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Spurs v Benfica, (PL2 International Cup - 25.01.18)
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

       PL International Cup, Group F
     Hotspur Way, Bulls Cross, Enfield
      Thursday 25th January 2018, 11am

           SPURS     v     BENFICA
        (White/Blue)     (Red/White)
          4-2-3-1           4-3-3

            3(1)             3(1) 

     Brandon Austin  1  Ivan Zlobin (No. 72)
       Anton Walkes  2  Branimir Kalaica (16)
   Anthony Georgiou  3  Christopher Willock (24)
       Oliver Skipp  4  Pedro Amaral(C) (60)
  Christian Maghoma  5  Florentino Luis (61)
      Timothy Eyoma  6  Jose Gomes (70)
      Shilow Tracey  7  Joao Sequeira (79)
        Luke Amos(C) 8  Diogo Mendes (87)
    Shayon Harrison  9  Heriberto Tavares (91)
         Jack Roles 10  Vitalii Lystcov (95)
   Kazaiah Sterling 11  Simon Cuevas (99)

       George Marsh 12  Mesaque Dji (69)
      Luke O'Reilly 13  Fabio Durate (98)
   Joseph Pritchard 14  Filipe Soares (75)
          (7)83Mins     (70)46Mins
   Jonathan Dinzeyi 15  Ricardo Araujo (76)
       Dylan Duncan 16  Nuno Santos (77)
          (4)81Mins     (87)59Mins
                    80  Daniel Anjos
                    89  Pedro Alvaro

       Tracey 38        Sequeira 21
       Roles 51         Tavares 47
       Walkes 55        Santos 78

     Wayne Burnett 

Referee: Alan Young
Assistants: Mike Desborough & Nick Dunn
Fourth Official: Tim Donnellan

It was a sunny morning for the re-arranged group match in the PL International Cup after the game had been called off last night due to the rain at Stevenage. Because Benfica had to return to Portugal for their weekend games it was agreed to play at the training ground which did not give time for crowd arrangements so the match was played behind closed doors. Both Spurs and Benfica had beaten West Ham and lost to group winners Villearreal so the winners of the match would almost certainly go through as best runner-up. Spurs only needed to draw to finish second which with their good goal differance would put them close to qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Spurs lined up with Austin in goal behind Maghoma and Eyoma with Walkes at right back and Georgiou on the left. Skipp anchored the midfield with help from Amos. Ahead of them Roles was flanked by Tracey on the right and Sterling on the left in support of Harrison up front.

Spurs defended the South end in the first half which saw Benfica quick out of the blocks with Tavares drawing a save from Austin when played in by Sequeira. Tavares also tried from distance but Austin saved that as well. As Spurs settled and began to get their passing game going Georgiou kept getting down the left flank. One of his crosses was headed over at the near post by Tracey for a corner.

Benfica took the lead when they worked the ball down the right and Sequeira turned it in at the near post. Spurs went close when Tracey lifted his cross to the far post where Amos headed against the post. Spurs drew level when Walkes' long ball was won by Tracey who advanced into the right channel exchanging passes with Harrison before driving in. Spurs ended the first half having had more of the possession if not the chances.

Benfica made one change for the start of the second half when they looked for a quick goal, as they had in the first half. They got it when Tavares drove forward from deep, firing past Austin to put them in front again. The lead did not last long as Skipp sent Tracey away down the left and his pull-back was fired home by Roles.

Spurs went in front for the first time soon afterwards when Roles got round the back on the left. His ball in was parried by the keeper and cleared off the line but only to Walkes who drove it in. From the restart Spurs won a corner from which Tracey had a header saved and Walkes hit the rebound across the goalmouth.

Spurs made their first change replacing Roles with the more defensive Marsh. Kalaica fired wide from distance as Benfica began to push forward. The Portuguese equalised from a free kick on the right that found its way to Santos on the left who drove low through a mass of legs into the far corner.

Spurs replaced Skipp with the more attacking Duncan in midfield and then replaced Tracey with Pritchard. Pritchard took a position on the left flank with Sterling moving to the right. Austin tipped over a header from Anjos as the game went into added time. Zlobin came up for the corner but Sequeira fired over. Another corner saw Tavares try an overhead kick that was wide to allow Spurs to see out the game.

This was a good open game of football which could have gone either way. Spurs probably had the better of the game but Benfica looked sharp on the ball. Georgiou was Spurs' main threat in the first half as he got forward a lot providing crosses and attracting fouls in response. Benfica finished strongly as Spurs filled the midfield trying to see out the game.

Sunderland won their last game to take one of the two runners-up spots in the quarter-finals. At the moment Spurs have the second spot but can be overtaken by either Porto or Bayen Munich who meet tomorrow. If they draw Spurs will go through.


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