A single Jermain Defoe shot was scant reward for an impressive
dominating performance by Spurs as they moved into the final of the Asia
Trophy in Beijing.
unable to get off work and with the chances of avoiding the score in an
office full of football fans, I drive home knowing what to expect in
terms of the outcome, but not what came before the final whistle.
The way that Tottenham played at a sharp
tempo in hot, humid conditions and passed the ball well for the majority
of the game had the Irons chasing around and getting frustrated.
That spilled over on a couple of occasions, with Mark Noble fronting up
to Jamie O'Hara who caught him a little late with a light kick and then
Faubert hacked O'Hara down near the end, but got away without a card.
At the start of the game, Tottenham took
the game to the East London side with new signing Kyle Naughton, playing
on the right side of midfield, sending over a pacy cross that had keeper
Rob Green nervously watching as it went over the top by a narrow margin.
Tom Huddlestone from a free kick 25 yards out and skipper for the day
Luka Modric from the edge of the area, both went close to the goal-post,
but the wrong side of it from Tottenham's point of view. West Ham
had an early opportunity, when Jiminez put in a free-kick that Collins
won well, but could only guide straight to Cudicini.
Despite the feisty tackling, the only
major injury was suffered by Boa Morte, who went to challenge
Assou-Ekotto, but went down after twisting his ankle and damaging his
cruciate ligaments in his knee.
The Croatian Modric was linking the
midfield to the forward line, with Jamie O'Hara playing neat triangles
on the left, but sometimes failing to deliver the final cross into the
danger areas. From the left hand side of the box, Roman
Pavyluchenko crashed a shot on goal that Green fumbled and the keeper
could only watch Naughton's cross-shot from the right that flashed
through the six yard box. When Noble gave the ball away to O'Hara,
the Spurs midfielder plaid it into the path of the Russian forward and
he curled a right foot shot wide of Green, but saw his shot come back
off the upright. Collins got across to block his follow up, but
the defender was nowhere shortly after, as Jamie tried to replicate
Pav's go and his shot left Green standing, watching the ball narrowly go
wide. Roman had another chance when the ball was chipped to him
along the edge of the 18 yard line by a West Ham defender and he took
the shot leaning back, leading to the ball rising over the bar.
Luka that finished the first half with a run
past a coupe of players and a shot that went
narrowly wide once more. The stats
showed Spurs had only two shots on target in
the first half, but the dominance was not
reflected in the figures.
replacing Pavlyuchenko at the break and West
Ham taking off the ineffective Kieron Dyer,
Spurs maintained their superiority over the
Irons. Defoe spent most of the second
half peppering the West Ham goal with shots
as soon as he got the ball, but failed to
hit the target most times. Redknapp
brought on Lennon to torment a defence who
had already had the run-around, taking the
place of Naughton, who had a good game.
Keane slipped Modric through, but he
found Green coming out to meet him quickly, leaving the Irons still in
with a chance of getting something from the game. Collins turned
on a ball that fell to him just outside the box, but he failed to get
any power on the shot, with O'Hara taking some sting out of it too,
leaving Carlo Cudicini to bend down to field the ball.
The Tottenham goal had been coming for
some time, but it was a gaffe by Rob Green that allowed Spurs the lead
when it came in the 75th minute. Substitute Aaron Lennon slipped a
pass through the middle of the Irons defence, with Upson and Collins
holding out for an offside decision that didn't (and shouldn't have)
come. Defoe took the ball on from 25 yards out to the edge of the
box and let go a low shot to Green's right and it was close enough to
the keeper that he could get neither his hand nor foot to the ball
It was only at the end that West Ham
threatened and a low ball into the box was met by Carlton Cole ahead of
Huddlestone, but he could only scoop the ball well over Cudicini's bar
with eight minutes left.
A final against Hull City awaits, with
the Tigers having beaten local side Beijing Gouan 5-4 on penalties.
Will Harry get his hands on the trophy he won two years back with Pompey
? Tune in at lunch-time on Sky to find out. I've got my day
off booked !!
BENNY THE BALL