Tottenham Hotspur   5    AS Roma (Italy)   0      (Half-time score : 3-0)

Venue : White Hart Lane  
Sunday 10th August 2008
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,841
Referee :  Phil Dowd ()
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Sunny and rain showers
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

Gomes (Jansson 74)

Zokora (Gunter 63)     
Dawson (King 58)
Assou-Ekotto (Bale 46)

Dos Santos
Jenas (c) (O'Hara 70)
Modric (Huddlestone 58)
Bentley (Gilberto 70)

Berbatov (Lennon 46)

Unused subs: 

AS Roma :


Riise (Panucci 46)
Mexes (Loria 63)     
Juan (Andreoli 76)

De Rossi (c)     
Brighi (Esposito )

Montella (Okak Chuka 46)
Vucinic (Alvarez 76)

Unused subs: 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur


  AS Roma
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Bentley 3
Bent 5
Bentley 45
Lennon 50
Bent 54

AS Roma


Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Zokora  (unsporting behaviour) 62



AS Roma

Mexes (persistent fouling)  17
Cassetti (persistent fouling) 27
Perrotta (foul) 50
De Rossi (foul) 71
Aquilani (foul) 84

Aquilani (second yellow - foul) 86

Match Report : -  
While not too much should be read into this performance by Spurs, it did show that there will be a flow and a tempo to their play this season, which might take some teams by surprise in the coming months.

Beating a lacklustre Roma team and who appeared frankly disinterested in playing their part in this match will mean little come next Saturday, but a 5-0 victory gave the team confidence to play their game and to get a few players with some on-pitch time under their belts.  Using all the subs was a good idea and allowed Tottenham to keep their pace up through the 90 minutes.  Looking fresh and fit, the players appeared to be in good sprits and willing to show for the ball, none of them hiding among the open spaces left by the Italian side. 

For all the historical praise given to Italian defending, this was a poor showing of the art as the Roma side went into self-destruct and failed to show any impetus to attack Tottenham, while seeming content to kick the Spurs players rather than the ball.

One such early foul out on the left wing saw David Bentley cross the pitch to swing it in and Darren Bent went for it at the near post, but failed to get a touch, although he did enough to distract the Roma keeper Artur, who failed to react to it going across the goalmouth and in at the far post.  It was a dream start in the third minute for Bentley, who wondered what it would be like to score a goal at the Lane and he soon found out in his first game at home.  Within a couple of minutes it was 2-0 with Bent getting a touch on the ball this time.  Mexes compounded a pathetic start, which saw him commit some rash (to say the least) tackles from behind and then pass back to either his defensive partner Juan or his goalkeeper, but he only succeeded in finding Darren Bent, who, in his current scoring form, had no trouble tucking the ball under Artur to give Spurs a flying start.

One point of note of the first half performance was the attacking intent of both Zokora and Assou-Ekotto, who both got forward at every opportunity, with Didier especially showing a great turn of pace that took him through the Roma midfield with ease.

Phil Dowd finally lost patience with Mexes in the 18th minute, when he went through Bent, having done the same to Berbatov and dos Santos previously.  Cassetti followed soon after, with a string of fouls, some more cynical than others.

Berbatov headed over when found well by Giovani's cross in the 23rd minute, then Benoit Assou-Ekotto slid a good pass beyond the right back to find Jermaine Jenas running on and he struck a shot on goal, but the effort went over the top and he might have been better off pulling the ball low across the goal.

Roma's first serious attack came in the 37th minute and it was a well-worked piece of passing which went around the Spurs defender son the edge of the box, leaving Aquilani through in the area, but his weak effort was easily smothered by Gomes.  The only action the big Brazilian had before then had been to race out to clear as Vucinic raced through, but he was offside and Heurelho made sure he got some of the player too, as well as the ball !!  Three minutes after, Cassetti showed he can play, when he put in a cross to the far post and with Vucinic having a free header, he put in a tame one that was low, but straight at our goalie.

It was little to worry about, as a spat between Mexes and the Park Lane section of the crowd saw the French defender being heckled, which upset him and his colleagues, leaving his ball to De Rossi on the edge of his area giving the midfielder little option about what to do with it.  He sprayed it across the face of the penalty area and it was intercepted by David Bentley 25 yards out.  The new signing took it forward a couple of paces and smacked a drive past Artur's right hand and into the corner of the net for the third Tottenham goal in the last minute of the first half.

Normally, it would be a good time psychologically to score, but Roma had been lacking mental resolve almost from the time they walked out onto the pitch.  Both sides made two changes at the break, with Gareth Bale coming on for Assou-Ekotto and Lennon for Berbatov, moving Bentley to the left wing and dos Santos moving into a more advanced position just behind Bent.

The changes worked better for Tottenham than they did for Roma, as the lead was extended in the 50th minute.  A prod down the left wing by Bentley released Giovani, who jinked inside two defenders and squared to the edge of the box where Aaron Lennon ran onto the ball and side-footed it down the middle of the goal, beating the keeper's dive and a defender's stuck out leg.  It was a well crafted goal and dos Santos did very well to take on two strapping defenders, but used his skill. 

Four minutes on and a penetrating run by Zokora ended in a corner being earned and David Bentley took it.  Some tussling in the box saw Jonathan Woodgate throw a Roma defender to the floor and win the header on the cross, which fell to Darren Bent at the far post to bundle over the line to make the score 5-0.

Bent had a chance to rack up another hat-trick, but when Modric put him in, the striker hit his shot straight at Artur.  Some subs came and went, but then Cassetti, who seemed up for a fight all afternoon, was pushed over by Zokora in the corner and was involved in a spat which saw the Spurs defender booked and the Italian let off with a lecture from Phil Dowd, who realised that any action would have resulted in the player's dismissal.  Mexes might have gone before half time and with two petulant and cynical fouls on Lennon in the same number of minutes, Aquilani saw red, leaving Dowd with no choice after chasing the Spurs winger for 30 yards to take his legs away from under him.

Before that Bent once more broke through and hit the side netting, while Gomes had to dive out at sub Okaka Chuka's feet, showing he is brave as well as tall.  His only weakness at the moment is looking uncertain of his bearings when high crosses come dangerously close to the goal.  Such was the comfort of the victory that Ramos gave rookie keeper Oscar Jansson 15 minutes at the end and although he only had a couple of crosses to catch without pressure, he would benefit from playing in front of a big crowd and them getting behind him.

So, what was learned from this exercise ?  Giovani looked good on the ball and links the attack and midfield, with Modric the same.  The full backs (all four that played) look to get up in support of the attack, while Gilberto looks fitter than last season and he and Ledley felt calm enough to try out some of their tricks in their own penalty area.  Bentley is a good user of the ball and a good striker of it.  Woodgate and Dawson were strong in the middle of defence and Jenas held himself back in midfield, allowing others to get forward.  Gomes looks a secure keeper.  Bent looked a sharp goalscorer again, while Berbatov looked interested in the 45 minutes he played.

With Huddlestone, O'Hara and Lennon all looking comfortable on the ball and fit and full of energy, they changed the way the midfield played when they came on. 

I think that Ramos has a good number of options in personnel and the way the team will play in the coming season, leaving a variety of difficulties for the other sides we face to cope with.  Goals will also be a signature theme of the team, as they can now come from a number of sources.

It will be an interesting ride !!



Reaction : -



I don't know about AS, but in American pronunciation, I would think that Roma should change their name to EZ after that shambolic defensive display.

We pinged the ball around nicely and finished most of the chances we had, so it was a reasonable exercise in shooting practice, if the Italians hardly stretched us elsewhere.

I think the club might need to re-think who will give us a tough test ahead of the coming season next year, as Roma are still some way off being ready to begin their Serie A title challenge.










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