south africa tour 2011
tottenham hotspur left to play a pre-season tournament
in south africa in july 2011.
playing orlando pirates and kaizer chiefs for the vodacom challenge trophy, spurs
eased their way back into playing with their first games prior to the 2011-12 season.
Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Kaizer Chiefs 1 (Lesebe 89)
An inauspicious start to the pre-season campaign saw Spurs lose out to a last minute goal from George Lesebe, as Kaizer Chiefs won this first pre-season game for Tottenham in South Africa.
The performance by Spurs is best described as laid back and the number of substitutions, designed to give players an early run-out to get some stiffness out of their legs, was nothing more than that. There was little decisive passing nor a great deal of positive running, with only the ever-energetic Gareth Bale showing any determination when he entered play as a half-time substitute.
The early exchanges saw Spurs have an early chance when a third minute ball over the top from Hutton could not be caught by Robbie Keane, who perhaps displayed that his legs are not quite there at the moment. The keeper gathered, when it looked like Keane would be able to get to the ball, but it proved not to be. Huddlestone had already been caught late by this time, but he recovered after receiving treatment.
South African World Cup goal-scorer Siphewe Tshabalala easily went past Sebastien Bassong and lashed a shot at goal from just inside the box, but it flew high over the bar and Kranjcar hit a weak shot wide of the goal at the other end.
The Chiefs striker Majoro looked a real character, with his hair on stalks, but he did turn out to be the major threat, although 'threat' was perhaps more to the crowd behind the goal than to our own net. A number of presentable chances fell his way, but he fluffed them all. The closest he came was in the 11th minute, when he turned on a loose ball ten yards out and Bassong got a touch on it to take it over.
With the home team looking sharper and more up for it, Tshabalala rasped a shot from 25 yards that flew just wide of Cudicini's left hand upright with 15 minutes gone and the same player was denied another opportunity, when Benni Assou-Ekotto managed to reach Majoro's pass to stop it reaching the striker. Having started with Carlo Cudicini in goal, Spurs were relieved that Majoro is more famous for his hair than his goal-scoring ability. A low shot from Dladla forced the keeper to dive to his right to save, but he only pushed the ball out to Majoro. All he had to do was knock it back past Cudicini, but somehow, he managed to put the ball wide of the opposite side of the goal and the chance went begging. It was a real let-off for Tottenham, but more was to come.
A short throw-in on our right saw Bentley head back to Hutton, who took an air shot at the ball and let Motaung free to cross into the near post, where it was met by a header from Majoro, but from a couple of yards out, he failed to hit the target and the ball went too high to trouble Cudicini. That was in the 36th minute and then two minutes before the break, Tshabalala put a corner to the far post, where, once more, it was Majoro who was there, rising to head it, but he could not get any direction on the effort and the ball ended up glancing off him and going wide.
And that was it for the first half. Chiefs looked the more likely to score and Spurs, apart from a couple of poor shots from Kranjcar and a couple of decent crosses from Bentley looked like they were stuck in first gear.
It must be said the vuvuzelas that were in evidence did not continue throughout the match and the home fans looked scary in their huge glasses/Chiefs-related head-dress combos, while the TV cameras were keen to pick out those who were giving the throat slitting gestures and there was one fan who had a hat designed like a grave, with the inscription "RIP Tottenham" on the side of it.
Anyway, the second half started with a new look Tottenham side taking the field. Lennon, Bale, Kaboul, van der Vaart, Pavlyuchenko, Corluka and Crouch all took their place in the team and it was hoped that this might make a difference. And it did to a certain extent, but Majoro caused the first threat of the second half, when he forced Cudicini to make an unconvincing scrambled save at his near post five minutes in, that the keeper fumbled for a corner. The Chiefs waited until the 64th minute to make the majority of their changes, but only made five to Tottenham's seven !!
Pav was as infuriating as he can be; with players available, he fired a 67th minute shot well over, but a minute later, Bale's cross form the left was met well by Crouch, rising above his marker, to head down to the foot of the left hand post, but Khune dived sharply to get two hands to it and keep it out. It was a very good stop and Spurs thought they had broken the deadlock. van der Vaart shot over from a 20 yard free-kick and Bongani Khumalo came on for his first appearance in the first team back in his homeland.
With ten minutes left, along ball found Crouch's head and he flicked on for Bale to break away on the left. He got past his marker, but from a tight angle struck a shot that flew over the top. Chiefs had their chances with Musona hitting a shot well wide when well placed and Nela playing a low ball back across the box, but Musona could not reach it. Lesebe had a shot that went very close to the outside of the post, with Cudicini wither very confident it was going wide or not having a chance to react !! I think it might have been the latter.
Gareth Bale, who had looked the most likely to score for Spurs, hit another shot, this time into the side netting and when Spurs won a late corner, it looked like their last chance to score. But it proved not to be. Bale's stinging volley from van der Vaart's return pass on the edge of the box, was well saved by Khune and when the ball came in from the corner, it was cleared and Spurs found themselves outnumbered at the back. When the ball was played across with a short pass from left to right to Lesebe, he was in the clear to poke the ball past Cudicini from around the penalty spot.
It was a sucker punch, but one that might not have been unexpected, as Spurs were not giving it 100% and had been lucky to find themselves up against a striker like Majoro, who should have had a hat-trick.
Useful for getting the team a game as they start their build-up to the new season, but really, this was nothing to bother sending a postcard home about.
Teams : -
THFC : -
Cudicini, Hutton (Corluka 46), Bassong (Khumalo 74), Dawson (cpt)
(Kaboul 46), Assou-Ekotto, Bentley (Lennon 46), Huddlestone (van der
Vaart 46), Jenas, Kranjcar (Bale 46), Keane (Pavlyuchenko 46), Defoe
|Tuesday 19th July
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
(van der Vaart 16)
The second game of this pre-season tournament saw Tottenham travel to Nelspruit to meet the South Africa Champions, Orlando Pirates.
This match was more competitive, with some heavier tackles going in, but there was still an air of insouciance about Spurs as they gave away possession too easily and looked less than threatening to a side, who were opened up, but while they possessed good skills, they did not look like they were going to be that threatening to the Tottenham goal that often. When they were, they found a hesitant Brad Friedel making his first Spurs appearance in goal.
Spurs had the first chance of the game in the seventh minute, with Palacios moving the ball onto Defoe, who spread to wide for Bale to take on his man and fire a shot from tight to the line, but it rose over the bar and went for a goal-kick. Klate struck a shot wide in the 12th minute and tow minutes later, Danny Rose did well to get in the way of a shot from Chansa and the ball went up in the air and landed just over the bar.
David Bentley, starting for the second time, saw a shot saved by the keeper, although it was straight at him, but the net time the winger was in possession, he was brought down 25 yards out on the right hand corner of the penalty area. Notoriously poor from free-kicks, it was a real surprise when Rafael van der Vaart stepped up to curl the ball over the wall and the ball dipped as it went past Meyiwa in the 16th minute into the top corner. It was a very well struck free-kick that deserved a goal.
The Pirates hit back with a good chance two minutes after the goal and Ndulula got his head to a near post cross from Jele, but the ball went across the face of the goal and wide of the far post . Defoe had a glimpse of a chance when Bale put in a low cross in the 21st minute, but with a defender close to him and the keeper coming to meet the cross, he cold only get a touch on the ball that failed to trouble the goal. On the half hour mark, the home team had another opportunity, as Chansa had a pop from long range and the ball skipped off the grass, missing the goal by feet, with Friedel diving after it, but not getting a touch.
A couple of minutes later and the action moved to the other end, when VDV was brought down and Bale took this free-kick from the same corner of the penalty box, but his shot ended up in the middle of the goal, but Meyiwa had to make a good save to push the ball over the bar, when it looked like it might end up just under it. However, what looked like an innocuous short throw in on the Spurs right wing ended up in the back of the net with 40 minutes gone. The Spurs players around the ball left too much space to be played around and Jele took the ball from Chansa to move into the right hand side of the 18 yard box and from a tight angle crashed a shot at goal, that Freidel tried to keep out one handed, but only succeeded in flapping it into his own net. It was not his finest moment and we will have to hope that he is getting it out of his system during pre-season and will not repeat it during the league and European campaigns ahead.
The Bucs had the taste for it now and in the last five minutes and added time gave Spurs come frights. Segolela came inside to fire a shot straight into Friedel's chest and then Ndulula hit one just wide. It almost got worse on the stroke of half-time when the ball ended up in the Spurs net after Friedel could only push Segolela's low shot straight to Klate, who knocked it back past him, but he had been offside when the first effort came in and the linesman correctly raised his flag to disallow the goal.
At half-time, everybody had a chance to draw breath and Spurs made their customary changes to introduce Walker, Dawson, Corluka, Lennon, Keane and Pavlyuchenko in place of Naughton, Kaboul, Bentley, Palacios, van der Vaart and Defoe. The Pirates waited until the 65 minute mark to make most of their changes, so the second half was a little more disjointed, especially on the part of Tottenham, who provided a lesson in how not to retain possession and only profligate finishing let the South Africans down.
But the first two chances of the half fell to Spurs, with Bale's run and cross to the far post finding Aaron Lennon, who could only shoot the ball back the way it came and well wide. The second came from Walker's quick throw-in that caught Robbie Keane out as much as it had the Pirates defence. In the 62nd minute Spurs should have regained the lead when Keane played the ball back to Kranjcar on the left of the six yard box and he dinked a little shot over the goalkeeper, but it lacked sufficient power to beat Sangweni on the line and he hacked the ball clear.
Pav tried to test Meyiwa in the Pirates goal, but pulled his shot well wide and then Danny Rose got forward and hit in a low cross that the goalie spilled, but got to the loose ball before Keane could. Substitute Mayambela went close with a 25 yard shot that missed by a few inches and ten minutes from the end, it took a last ditch effort from Michael Dawson to prevent Manyisa from capitalising on Bester's flick on into the box.
The game came to an end with the home side's players performing tricks on the ball, much to the cheers of their fans in the crowd. Not that it got them anywhere and it only served to wind up Jenas and Walker, who went after some of the perpetrators.
Another lack-lustre Spurs performance and although they are building up to the new season, which is still a way off, they look a way off the pace and even the basics are lacking, allowing the home sides to look good in comparison.
Teams : -
THFC : - Friedel,
Naughton (Walker 46), Khumalo, Kaboul (Dawson 46), Rose, Bentley
(Lennon 46), Palacios (Corluka 46), Modric (cpt) (Jenas 61), Bale
(Kranjcar 61), van der Vaart (Keane 46), Defoe (Pavlyuchenko 46)
Saturday 23rd July
Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
(van der Vaart 35, van der Vaart 53, Defoe 85)
The final of the Vodacom Challenge saw Tottenham Hotspur face Orlando Pirates four days after meeting them in the initial games of the tournament. The strange set-up of this trophy means that the visiting club get through to the final whatever the results, so the Bucs won their way through courtesy of a 1-0 win over the Chiefs on Thursday night.
At last, Spurs put on a bit of a performance and with the football played by the South Africans appreciably better than when Tottenham visited a few years back, the only area that they seem to be lacking in is finishing. They created lots of chances against a less than peak form Spurs side, but only found the net once each in the initial matches. Spurs could easily have been on the receiving end of this result, but took their chances, while the Pirates failed to claim their bounty by missing the opportunities to score when raiding into the Spurs box.
Once more, a mix and match XI took to the field in Spurs shirts. Some first team regulars and some more fringe members of the squad made up the side, but this time the almost wholesale change of players at the break did not take place and more measured changes brought about the result Harry Redknapp was no doubt looking for.
Heurelho Gomes got his game as all three keepers were entrusted with 90 minutes each and he looked about the best of the three. He wasn't called upon that often to be in action, making a good stop from a late shot, diving the wrong way for a penalty and putting in an unconvincing punch when he could have caught the ball, although eh did take a good catch from a cross later.
While the early action saw both teams probing for an opening, in the tenth minute, a slip by Kyle Walker allowed some space for Manyisa away on the left, but the Spurs defender recovered with the speed he is noted for and blocked the shot for a corner. From it, Mbuyane had a free header and managed to get a lot of power into it, but no the direction to beat Gomes and the ball whizzed past the upright.
Teams : -
THFC : -
Gomes, Walker (Hutton 46), Khumalo, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon
(Pavlyuchenko 46), Huddlestone (Palacios 46), Modric (cpt) (Bale 70),
(Kranjcar 46), van der Vaart, Crouch (Defoe 46)
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