With a patchy pre-season in terms of players
available and results wise, Spurs gave their hard-to-please fans a 3-2
come from behind win against Fiorentina before the real action starts
next week against Manchester City.
With Ledley King perhaps surprisingly
starting, it was a fairly strong Spurs team, with some notable absentees.
Jermain Defoe, Gareth Bale, Alan Hutton and Luka Modric were all missing
and with an international week coming up, perhaps they were rested with
this in mind. They missed out on not only a game of two Tottenham
sides, but two different season, with the game starting and ending in
bright sunshine, although sandwiched between was a chilly, rainy spell
that was most un-summer like.
There was a feisty start with Comotto
coming through dos Santos from behind and then Palacios picking up a
fourth minute booking for a tough tackle on Alberto Gilardino. But
the little striker was on the spot to give Fiorentina a seventh minute
lead when Gomes fluffed a clearance to Papa Waigo, who was 35 yards out.
He moved forward to put in a cross from the right that Ledley King got
under and vainly appealing for offside, Gilardino ghosted in behind him
to head past Gomes from six yards out. It was a little like the
start to the Villarreal match, with Spurs needing to do something to
convince the crowd for the friendly that they meant business of sorts.
Five minutes later, Aaron Lennon made
Frey hurry backwards when his cross took a flick off a defender and
threatened to loop in under the bar, but the French goalie tipped it
over to make sure. Peter Crouch hit a shot wide when Palacios
played a good pass into him on the right, while Sebastien Bassong put in
a crunching tackle on Waigo as he looked like he was about to shoot
inside the penalty area. The Senegalese midfielder had to have
treatment and the Italians complained that it should have been a
penalty, but it was a fair tackle, albeit a bit forceful for a friendly.
However, Bassong probably took the line that if you go in half-hearted,
you end up coming out of a tackle injured and didn't want that to
Ledley was giving cause for concern, as
he appeared to be struggling for pace and was caught out for the opening
goal and maybe his appearances this season will be reserved for what
Harry feels are the most important games.
However, Tottenham got lucky and got
level in the 27th minute, when the keeper played the ball out to Comotto,
who dawdled on the bal and dos Santos took it off him just outside the
box. He moved in on goal and as Frey came out and a defender closed him
form the other side, he played it square to the unmarked Roman
Pavlyuchenko, just three yards out, to tap into an empty net. It
was bright play by the young Mexican, who was aware of where his strike
Not the lead lasted too long, with
Fiorentina hitting back in the 36th minute, as Spurs were once more
caught out on the break. Winning the ball, Fiorentina played the
ball around and Zanetti switched play from right to left, to where
Marchionni was and he chipped the ball into the middle, where Ljajic
arrived unmarked to tuck a volley away past Gomes. It was a neat
finish and Spurs allowed the wide man too much time to measure his ball
in that lead to the goal, although they were helped by Ledley King being
pulled ot the ground by one of the visiting forwards.
Tottenham had one more opportunity before
the end of the half, when Crouch was brought down in a central position
just outside the D. The violet shirted players were incensed and
two of them pushed referee Stuart Attwell and were lucky that they
received only one yellow card between them. As it was, the
free-kick from Pavyluchenko hit the wall and was cleared away.
Half-time saw more great comments among
the crowd and on the pitch, Paul Coit told the Junior Spurs to wave the
flags they had been doled out. It might have been better if the
club had saved their money and dished them out for the Champions League
games, but the fervent radio commercials trying to encourage people to
attend this match perhaps showed how desperate they were to get them in.
The ground was a bit more than half-full, but once more, you wondered
how many freebies had been handed out to make the crowd a reasonable
Half-time saw three changes on each side,
with Redknapp using Keane to replace Crouch, Huddlestone coming on for
Jenas and Kranjcar for Lennon. The changes appeared to make Spurs
a more solid unit and when Palacios moved forward to hit a shot just
wide from 20 yards out, it looked as if they were gaining the upper
hand. The equaliser came in the 57th minute when Tom Huddlestone's
passing came into it's own, finding Keane on the right side of the
penalty area and he shot across Frey and low into the opposite corner to
make it 2-2. It was a well taken goal and showed good patience in
the build-up to wait for the right moment to open the Fiorentina
The visitors immediately made a couple of
changes at the back and one up front, but Tottenham continued to push
forward and Montilivio picked up a yellow card after he tripped Giovani
as he went through. Tommy Hud stepped up to take the dead ball
kick and curled it over the wall, but Frey did well to dive to his right
to palm the ball out for a corner in the 64th minute, but it was
Fiorentina who should have taken the lead when substitute Babacar headed
over from right in front of goal when the cross from the right exposed
Spurs in the air again.
Spurs were the team who got the ball in
the net next on 68 minutes, although a well worked move on the left saw
Keane pull a low ball back for Pav to slot home from close range, but
the linesman had obviously got the half-time message about waving his
flag, as it was up well before the ball went in. Spurs took off
Gomes, King and Pavyluchenko, bringing on Cudicini, Walker and Rose.
This lead to Kaboul moving into the middle of the defence with Bassong
and Gio and Keane playing up front, with Rose playing on the right of
Within three minutes of the changes,
Spurs hit the post, with Kranjcar skimming a low shot along the turf and
striking the woodwork on the outside of the woodwork. With ten
minutes left, the Croatian and Rose played a nice move on the right and
Rose was in the box with space, hitting a shot that went into the side
netting at Frey's near post.
There was also a free-kick for Tottenham
when one of the Fiorentina subs was embarrassed when Danny Rose totally
left him for dead with an outrageous dummy, but then he caught the
winger and made sure he didn't progress any further. It was
Kranjcar who put the ball in and Frey did well to get to the ball and
knock it away from goal. It was about the last thing the Frenchman
did, as it was he who was one of three late replacements, but things
were still going Tottenham's way and in the last minute, one of the
Spurs subs - Jake Livermore - played a first time pass through the right
side of the Viola defence, dissecting two defenders to find Robbie Keane
about 25 yards out. The Spurs striker looked at least a yard
offside, but the flag stayed down and he took the ball into the area and
struck a shot between the reserve keeper Avaramov's legs to find the net
and make it 3-2 with hardly any time remaining.
Fiorentina did try and draw level in
added time, with Seferovic getting in behind Kyle Walker, then pulling a
low cross along the six yard line, but Babacar had not made enough
ground to meet the bal land the chance went untaken to leave Spurs 3-2
victors at the final whistle.
This friendly was another opportunity to
pit our wits against a side with some European football experience, but
for a large section of the assembled "supporters", a win was what they
had come to see and that was all that mattered. Some near me
complained of the lack of atmosphere, while others struggled to tell the
difference between Ledley King and Danny Rose, while I heard another say
that he loved coming to the ground when it was all standing when he used
to stand on the Kippax !!
They all went home happy and although
there was nothing riding on the game ... not even some made-up
non-entity of a trophy ... there are questions that Harry Redknapp will
need to address before the important first three weeks of our season.
marco van hip
And for those of you who want to know what
Fiorentina reported, here is the Google translated version of their
match tracker ...
2 ' Action Dos Santos, good
defense to defend breach closing and restarting.
Admonition to Palacios, guilty of having landed badly Gilardino.
Waigo puts in half, Gilardino headed his way to the purple door ahead.
Crouch after a long beat
and hammered in the area of hitch kicks, ball out of breath.
trying to restart, Spurs find them without looking for spaces in the
22' are felt
fifty purple fans in the stands.
and Marchionni try to go in goal with two touches, but Gomes anticipated
Waigo opposed by Palacios has the worst.
Limp but gets up
and continues his race.
Santos steals ball defense and put purple in the middle, Pavlyuchenko
supports two passi. 1-1 in London
and response, Crouch goal in nearly reversed, with Zanetti counter that
opens Marchionni ball in the middle, Ljajic with precision strikes and
Gomes beats on the fly.
2-1 to the
Admonished Zanetti for a foul on Crouch from the edge.
Free kick from the edge, corner Felipe sends back a shot dangerous.
counterattack purple Pasqual who steals the ball and opens purple trocar
Zanetti, Papa Waigo cut on the opposite side and cross in the middle,
the' Spurs' free with Palacios
After a minute, the first portion closes with Fiorentina the lead to 2-1
47 ' Inside-D'Agostino
Montolivo as announced before the defense, De Silvestri Comotto right.
Wilson Palacios pulls out a claim by its limit, as demonstrated at the
World Cup, but the aims and slightly inaccurate.
But the door
remains saved by Frey.
Tottenham equalized with an old acquaintance of Italian football, Robby
Keane excess Frey out on a through ball from Palacios.
Admonished Montolivo for a foul on Dos Santos
Frey to lift off from the intersection of punishment neoentrato
rightly rescinded a network for the Spurs offside.
staying illegally sull'assist Keane
Still Frey player on the conclusion of Keane
Dento Bolatti Ljajic out, it changes the tactics behind purple Montolivo
and Babacar Bolatti and D'Agostino front of the defense
Kroldrup is timely in closing on Keane and send in a corner.
D'Agostino launches Babacar, Naughton anticipates corner
kick from the edge intersection, Frey sends corner dive.
Tottenham surpasses the final ball to Keane who Kranjkar filter thread
on the offside, and tapped out Avramov.