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Spurs v A.S Roma, 25.07.17

Red Bull Stadium, Harrison, New Jersey
(8pm – local time)

Spurs scorers:-
Winks, 87
Janssen, 90 (+1)

Roma scorers:-
Perotti (pen), 13
Gengiz Under, 70
Tuminello, 90 (+2)

Attendance:- 26,192

Referee:- Hilario Grajeda
Assistants:- C. Lowry & T. Felice
Fourth official:- J. Gonzalez

Spurs (3-4-2-1):- Vorm (sub Lloris, 46); Carter-Vickers (sub Georgiou, 46), Alderweireld, Vertonghen (sub Wimmer, 69); Trippier, Dier (sub Winks, 46), Dembele (sub Oakley-Boothe, 69), Walker-Peters (sub Davies, 46); Onomah (sub Eriksen, 46), Dele (sub Nkoudou, 76); Kane (Capt.) (sub Janssen, 76)
(Armband worn by Lloris in second half)

Subs not used:- Whiteman, Austin; Dinzeyi, Brown; Wanyama, Miller

Booked:- Carter-Vickers (foul on Dzeko)

Roma (4-3-3):- Alisson; Peres, Fazio, Jesus, Kolarov; Santos Da Silva, De Rossi (Capt.), Nainggolan; Defrel, Dzeko, Perotti

Roma Substitutes used were Strootman (Captain after De Rossi went off), Manolas, Cengiz Under, Moreno, Castan, Pellegrini, Gonalons, Tumminello, Skorupski (Goalkeeper), Iturbe

Booked:- Kolarov (foul on Alderweireld)

Late comeback, then defeat in New Jersey

This match looked like being a tale of two penalties – one given and one not – until Roma’s exciting 20 year old substitute put the Italians 2-0 up in the 70th minute. Gengiz had been signed from Turkish club Buyuksehir in the summer, and had already had one chance early in the second half. Spurs had been sorely frustrated at the near farcical award of the first half penalty which separated the two teams, and then by the failure of US Major League referee Hilario Grajeda to give an early second half penalty when Harry Kane was brought down by his former colleague Federico Fazio. The usual mass of substitutions in any friendly game led to two different teams contesting the latter stages when Spurs clawed their way back to 2-2, before succumbing almost directly from the restart in the second minute of added time.

A good crowd was present at The Red Bull stadium, and the Spurs support could be heard throughout. Mauricio Pochettino played a 3-4-2-1 formation with Kyle Walker-Peters this time playing as left wing-back. He and Cameron Carter-Vickers showed some good defensive skills in the first half when Spurs just dominated possession and shots on goal, but Roma always looked dangerous. Roma included two former Man City players, with Dzeko up front and new signing Kolarov making his club debut after his departure this summer from Manchester. Roma had played PSG before Spurs, and only lost that game on penalties. Another Roma debutant to make an impact was Gregoire Defrel, playing on the right flank, with Diego Perotti also a danger on the right.

The first shot of the game fell to Spurs, but it was very wayward from Eric Dier, hitting high with his left foot. Perotti advanced down the left flank and crossed beyond the back post where Defrel headed wide. Dier played a ball to Walker-Peters on the left and he passed inside to Dele Alli, who hit a right footed shot from just inside the box, which was held by the goalkeeper. Vorm had to race outside his area to clear from the feet of the advancing Defrel. Dzeko looked a bit offside to me as he received a ball on the right side of the area, but Walker-Peters did well to clear.

Then came an early touch of farce. Perotti’s cross was going behind Carter-Vickers, who was facing the bye-line. The defender’s arm was naturally trailing behind his back, and he could not even have been aware of the exact location of the ball, as it was hit past him from close range, and hit his arm. The referee didn’t seem to be giving anything, but then appeared to consult the fourth official, who must have convinced him that he should award a penalty. It was rough justice indeed, and Perotti took a walking run-up, with Vorm stooping to his right before the Roma man fired home to the keeper’s left.

Belgian International Radja Nainggolan advanced from his own half and put Defrel clear, but he hit his left foot shot wide. Spurs were on the back foot during this spell, but both Carter-Vickers and Walker-Peters acquitted themselves well. Kolarov got booked when he went in high on Alderweireld. Spurs then had a good move ending with Josh Onomah finding Trippier on the right. Trippier crossed and Kane won a corner. Following the corner, Mousa Dembele actually hit the bar with a shot from an angle on the right.

Kolarov led a Roma attack, crossing to Santos Da Silva on the right. He found Defrel, who wanted a penalty near the Spurs left post, but got a corner. Josh Onomah was taking a bit of stick from the Italians, who were certainly giving no quarter, despite the match status of “Friendly”. It was really more than a little competitive throughout! After one foul, Kieran Tripper took the free kick, but Alisson held comfortably. At last we saw some of the Kane prowess we have got used to when he was onto Trippier’s long ball and got in a decent shot, despite the attentions of two defenders, hitting the ball across the keeper who did well to save. More skill and effort by Kane got him into the right side of the box despite the presence of Jesus, but this time Harry could not get a shot on goal.

Carter-Vickers also saw yellow for a challenge on Dzeko. Kolarov swung in a free kick, but Spurs cleared. The referee had words with Roma skipper De Rossi after another heavy challenge on Onomah.

Spurs made five half-time substitutions, which led to a change of shape with four at the back, and Anthony Georgiou getting a first team debut on the left wing. Bearing in mind Georgiou was up against a strong Brazilian right back Peres, he had a strong impact and can be very proud of his performance, capped by a fine rising shot tipped over by substitute goalkeeper Skorupski late in the game.

Roma also made substitutions, but these were not so well documented for TV viewers. Georgiou fed a ball to Harry Kane for an early half chance, before Gengiz Under made an exciting forward run but fired wide. The harsh award of the first half penalty was matched by the inept failure to award a clear penalty when Fazio brought down Kane. Now the Spurs players, and those on the bench were getting sorely frustrated about the way the game was going. Roma’s substitute Manolas deserved an Oscar for some of his antics when challenged at various times, more toughly by Dele Alli, than by Harry Winks. There was some confusion off the field as it seemed the fourth official wanted to send off one of the Spurs back-up team, but that did not happen.

Ben Davies came inside after good work down the left with Georgiou, before releasing the ball to Dele, whose shot took a deflection but was saved. Peres fouled Georgiou and Dele had a half chance following Eriksen’s free kick. Harry Winks passed forward to Kane who had a great chance, but saw his shot just deflected and out off target for a corner. After the corner, and a header by Dele Alli, Eriksen hit a right foot shot over. That man Manolas was claiming severe injury again after Dele’s challenge.

Dembele was replaced by Tashan Oakley-Boothe for his second first team appearance, and Kevin Wimmer replaced Jan Vertonghen. Wimmer had a disastrous start when Strootman raced forward on the left and crossed. Wimmer’s poor clearance fell to the feet of Gengiz, who happily put his team 2-0 up. Spurs were losing because of one injustice and one disastrous error.

Harry Kane got into the box on the left, but could only win a corner. He was then replaced by Janssen whilst Dele was replaced by Georges-Kevin Nkoudou. Nkoudou played on the right with Georgiou maintaining his position down the left side. I have seen Georgiou on a number of occasions at Academy and development squad level, and he certainly has great pace. He has occasionally been tried at left back, but his strength is to attack.

Hugo Lloris had to save low at the feet of substitute Kevin Strootman, who was prominent for Roma going forward. With 84 minutes on the clock, Georgiou did well against Peres and hit a rising sot from the edge of the box which the goalie tipped over. Three minutes later, Spurs had a goal back. Eriksen got into the left of the area, and passed to Janssen, whose weakish but well placed shot beat the keeper and his defence, but rebounded off the post. In the scramble near the left post it was Harry Winks who scored from close range.

It looked as if Spurs would get a draw in the first of three minutes added time. Nkoudou crossed from the right and Janssen met the ball with a clever flick to beat the keeper at the near post. Spurs’ joy was short-lived as Strootman raced away down the left after the restart, and his cross reached Tumminello at the back post for a late, late winner.

The result is obviously disappointing, but the match was competitive, with Spurs getting an early look at yet another potential Champions League opponent. Next up are Manchester City on Saturday (11pm kick-off UK time), who may of course feature Kyle Walker.

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