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Juventus v Spurs, 21.07.19 (ICC)

(at the Singapore National Stadium)
(7.30pm – local time)

Juventus scorers:-
Higuain, 56
Ronaldo, 60

Spurs scorers:-
Lamela, 30
Lucas Moura, 65
Kane, 90 (+3)

Attendance:- 50,443

Referee:- Mr. Ahmad A’Qashah (Singapore)

Juventus (4-3-3):- Buffon (sub Szczesny, 46); Joao Cancelo, Bonucci (Capt.) (sub De Ligt, 62), Rugani (sub Demiral, 46), De Sciglio; Emre Can (sub Rabiot, 46), Pjanic (sub Kastanos, 75), Matuidi (sub Muratore, 75); Bernardeschi, Mandzukic (sub Higuain, 46), Ronaldo (sub Pereira, 62)

Subs not used:- Loria(GK), Pinsoglio (GK); Idrissa Toure, Alessandro Di Pardo, Pietro Beruatto, Luca Coccolo, Frederiksen, Mavididi

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Gazzaniga; Walker-Peters (sub Marsh, 71), Alderweireld (Capt.) (sub Foyth, 46), Tanganga (sub Vertonghen, 46), Georgiou (sub White, 71); Skipp (sub Bowden, 90), Winks (sub Roles, 63); Lamela (sub Ndombele, 63), Dele (sub Sissoko, 46), Son (sub Lucas Moura, 46); Parrott (sub Kane, 46)
(Kane took armband at half-time)

Subs not used:- Whiteman (GK), De Bie (GK); Lyons-Foster, Eriksen

Booked:- Parrott (foot high)

Phenomenal goal by Kane wins entertaining opener

A simply phenomenal goal by Harry Kane won Spurs their opening International Champions Cup game against Juventus in the Singapore National Stadium. At 2-2 and with little more than a minute of added time remaining, it looked as if this game would have to be decided by penalties. However, Juventus lost possession near the half-way line; Lucas Moura intercepted and fed the ball to Kane, who was literally no more than two yards inside the Juventus half. Kane had spotted former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny off his line and hit a glorious Beckhamesque (or should I say Nayim-like) shot over the advanced keeper and into the net for what will be remembered as the goal of the tournament and a most incredible winner!

Mauricio Pochettino had left some people at home – some to recover from injury, and some to find new clubs, including Danny Rose, which is controversial in the eyes of some Spurs fans. Here in Singapore, Hugo Lloris was unavailable due to a bout of tonsillitis, and Christian Eriksen was not formally named amongst the subs. However, Eriksen had arrived at the stadium with the squad and during the second half was seen exercising what is thought to be a slight groin strain.

Juve, now managed of course by ex-Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, had a strong starting line-up including Ronaldo, captain Bonucci, Pjanic, Emre Can, Bernardeschi and Mandzukic. The Italians had their former long-serving goalkeeper and captain Buffon, who had returned after his one-season sojourn with PSG. Another former PSG man – midfielder Adrien Rabiot – was on the bench, along with the likes of De Ligt (signed from Ajax) and Higuain, who has followed Sarri back from his loan at Chelsea.

On paper, the Spurs defence, led by Toby Alderweireld (first half captain) was weak with the untried Tanganga beside him, and Kyle Walker-Peters and Anthony Georgiou occupying the full back positions. Walker-Peters acquitted himself well, particularly in the opposition half. Perhaps because of their weakened defence, Spurs took on a high-pressing attacking strategy. Dele played a deep midfield role, but still got forward well to combine with the likes of Lamela, Son, and first team debutant Troy Parrott. Parrott is still only 17 and plays ahead of his age group for the Republic of Ireland. On the form he showed today, Troy will be getting more first team outings in the coming season. He and Son worked in tandem more than once, and Troy’s saved shot led to Lamela’s first half goal.

Juve were missing another former Arsenal man, Aaron Ramsey, who is injured. Spurs held Vertonghen, Foyth, new boy Ndombele, Lucas Moura and Kane in reserve for the second half. 18 year old Oliver Skipp almost played the full 90 + minutes with Gazzaniga, but had to go off as added time commenced. Skipp performed very well, and has been seen literally running rings around a fellow player or two in training this week!

Spurs kicked off and it wasn’t too long before it became evident that the Spurs squad were probably a week sharper than Juventus in their fitness levels. I think Juve only returned last week. Both teams wanted to play out from the back, and the Italians were nearly caught out in the first minute. With Son and Parrott just unable to take full advantage. Juve lost possession after 3 minutes and Skipp fed the ball to Parrott, who was just right of centre. Parrott passed to Son, on his left, and “Sonny”’s shot hit Buffon’s right post. Two minutes later Ronaldo was ready to pounce upon a cross from the left, but the ball was just intercepted and went for a corner.

Anthony Georgiou was also getting forward well, and after he passed inside to Parrott, troy teed up Son, whose shot was held. Ronaldo again had a chance at the other end, and seemed to delay his attempt, allowing Alderweireld to block. Walker-Peters was onto a great long ball deep into the Juventus half, and was fouled with Lamela taking the free kick. Dele challenged for the ball which ran to Georgiou just outside the area, whose shot was off target. Ronaldo had space towards the left of the Spurs area when Joao Cancelo crossed, but the shot passed wide.

Dele gave Sonny another opportunity with a ball from a central position outside the box. Sonny was on the right, but fired wide. After half an hour, Spurs again attacked in force and they were 4 against 3 with Dele, Son and Parrott accompanied by Lamela. Son passed outside to Parrott, whose shot from the right of goal was saved by Buffon but could only be parried to Lamela, who followed up and scored with ease. It was a deserved lead for Spurs. The goal was followed by a drinks break, because of the hot climate, which enabled a micro-coaching session by Pochettino.

Spurs played out of defence with the ball reaching Georgiou, who passed inside to Dele. Dele had just over-hit one such intended through ball, and Son was offside for this one. In the absence of Eriksen, Dele was looking a good potential playmaker!

Mandzukic had a header held by Gazzaniga after a cross from the left, before Ronaldo could not quite connect with his intended header for another cross. Parrott was booked just before the break with a high footed challenge to an opponent’s head, which might have brought worse punishment in a Premier League game. Parrott has every reason though to be proud of his debut. He was one of five players substituted at half-time.

Spurs’ centre-backs were now Foyth and Vertonghen. Sissoko replaced Dele, and Harry Kane and Lucas Moura took over from Parrott and Son respectively.

Juventus had clearly had a half-time shake up by Sarri, and showed more determination and sharpness in the opening stages. At the same time, without Dele on the field, and with no Eriksen, we did seem to be missing important creativity in the final third. Sissoko got in an early foul on Ronaldo, and Foyth did well inside the Spurs area when Ronaldo threatened the goal. Harry Winks sent a good ball to Lamela, who was central and immediately threaded a ball to Lucas Moura, who without doubt was fouled inside the area, but go no penalty. There was no VAR in Singapore!

A Bernardeschi shot from the edge of the area was well held by Gazzaniga, and at the other end a great right foot drive by Lucas Moura passed wide of the goalkeeper’s left post. Higuain equalised for the Italian side though. Ronaldo and Pjanic had been involved in the build-up before Higuain had a one-two exchange with Bernardeschi and scored with a right footed shot from the edge of the box.

Harry Kane had had one effort when he shot wide across the goal, but after Higuain’s goal he headed a Lamela cross wide of the mark. Juventus soon took the lead through Ronaldo who almost punted a right foot shot after De Sciglio had got the better of Walker-Peters.

Ronaldo was soon replaced by 21 year old Brazilian Matheus Pereira, whilst new signing De Ligt took over from Bonucci. Spurs’ record signing Tanguy Ndombele replaced Lamela and Jack Roles came on for Winks. Ndombele made an immediate impact with an assist from what might have been his first touch. He hit an angled pass cross the area to the right which was met beautifully by Lucas Moura on the stretch scoring with his right foot. Two minutes later Harry Kane had the ball on the edge of the box, towards the right and passed to Ndombele who pushed his shot wide across the goal.

Bernardeschi brought a very good save by Gazzaniga, diving to his right after 69 minutes. Kyle Walker-Peters was replaced by George Marsh and Georgiou by Harvey White. White is usually a midfielder, but took over at left back. Marsh similarly took on the right back role, and had quite a lot of involvement, particularly in the opponents’ half. Jack Roles had already made one or two notable long passes, and he was on the end of a move which featured Marsh, and Lucas Moura, before his shot was held.

After another drinks break, Sissoko had a storming upfield run and passed to Kane, who came in from the right before hitting a left foot shot which Szczesny held. Higuain had a very good chance at the other end, but put his right foot shot wide of the far post.

Another Academy youngster – Jamie Bowden (who has previously travelled with the first team squad) – replaced Skipp, before the amazing conclusion to the game. Spurs’ quest to defend their ICC trophy has had a great start. Next up we play Manchester United in Shanghai on Thursday. I might have to sign up to MUTV to see that one!

· Harry Kane's phenomenal goal can be viewed here.

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