[VIDEO GOALS] Tottenham 1-1 Orlando Pirates: Report & Goals As VDV Scores A Stunner

By on July 20, 2011

Final Score: Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Van der Vaart 17)  Orlando Pirates 1 (Jele 40)

Spurs Line up: Friedel; Naughton(Walker 45); Kaboul(Dawson 45); Khumalo; Rose; Bentley(Lennon 45); Palacios(Corluka 45); Modric(Jenas 60); Bale(Kranjcar 60); Van der Vaart(Keane 45); Defoe (Pavlyuchenko 45)

Spurs took to the pitch for their second game of the Vodacom Challenge to take on South African champions Orlando Pirates. The big news pre-match was the inclusion of Luka Modric in the starting line-up. That he was captaining the side may have surprised some but should be seen as a sign of ‘business as usual’ from Redknapp. This is exactly the line the club need to be taking so it’s pleasing to see the manager deliver on this front.

With the game getting off to a slow start a few things still stood out in the first quarter of an hour. Most importantly, Modric looked up for it and was keen to get stuck in. Also noticeable was the fact that Bongani Khumalo is not close to being good enough for Spurs. Khumalo has neither the intelligence or the ability to be worthy of a place on a team looking for Champions League qualification. Luckily, he improved in the second half but throughout the match Kaboul and Dawson had to be on hand to offer cover. Kaboul tending to use his improving reading of the game to step up and intercept., Dawson his familiar heroic tackling style. Both worked.

The game sparked into life when Spurs won a free kick in the 17th minute, a good ball from Danny Rose to Bentley who was bundled over on the edge of the box. Rafael Van der Vaart was always going to take the kick. He was also always going to score, he looked like he knew it and hit an absolute beauty curling and dipping into the postage stamp. Two keepers wouldn’t have been enough. If he can keep that up, no one will question him taking free kicks again.

Orlando Pirates then set about dominating possession, they looked technically proficient in keeping the ball but lacked any penetration. Spurs continued to threaten on the break, mainly Bale bursting down the left. Modric continued to impress and he linked impressively with Van der Vaart on a couple of occasions. It was however much the same as last season with moves foundering on the last ball or in one case with Defoe failing to get enough of a touch on a superb Bale cross. Throughout the match, other than that ball,  Bale’s delivery was poor but it’s early in pre season and he otherwise looks to be finding form. Bale also got in on the free kick action, having a good dipping effort tipped over by the keeper. Spurs set pieces in the first half in general were better than usual. David Bentley even beat the first man with a corner, an ‘I was there moment’ for any fans having made the trip.

For the first 40 minutes, Brad Friedel went untroubled as the Pirates continued to try their luck from distance, with little accuracy. His first test however must go down as a big fail. The full back, Happy Jele burst into the box and struck the ball high and hard, Friedel flapped one hand at the ball and did nothing to stop the equaliser. Of course had Khumalo moved to close the shot down Brad may not have had to do anything. The South Africans were encouraged by this and Spurs seemed unnerved.  Just before half time the Pirates got the ball in the net a second time, splitting the Spurs defence open but the assistant referee correctly called the offside.

There were the usual raft of half time changes with the most notable being Corluka taking his place in the defending midfield role, replacing the enthusiastic but wayward passing Palacios. Coruka played that role for around half a season with Manchester City and looked as though it could be a short term answer to Sandro’s absence. His lack of pace is less likely to be exposed in the centre when he’ll just be asked to sit and hold and he clearly works well with his compatriot Modric.

Another reason that Corluka may fancy the midfield role is that the undoubted star for Spurs in the second half was Kyle Walker. Walker displayed his quality at both ends of the pitch. He burst forward impressively on a number of occasions notably to set up a Niko Kranjcar chance late on. Walker also showed great maturity and vision to take a quick throw to put Robbie Keane clean through. Keane missed the ball completely, but it was great thinking by Kyle. Defensively he’s also continuing to grow. His positioning has come on, yet even when caught out his pace and physicality still make him favourite to win out. One tackle in the box in particular was a true ‘thou shall not pass’ moment. He looks keen to claim right back for himself from the off this season.

Much of the second half was disjointed due to the multiple substitutions (notably when Modric was taken off he enthusiastically high fived Redknapp) although both teams occasionally threatened to provide a spark. Lennon had a couple of bursts forward, Danny Rose put in a couple of challenging crosses and Niko Kranjcar spurned a fantastic chance when put through by Keane. Niko also had a speculative lob from 60 yards, the ball harmlessly passing over the bar to the keepers relief. At the other end, Michael Dawson had to make a superb 80th minute to tackle to prevent the Pirates getting clean through.

Spurs got some match practice into some more players and there are some definite positives to be taken from this but the usual concerns hang over such a creatively gifted side. That our only goal came from a set piece is a concern. However the need for a top class striker to hold the ball up, link play, provide top quality movement and a threat in the air and on the ground is hardly a secret. That none none of the strikers can play well with Van der Vaart and as he proved with his all round play as well as his goal, he’s a world class player who the attack should be built around is still Spurs biggest problem.

There remain weaknesses in other areas. Jermaine Jenas is not the man needed in rotation with Modric, Bentley doesn’t offer enough to warrant a spot in the squad so more depth out wide is needed. Neither Cudicini or Friedel have looked impressive in South Africa and question marks must still hang over Gomes confidence if not his future at the club. Danny Rose is one that continues to grow. He seems to relish life at left back, going into tackles with gusto and providing an overlapping force when needed. Rose, along with Walker and Van der Vaart were the stand out players and it’s to be hoped we can continue to improve as a unit in Saturdays final.

COYS

Watch the goals from the match here

Submitted by Stuart Watts from www.thfc1882.com

 

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One Comment

  1. D.Mbebe

    July 20, 2011 at 10:43 am

    when r so called big football leagues admit that chiefs/pirates outplayed this overatted spurs team, we just need good strikers to kill them off

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