelona made five changes themselves. (I'm sure only four are allowed - Ed:- 5 changes are allowed, but they have to be made within three stoppages) Spurs kept pushing forward but Barcelona were comfortable with plenty of bodies back knowing that they could break anytime. Lameiras played in Coulthirst who turned and shot but the keeper saved. Huertas ran onto a header by Ekpolo to draw a save from Vigouroux. Cristian fired wide before Spurs hit the crossbar again. McEvoy headed on a corner from Lameiras at the near post that came off the crossbar. Lameiras had the last chance when Coulthirst laid the ball back to him but a defender deflected his volley over the bar.

Spurs never really got going as Barcelona closed them down in the centre of the park forcing errors and countering at pace down the flanks. While Spurs may have wanted to play with three up front they soon left Coulibaly alone as they battled for control in midfield. It was still a tight game until the second goal when Spurs pushed up and Barca were happy to contain them as best as they could having made their changes.

With no dates fixed for the Anderlecht matches the next game is expected to be Wolfsburg at home next month.

Ray

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