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Cardiff v Spurs, 22.09.13


Paulinho, 90+3

Attendance:- 27,815

Referee:- Mark Clattenburg
Assistants:- Mr. S. Beck & Mr. S. Child
Fourth official:- Mr. A Taylor

Cardiff (4-2-3-1):- Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, Taylor; Gunnarsson, Medel; Bellamy (Capt.)(sub Cowie, 78), B-k Kim, Whittingham; Campbell (sub Odemwingie, 65)
(Armband to Caulker)

Subs not used:- Lewis; Hudson, Mutch, Mason, Maynard

Booked:- Turner (foul on Townsend)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Vertonghen, Naughton; Dembele, Paulinho; Townsend (sub Kane, 82), Eriksen (sub Holtby, 89), Sigurdsson (sub Lamela, 71); Soldado

Subs not used:- Friedel; Chiriches, Fryers; Sandro

Booked:- Walker (foul on Whittingham), Townsend (foul on B-K Kim), Dawson (foul on B-K Kim), Soldado (time wasting after goal)

Paulinho’s late winning goal is so sweet

Paulinho’s late, late added time winner was oh so sweet for Spurs. The three points were well deserved, although Cardiff had been fiercely competitive throughout, without forcing nearly as many chances as did Spurs throughout the game. Indeed, Gylfi Sigurdsson hit the bar, and Roberto Soldado had his reflex shot saved in quick succession in the same 50th minute move. Cardiff fans might claim they were hard done by when Turner’s headed “goal” from a corner was disallowed for a foul on Lloris by Gunnarson, and they also claim that Lloris handled the ball outside the area, when clearing from the feet of Fraizer Campbell. The two additional points won by Paulinho’s goal could be so precious at the end of this season. I don’t think many teams will take all three points from the new Cardiff City stadium either.

I can confirm that the new Cardiff City stadium is a much more friendly place than was Ninian Park when we last visited in January 2007. The stadium was full with an enjoyable and not hostile atmosphere. I am sure we’ll be back here next season.

Spurs made just one change to last week’s team which faced Norwich, with Kyle Naughton replacing the injured Danny Rose. Jermain Defoe was not even on the bench, and I assume he was injured. Younes Kaboul was also absent, but Vlad Chiriches was an unused sub, and can surely look forward to a start in Tuesday night’s league cup game at Villa Park.

Kyle Naughton was nearly hero and villain in the early minutes. First he had a shot go over the bar, after an Eriksen cross, but then, at the other end, a horrible back pass fell into the path of Campbell, forcing that desperate save on the very edge of his area by the advancing Hugo Lloris. Kyle Walker took an early booking, but as then involved with Townsend in a great move down the right, leading to a cross nearly converted by Soldado, but saved by the busy Marshall, happy to see the ball out for a corner. Shortly after that Sigurdsson’s header was saved after a cross by Naughton. Soldado headed a ball to Sigurdsson, who fed it to Eriksen, whose shot was also saved by Marshall at the expense of a corner for Spurs.

Paulinho found Soldado in space. Soldado had his shot saved, before Eriksen also had a pop at goal, resulting in another corner. Paulinho’s next passing recipient was Sigurdsson, and this time Marshall saved, before Cardiff conceded a throw-in. Mid-way through the half, Cardiff were begging referee Mark Clattenburg for a free kick, but he was having none of that, and Townsend ran away with the ball. He won a corner, taken by Eriksen, and headed over by Michael Dawson.

There was a nice exchange of passes between Townsend and Paulinho, before Townsend tried a left footed shot, held by Marshall. There was a lovely piece of skill from Kyle Walker receiving from Dawson, then turning, beating an opponent, before feeding Townsend, who had another shot, and won a corner. That disallowed goal for Turner came following Lloris conceding a cheap corner, when he mis-controlled a ball on his left bye-line.

After the break, Lloris held a cross/shot by Bellamy. Five minutes into the half, after Townsend’s short cross, Sigurdsson hit the crossbar with a right footed shot, and Soldado tried to convert the rebound, but Marshall made an excellent reflex save. Soldado was called offside after a good long ball by Naughton, and then Marshall saved from Paulinho, trying to convert a Sigurdsson pass.

Campbell was replaced by one of Cardiff’s new signings Peter Odemwingie, who gave Spurs two or three worrying moments. The first one came after an attempted clearance by Naughton failed, but Odemwingie fired well wide across the goalmouth. Sigurdsson was replaced by Lamela with 20 minutes to go. A Cardiff cross by Bo-Kyung found Odemwingie, who crossed for Gunnarsson. but his first touch was poor, and he fired over. Spurs had failed to take advantage of all their possession and superiority, and looked at risk of a suck punch goal for the home side. Apart from Naughton’s errors, Michael Dawson was guilty of panicking once or twice in his own half, when he had more time to spare before making his pass, rather than making rushed clearances.

Townsend was replaced by Harry Kane, who played on the left side, with Lamela moving to the right, having started on the left. Kane had some good touches, and displayed composure in a high pressure situation. Spurs’ final chance was Lewis Holtby replacing Christian Eriksen who was tightly marked today, and not so effective as in his first two games for Spurs. With added time approaching, Holtby found Paulinho with a good threaded ball, and Marshall made a great diving save from the Brazilian. Soldado then had a glancing header go wide from another Holtby ball. Marshall couldn’t do anything about Spurs’ winner, which followed a corner on the right. Holtby fed Lamela, who hit a low powerful cross towards the back post. The ball was going behind Paulinho, but he scored from close range with a delightful and intuitive back-heel. The celebrations were immense on the pitch and in the Spurs crowd. Cardiff had no time to equalise, and Spurs are joint top of the table, only behind Arsenal on goal difference after 5 games.

Next Saturday lunchtime we face another stern test, with Chelsea coming to The Lane. Before that, of course, comes the League Cup game on Tuesday.

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