JOCKEY CLUB KITCHEE CENTRE CHALLENGE CUP
(at Hong Kong Stadium)
FRIDAY 26TH MAY 2017
(8pm local time)
KITCHEE SPORTS CLUB 1(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4(2)
Sterling, 90 (+1)
Referee:- Liu Kwok Man
Kitchee SC:- Wang (Guo 81); Recio (Sham 81), Cancela, Goncalves, Azevedo (Lucas 81), Ferreira (Akande 46), Lo (Capt.) (K Lam), Lum (Tong 67), Huang (Segovia Del Burgo 73), M Lam (Wan 73), Vadocz
Spurs first half team (4-3-3):- Lloris (Capt.) (sub Pau Lopez, 30); Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Davies; Sissoko, Lesniak, Eriksen; Son, Janssen, Nkoudou
(Armband to Eriksen)
Spurs second half team (3-4-2-1):- Pau Lopez (sub Vorm, 61); Dier, Wimmer, Vertonghen (Capt.); Trippier, Wanyama, Lesniak (sub Amos, 69), Miller; Son (sub Kane, 75), Alli; Janssen (sub Sterling, 69)
Spurs achieve their post-season aims
All post-season aims have been achieved by Tottenham Hotspur Football club this week in South-East Asia. The commercial hand of friendship has been extended for another 5 years with AIA, and the footballing friendship has been enhanced by this trip to Hong Kong, and a whistle-stop trip to Son Heung-minís homeland in South Korea. On the pitch today in the Hong Kong Stadium, Spurs were able to give all their 23 man squad a run-out, and they entertained local and other travelling supporters, not to mention the home fans of Hong Kong treble winners Kitchee Sports Club. The local fans were particularly happy to see Son Heung-min, who played 75 minutes, when he was replaced by top scorer Harry Kane, who would reward those fans with another goal to his name.
Spursí three goalkeepers each played half an hour, and whilst Spursí defence did not survive without scares, nor with a clean sheet, the team won comfortably with even young substitute Kazaiah Sterling getting his first senior goal on his debut at this level.
Kyle Walker played the first half, and there were a number of banners on display urging him to stay this summer. Kyle was one of the four players who fulfilled the trip to Seoul this week, so who knows whether he will stay or go. We all hope he will stay, of course. I havenít got the Kitchee team in full, but I did notice they were captained by K.Y. Lo, perhaps a distant relative of our own youth match reporter Ray, who is in Germany today reporting on our U-19s ventures in the Volksbank Cup.
Spursí chairman Daniel Levy had also travelled, and alongside a local VIP, was presented to the teams before kick-off. Spurs played 4-3-3 in the first half with Lesniak in front of the back four, and Sissoko and Eriksen either side of him. Eriksen had a free role, and in the knowledge he was only playing 45 minutes, played with high energy and high effect. Georges-Kevin Nkoudou also had quite an effective game on the left-hand side of the three pronged attack which also featured Vincent Janssen and Son Heung-min.
The teams wore black armbands, and the stadium fell silent before kick-off in memory of the innocent victims in the horrific attack in Manchester this week.
Janssen kicked off for Spurs and might have scored within two minutes, after Eriksen passed to Nkoudou on the left, Nkoudou crossed, but Vincent could not convert from close range under pressure. Eriksen was again the provider a few minutes later, giving Son a run at goal, but he was closed down without a shot. Janssen showed strength and skill near the half-way line on the left after 7 minutes, taking the ball forward on a good run, but failing to use his passing options, and getting closed down.
It wasnít all one-way traffic and Lloris had just got down to hold one shot before that man Lo hit a longer effort over the target. The home crowd were getting excited. More home excitement came after a corner on 12 minutes and a header by Jose Helio, which was actually cleared off the line inside the right-hand post by Janssen.
Eriksen sent Son away again with a good ball to Son on the right side of the box, but he was called offside whilst the ball hit the net. Eriksen had a shot from 22 yards himself, after approach play by Alderweireld and Nkoudou, but the save was comfortable for the keeper. Spurs did take a deserved lead in the 17th minute, and to the delight of the locals it was Son, who picked up a blocked Eriksen pass, before firing home with his right foot from just outside the box.
Son had another chance a minute later, fed from the left by Janssen and going down in the area between two defenders, but winning no sympathy from the local referee. Janssen made it 2-0 to Spurs in the 21st minute, Nkoudou had played a ball from the centre to Ben Davies on the left. Davies crossed, and Janssen scored with his left foot at the near post.
Matthew Lam had a shot go wide after a poor clearance by Wimmer had been returned to the edge of the Spurs area. At the other end, Nkoudou was fouled, but Eriksenís free kick was blocked. Son was fouled about 30 yards out and Eriksen tried a long cross or perhaps it was a shot, but whatever the case it was comfortable for the keeper to pick up. Eriksen had another chance after a long ball was headed on, and he took a run and a shot, which was more of a test, but still held by the goalie.
There was space for Son after another Eriksen pass, and after an exchange with Janssen, Son again went down, appealing for a penalty, to no avail. Kitchee have their own Sandro, and he had a shot well over. An excellent left footed shot by Janssen from the edge of the box was well held by the keeper. The whole of the Spurs bench seemed to be warming up, suggesting many changes at half-time, but there was time for one more Eriksen shot, this one from 25 yards, after a good piece of build-up play on the Spurs right flank. Goalkeeper Zhenpeng Wang saved again.
After the break, Mauricio Pochettino switched to 3-4-2-1, with Dier, Wimmer and Vertonghen at the back, and Trippier and Will Miller as wing-backs. Victor Wanyama showed his usual strength and determination in front of the defence, and not a little attacking flair. The local team had a couple of half-chances, one of which came after a bit of a mix-up at the back following a Pau Lopez error.
Son delighted the locals with trickery on the right, winning a corner, taken by Trippier and headed over by Wanyama. Son then had a half chance after a good short chipped pass by Miller from the left, but the South Korean was unable to get any strength on the shot. A great right-footed effort by Janssen from the edge of the box was pushed onto the bar by Wang. The goalkeeper then saved a deflected Wanyama shot.
The home side had a chance after a poor clearance by Vertonghen, but Vorm, who had just replaced Pau Lopez, made a good save.
The tempo of the game faded somewhat, not least because it became mass substitution time. Luka Amos replaced Lesniak, who had acquitted himself well again, and Sterling took over from Janssen. The crowd got excited because they saw Harry Kane warming up, but they had to wait a little while yet to see our goal-scoring hero.
Sterling nearly had a dream start getting his head onto a Dele Alli cross, only to see the goalkeeper save with a dive to his left pushing the ball away with both arms extended. Kevin Wimmer was called into desperate defensive action sprinting to take the ball off the feet of Alex Akande, just as he seemed to be about to score from close in on the left. Now the crowd could cheer Kane on, as he replaced Son.
Having been called up for England duty this week, Kieran Trippier had a scary moment as he went in high and perhaps over-stretched to clear a ball near the touchline, taking a knock in return. Trippier carried on and seemed to run off any problem he might have had. Similarly, Dele Alli had a couple of moments when he went down under challenge (in or near the box) wincing when he got up, not just because he got no decision from the referee.
Harry Kane got on the scoresheet in the 83rd minute, sending Trippier away down the right before racing to the back post to meet the returned cross and fire home. Akande had a header go wide across the Spurs goal, and Kane might have scored again after Dele set him up, but Harry clipped his shot over the bar.
Lucas got a consolation goal for the home side with time running out. The goal came after Vorm failed to collect a cross from the left with the ball running to Lucas close in at the near post. Spurs soon restored the three goal advantage as we entered five minutes of added time, and this time Sterling did get his goal, after Dee Alliís run and a deflected ball to the young strikerís feet.
Vorm was called upon to save from Lucas, before interplay between Sterling and Alli ended with an Alli shot, but he had been called offside anyway.
No doubt there will be some post-match formalities to be fulfilled in Hong Kong before most members of the squad disperse for the International duties, before a well-deserved break.
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