At the end of the Asia tour, Spurs lost out 0-2 to a South China side,
who were in more of a mood and shape to win the game than the mix and
match Tottenham side that was put out.
In 30 degree heat and a humidity that they
had experienced in Beijing, this was a game that Spurs would probably
rather have done without, but they did enough to win it in truth, with
only a good goalkeeping performance and a dodgy referee standing between
them and victory.
The early pace was set by the hosts and a
free-kick from captain Li Haiqiang flew over the bar from a long way out
and Jake Livermore had to be aware when Chan Siu Ki broke through the
middle, but luckily, the Spurs defender managed to tidy up with the
Chinese striker failing to control the pass. Jake was also in the
right place to stop Ki's shot with a good block.
With 12 minutes gone, Spurs at last put
together a forward move. A passage of passing involving John
Bostock, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jon Obika created space for Pav to shoot
and the keeper Zhang Chunhui did well to position himself to take the
effort cleanly. Four minutes later, Naughton almost played Hutton
through, but an intervention from Poon Yiu Cheuk broke things up, but
another move saw Bostock and Rose link well on the left wing to let the
winger put a ball into the goalmouth, but Jon Obika couldn't quite reach
Spurs were moving the ball well and
opened the left side of the South China defence, with Pavlyuchenko
putting Hutton away for a shot just over the bar, but he was adjudged to
be offside anyway. Rose was enjoying his role on the other flank,
as he beat his man to send over a cross for Obika, which was just too
high for the striker. In the spell of pressure, the closest
Tottenham came to a goal was a 30th minute effort from Bostock, when he
cut in from the left to fire a right foot shot that the keeper tipped
over the top in an exaggerated fashion. Bostock had shown a neat
skill in rolling his foot over the ball to fool his opponent.
Alan Hutton was being given free rein to
get up in attacking positions and when Obika laid the ball back into his
path in the 35th minute, it looked as though he might hit the target,
but a good tackle from Kin Pong denied him. Almost straight after,
Pav took a pass, turned his marker Carlos and struck a fine shot from 25
yards out, only to see Zhang Chunhui plunge to stop the ball to his
right and push it away from goal.
After the early threat, it had been all
Spurs, but there was a series of free-kicks to deal with, mainly
comfortably cleared away by the defence. So the final attacks of
the half came form Tottenham, as Rose was almost played through by
Jenas, but couldn't control the pass, then O'Hara, Rose and Jenas all
passed around the South China defenders to Roman Pavlyuchenko, who moved
the ball onto his right foot and hit a shot that the goalie stopped at
his near post with a good save.
With some substitutions at the break,
Spurs re-shaped for the second period and as Defoe and Keane came on,
Jermain joined Pav up front, so it was Obika who dropped back into
midfield alongside Robbie.
Six minutes into the half, a Spurs throw
from Naughton was won in the air by the opposition and Chan Siu Ki took
the ball as it dropped, about thirty yards out and to the left of the
penalty area, teed it up and hit a Bentley style shot that flew over
Gomes into the top of the net. It was a spectacular hit and one
which could have ended up anywhere, but as usual with shots of this
nature against Spurs, it ended up in the goal.
Tottenham showed a good response with
Pavlyuchenko's header to O'Hara's corner hitting defender Lee Wai Lun's
knee and going over the crossbar. It seemed as though luck was not
on our side. Chimbonda put Defoe in just on the left side of the
box, but his drive was too high and when O'Hara dinked a delightful ball
over the South China back line for Robbie Keane, the effort with the
outside of his right foot cleared the keeper, but hit the angle of bar
and post and bounced clear.
Pavlyuchenko once more tested Zhang
Chunhui from outside the box, but worse was to come for Tottenham, as
Chao Peng ran at Livermore in the box and pushed the bal past the
defender before running straight into him in the 69th minute. The
referee saw this as a foul and awarded the spot-kick, which was dinked
over the diving Gomes by captain Li Haiqiang.
Things could have been more embarrassing
for Tottenham with fifteen minutes to go, when Heurelho Gomes saved a
curling shot from Chao Peng Fei, when he might have used two team-mates
who were up with him. Luckily, Jake Livermore got a block in on
the follow-up to keep it 0-2.
Towards the end, it was all Spurs.
Saves which might be routine in the Premier League were made to look out
of this world by Zhang Chunhui. With 80 minutes on the clock,
Keane got the ball over the defence for Pavlyuchenko to hit a fierce
drive and the keeper flung himself up in the air to beat away the shot
and then flopped on a low shot from Lennon, who was played through by
Keane, as it looked like it might creep inside the post.
Keano took a shot that Gerard got in the
way of, O'Hara fires a free-kick on the edge of the box too high and
Defoe fired a late effort wide, as Spurs sought to get something from
As if losing wasn't bad enough ,the South
China side were wearing an Arsenal like red and white kit. As long
as that is the only game we lose this season to a side wearing it, that
will be fine by me.