|Tottenham Hotspur 2 FC Porto 0 (Half-time score : 0-0)|
|Friendly||Venue : White Hart Lane|
|Saturday 6th August 2005||Kick Off : 15.00 p.m.|
|Crowd : 36,221||Referee : Mr. D. Richards|
|Weather : Cloudy, but also some very warm sunshine|
|Teams : -|
Robinson (Cerny 46)
Lucho (Ibson 62)
|Colours : - (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)|
|Scorers : -|
|Cards : -|
|Match Report : -|
The return of Helder Postiga was greeted with a mixture of boos and cheers, but it was his replacement who stole the show with two lobs of precision and coolness that saw off the Portuguese friendly opposition.
But more than that, this game was notable for the Spurs debut of Edgar Davids, the club's new free transfer midfielder. Cheers rang out for him when he came out for the pre-match warm-up, when he ran up and down the touchline and finally when he made his entrance on the hour, when he received a standing ovation as he ran onto the grass of the White Hart lane pitch, which he touched as he set foot on it for the first time.
The game started with our former striker hitting a shot from distance that went well over the top and his day rarely got any better, as his ex-team-mate Anthony Gardner insisted in kicking him over every time Postiga came near him. Helder's partner up front was the lively Benni McCarthy, who has attracted admiring interest from English clubs. including Tottenham in the past. His movement and control mark him out as a dangerous forward and when he took up a far post position to meet Lisandro's long right wing cross, his header was powerful and on target. Unluckily for him, the returning Paul Robinson was equal to it. Covering the distance across his goal, he met the header with his forearms to keep the ball out in the eighth minute.
Jermain Defoe was out to prove that he could be equally as effective when he took the ball off Jorge Costa in the 10th minute and ran at Baia. He jinked left and right before putting his shot to the Porto keeper's right, but although Baia had gone the other way, he stuck out a leg to keep the ball out. Mido fashioned a scissor kick at a Carrick cross and missed by only a couple of yards and McCarthy produced the same piece of skill, after chesting the ball up, but was about four feet closer than our Egyptian forward.
Wayne Routledge was finding some joy on the right wing, with passes releasing him to use his searing pace on the Porto defence. When Carrick lifted the ball over the defence, Wayne latched onto it, but as he got to the edge of the penalty area, he hit a shot that flew well wide of the goal. One aspect of our defence that has been noticeable in the last few games of last season and the pre-season matches this time around, is the determination of our defenders to block the ball. Michael Dawson in particular has been a fine exponent and produced another brave block to stop McCarthy's drive reaching Robbo.
Spurs were settling a bit better now and passing the ball well between each other. Sometimes there was a bit of over-confidence on the ball, with some of the defenders taking the extra touch that let Porto players close them down or nick the ball off them. However, most of the time, Robinson threw or kicked the ball out short to defenders and the passing began from the back. One such move ended up with Andy Reid skipping away on the left and putting in a low cross in across the face of goal, but there was nobody to turn it in. McCarthy was having to make a few of his own chances and he chested (hand-balled ?) down a long pass and smashed an immediate shot in on goal, but it hit the top tier of the Paxton Road end. He did manage to get his shot on target three minutes prior to the break, but his effort had been anticipated by Robinson, who had come out to narrow the angle and blocked the shot well.
Porto had not come to be idle by-standers as Spurs went about their job. They showed good understanding and great skill in their play, but there was also an underlying physicality about their approach that sent out the message that they would not be bullied on the pitch. Luckily for Spurs, we had Tainio and Stalteri to start and they both demonstrated that they are not shrinking violets in the tackling department. Both are strictly from the "take no prisoners" school of football and on another day might have seen yellow from the ref.
The break saw Porto make three changes, while Spurs chose only to replace Robbo with Cerny. A lethargic start to the second half saw Porto take the initiative. Too many corners and free-kicks around the area were conceded, leading to the need for us to defend, with Mido called back to add to the aerial presence in the box. Luckily, the only opportunity for our opponents was a long drive from Lucho that went high over the bar.
As the hour approached a Reid cross picked out Mido's head at the far post and as he looped is back towards the way the keeper had come from, Baia was able to collect the effort comfortably.
Then it happened. The number 11 was held up and the number 14 (for the purposes of this game) against it meant the introduction of Edgar Davids. He got a rapturous welcome and seemed to enjoy the attention. That is not something that the Porto players could say when he turned that attention to them !! "Pit bull" by nickname, pit bull by nature. Some of his tackles were "tasty" and would have had Terry "Meat-hook" Naylor roaring his approval, but in today's game, he might find referees not so appreciative !! One that got one of their players just above the sock was particularly dangerous. But with some players in the side who are not afraid to put it about, Spurs will no longer be the soft touch that they have so long been regarded as.
With Keane and Kanoute coming on for Routledge and Mido, Jol changed the formation to 4-3-3, with Davids, Tainio and Carrick in midfield. The tactic appeared to work, as the right back Stalteri pushed on and Edman would have been willing to do so if required, but Defoe dropped out left on occasion. Ten minutes after Davids came on, he nearly had the crowd in seventh heaven. Out on the left wing himself, he got his foot around a pass that bounced up and hit a cross-cum-shot that had Baia back-pedalling to punch the ball over the bar, when it looked like it might drop just underneath. It was to prove only to delay the Spurs goal that had been promised, but had failed to be delivered.
Seventy-two minutes gone and Carrick picked out a run by Defoe into the left hand channel and Jermain's quick thinking put the ball looping over the stranded Baia, who had strayed too far off his line. It was a finish of great simplicity, but of rapid decision making and that is what makes strikers great. The move had started a long way back with Fredi laying the ball off to Stalteri, who fed it infield to Carrick and the passing was accurate and well weighted. Davids was one of the first to congratulate him in a piece of team-bonding that has developed very quickly.
The play swung back the other way and it was soon Cerny who was in action, as he flopped on a deflected Peixoto free-kick, but in the 85th minute Defoe struck again to seal the win. This time it was Tainio who picked him out with a left foot pass and from a similar position, Baia was on the edge of his box and Defoe's lofted shot was way over him and in the net before he could turn. Instinct from a master predator and one which bodes well for the coming season.
With Keano getting a boot on the thigh from Emanuel, he was not best pleased ... refusing the hand of apology and the Porto defender got a stern ticking off for kicking Robbie after he had nicked the ball off the central defender.
All in all a packed house enjoyed their afternoon in the sun and the half hour that Davids performed was hopefully a cameo of what we can expect from him in a Spurs shirt this season. The whole team looked bright and sharp, with a special mention for Fredi and Teemu. Both showed outrageous skills on the ball, with flicks and control, which made the Porto defenders look silly. Even Erik Edman was performing back-heels, so maybe Spurs will be the "Entertainers" this season !!
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - JERMAIN DEFOE
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