stunning strike by Jermain Defoe and a first goal from Michael Dawson,
Spurs saw off the robust Real Sociedad side that showed a cynical side
which I hope we don't see too often in Europe. A good practice for
what we might meet in the UEFA Cup was watched by a half-filled White
Hart Lane, which I hope won't be the same when it comes to the real
The new England manager Steve
McClaren watched on as two of his first squad hit the net and there were
impressive performances from the other English members of the team.
Most outstanding was the new Tottenham signing from St. Etienne - Didier
Zokora. His warm-up saw him energetic and all over the place.
This was reflected in his match performance, as he covered a huge amount
of ground and passed well too. His purchase might well mean we
don't miss Carrick too much.
The game itself was more competitive than the
Inter match, with Real closing down Spurs very quickly and not afraid to
stick a tackle in, the two bookings could easily have been doubled at
least. Lennon's pace was a constant threat to the Spanish defence
and he looked to be enjoying himself (apart from the kicks he got).
The early minutes of the game were played out
in midfield, with only a couple of crosses into the Tottenham area
causing concern, with Dawson and Assou-Ekotto dealing with them
effectively. With the new signing from Lens on the left and Lee
switched to the right, the full-backs showed a desire to over-lap and
get forward. Unfortunately, Lee's crossing was nto a whole lot
better from the right and Assou-Ekotto failed to receive the ball when
he was in acres of space. It is something that Spurs might be able
to utilise in the coming season.
The Tottenham goal came out of nothing.
Robinson's long punt was helped on by Berbatov's overhead kick, but it
fell to a Sociedad shirt. A loose bit of control allowed Davids to
nick the ball away and slip the ball through to Defoe. With a
striker's natural predatory skill, he latched onto it and took two
strides before hitting it with great power past Riesgo in the Real goal.
27 minutes gone and Spurs 1-0 up with a fine hit from Jermain, just
outside the box. And Tottenham almost went two up when a Zokora
corner was headed on by Dimitar and Jenas was on the spot to fire in a
shot that rose up and smacked back off the bar and away. The
keeper had done well to get in front of Jermaine, but he didn't do so
well when he chased after the referee to remonstrate about a supposed
foul on a defender and a yellow card was flashed in his direction after
he appeared to lay a hand on the official. It was more than he did
with Defoe's shot.
Spurs were playing the ball to Defoe's
strength. On the ground and through the defence, the supply was
seized on, using his pace to test the visiting back line. He got
away again, but a low ball across the face of the goal failed to reach
Aaron Lennon as Rekarte blasted it out of play for a corner. From
that, Sociedad broke upfield and passed the ball around the edge of the
area and when it came to Uranga, he curled a shot past Robinson, who saw
it late when Davenport ducked. There was a lack of shutting down
and Uranga was allowed too much time on the ball to get his shot away
from five ards outside the box.
Coming just before half-time, it was not the
best time to concede, but even I could not describe it as well as the
Babel Fish translation from the Real Sociedad ... "Gari Uranga it has
written down a goal of beautiful invoice from outside the area with a
flat firing with spiral."
The second half began with the same line-ups on
the pitch, with Spurs attacking the Paxton Road end with Defoe being fed
in the area by Assou-Ekotto and he wriggled away from two defenders
before crossing to Berbatov, who was unable to get sufficient power in
his header to trouble Riesgo. The Bulgarian was just over the bar
with a volley when Lennon's cross was sliced into the air and had a shot
Dimitar was also instrumental in the
construction of the second Spurs goal in the 61st minute. Zokora
hit another long corner and Berbatov nodded the ball back into the heart
of the penalty area where Davenport challenged the hesitant keeper and
when the ball dropped to ground, Michael Dawson was on the spot to smash
the ball into the net from six yards out. Only a lineman's flag
stopped the central defender claiming a second ten minutes later as he
scored in similar fashion.
In between the two Dawson "goals", the Real
side started to lose their cool. Alonso cynically tripped Lennon
as he raced away from the Sociedad midfield and the number 3 committed
three bad fouls without seeing a card from the referee somehow.
With the substitutes coming and going, the game started to exhibit a
lesser number of flowing moves, but one such string of passes saw Jenas
and Zokora exchange passes before Berbatov was released on the right.
As he cut in, it looked as though he would unleash a shot on goal, but
he unselfishly tried to set up Reto Ziegler, who was in space in the
area, but Leon dashed back to intercept at the cost of a corner.
There was on last moment of panic for Spurs, as
a ball into the area was nto adequately dealt with and it took Tom
Huddlestone to sort it out with a clearance, but the final whistle was
not far away and the game ended with victory for Spurs.
It was a good show by Spurs, as they made some
neat passing moved and as an exercise in some of the World Cup players
getting back into the groove after a break from action. Another
win and the mentality that Martin Jol wants to instil in the side has
been primed for the League campaign once again.