FA PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 19TH SEPTEMBER, 1999
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (1) COVENTRY CITY 2 (0)
Referee:- A. D'Urso
Teams:- Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Perry, Young, Taricco; Leonhardsen, Freund, Sherwood, Ginola ( sub Dominguez, 59 ); Armstrong ( sub Nielsen, 85 ), Iversen
Subs not used:- Baardsen; Edinburgh, King
Coventry (4-4-2):- Hedman; Edworthy, Konjic, Shaw, Burrows ( sub P. Hall, 83 ); Chippo, Williams, McAllister, Froggatt ( sub M. Hall, 59 ); Hadji, Keane
Subs not used:- Nuzzo (GK); Breen; Strachan
Booked:- Hadji, Shaw, Konjic
Steffen Iversen scored the first, and made the other two Spurs' goals, to give the home side suitable reward for their domination of the first 50 minutes of this game. It looked as if George Graham's threat of his team getting five or six sometime was going to be achieved today, but to their credit, Coventry took up the challenge, and were allowed back into the game, with two goals, to keep the home fans on their toes. In truth, if Iversen had taken all his chances, he could have scored as many as Shearer today ( he scored 5 in Newcastle's 8-0 drubbing of Sheffield Wednesday ), but for the neutral, this was an entertaining and open game. Spurs have yet to keep a clean sheet in the league this season, and George Graham must be really keen to get Sol Campbell back to fitness.
It was Coventry who got the first chance on goal, as Moroccan International Mustapha Hadji was allowed a run and a low shot at goal, which beat Walker, but just brushed the post. Spurs then took up the reins, as a Ginola free kick was headed in by Perry to leave Armstrong in front of Hedman. Hedman saved the shot, and a free kick was awarded against Armstrong in any case. Spurs took the lead after 7 minutes. Ginola, being policed by up to three defenders, won a throw in, from which he passed to Taricco. The Argentinian left back put over a perfect cross for Iversen to step forward and shoot high into the goal for his third of the season.
Some good midfield play then led to Armstrong sending over a low cross from the right, which was just in front of the advancing Iversen. Iversen soon headed down for Armstrong to set up Ginola for a decent shot. After 18 minutes, Ginola sent a beautiful long ball into the area, and Iversen only had the keeper to beat. Hedman managed to block the shot with his feet however. Sherwood then fired over, after Iversen and Leonhardsen gave him a chance on the right side of the area. Iversen and Leonhardsen have a good understanding, being International team-mates, and their partnership continues to pay dividends for Spurs.
With 20 minutes gone, it was hard to believe that we were only one up. Both Leo and Armstrong had chances to score in a scramble inside the area, but somehow, Coventry managed to clear the danger. Robbie Keane showed plenty of skill, having the ability to shield the ball, pass decently, and make piercing runs. He was later to show why Spurs should have taken the risk that other Premiership clubs declined, with a fine goal, but Luke Young kept pace with him for most of the game. Coventry's Moroccans both have flair going forward, and although he got plenty of stick for getting upset at a Carr challenge, Gary McAllister still has plenty of quality to offer at this level. It was McAllister who had Coventry's only other decent chance of the first half, as he picked up a loose ball but fired straight at Walker.
After some good work by Ginola, Freund shot just wide after a one-two with Leonhardsen. Leonhardsen then forced a save from a narrow angle, after meeting a Sherwood free kick at the far post. Five minutes before half time, Sherwood picked up a loose ball, and crossed to Iversen, who had time to measure his shot, but hit the ball low, across the goal, but just wide.
Spurs had good chances to increase their lead as the second half opened, but both Armstrong and Iversen failed to convert a Leonhardsen free kick from the right. Ginola put Iversen through, and Steff really should have shot at goal, but he chose to try and pass to Armstrong, but the ball was cleared for a corner. Spurs did shortly increase their lead though, from a Ginola corner. Iversen met it with a header, and the ball hit Armstrong in front of the goalkeeper. Having prevented the ball from going over the line, Armstrong redeemed himself, by turning and firing home his first goal of the season.
Only two minutes later, Spurs were three up. Armstrong received a long ball, and chested it to Iversen. Steff chipped over the defence, and Leonhardsen headed the ball on, then hit a super right foot shot into the net. He was rightly acclaimed by the crowd, who recognise a worker, and an achiever.
Coventry soon got one back. This was the start of a spell of the game, when the referee Andy D'Urso just could not seem to get anything right. Freund appeared to be the victim of a heavy foul by Williams, but the ref let the game go on, and Spurs were caught on the hop to allow right back Edworthy a free run down the right. He found Keane, who turned the defender, and slotted past Walker.
George Graham chose to replace Ginola with Dominguez on the hour, and much of the creative ability was removed. The midfield was being surrendered for too much of the time, and Sherwood, who is a little out of form this week, was sending too many balls astray. Coventry played with some gusto, and Chippo scored a fine solo goal after 74 minutes. His first shot on goal was saved, but he easily sent the rebound into the net.
Spurs then felt a little pressure, which seemed crazy, considering their earlier domination, but there were late chances for Carr, and Iversen. The latter really should have made it 4-2, after Nielsen and Dominguez had given him yet another chance in front of goal, but the shot was diverted for a corner
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