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Worthington Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Wednesday 23rd January 2002

With the two teams facing each other once again, the lack of breathing space will be evident as the semi-final is decided.  Both teams have played FA Cup ties and had a League game between the first leg and this one, so the personnel available will be called upon to drag one last performance out of the locker before they both return to FA Cup action at the weekend.

Chelsea prepared with a 5-1 thrashing of West Ham United, while Spurs struggled to create good chances against a defensive Everton side.  It will have to be hoped that Chelsea have shot their bolt with all their goals in one basket.  As for Spurs, they kept their powder dry to a certain extent, with Poyet and King rested and Les coming off at half time, after a head injury.  His presence for Tottenham could be vital, with Steffen Iversen and Sergei Rebrov vying for the choice of replacing him, should he not make it.

The key for Tottenham will be keeping Hasselbaink quiet.  He is a born finisher and a powerful one at that.  His strength comes from his upper body, which is very strong and that is exactly what our defenders will have to be.  They will have to stand up to him and not get knocked off the ball, while King will no doubt be ready to keep pace with him if he gets away from them.  For Anthony Gardner, it will be a test of his development, as the pacy defender will have to show he is up to standing his ground against the bullish JFH.

Teddy's return should help fashion chances, but the passing that Spurs have become noted for must be incisive.  And the chances must be put away; to many wasted opportunities have cost us recently, so converting those that come along is a must.  Gus will be keen to improve on his first leg showing, while Simon Davies proved that he can make inroads into the Chelsea defence, with his clever running.

The Blues back line are a big lot of lads and will need to be broken down, but perhaps the best chance is to get down the flanks and exploit the attacking tendencies of their wing backs.  Cudicini is a good shot stopper, but there are question marks against his handling.

With all the luck going to Chelsea in the two meetings so far (despite the penalty denied them in the first leg), there is time for a reversal of fortune and Spurs could do with a little help in turning this semi around.  I think that with home advantage, Spurs will realise Cliff Jones' prediction at the ground at last Saturday's match ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham  3    Chelsea  1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.

 

 

Tottenham  5   Chelsea  1                              (Half time score: 2-0)
WORTHINGTON CUP SEMI-FINAL 2nd LEG.
Wednesday 23rd January 2002
Kick Off :   8.05 p.m.
Weather : -  Cold, rainy, windy
Crowd : -   36,100
Referee : -   Mr. M. Halsey (Lancashire)

Scorers : -   Tottenham  -  Iversen 2, Sherwood 33, Sheringham 50, Davies 76, Rebrov 87
                  Chelsea  -   Forssell 90

CARDS

Tottenham :  Poyet (foul) 48, Sheringham (dissent) 56

Chelsea :   Hasselbaink (violent conduct) 55, Melchiot (foul) 59

TEAMS 

Tottenham :  Sullivan; King, Perry, Gardner; Taricco, Anderton, Poyet (Leonhardsen 83), Sherwood, Davies; Sheringham, Iversen (Rebrov 83)
Unused Subs : G. Kelly, Thelwell, Etherington

Chelsea : Cudicini; Gallas, Desailly, Terry, Melchiot (Zola 70); Petit (Forssell 66), Lampard, Zenden (Della Bona 11), Stanic; Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen
Unused Subs : De Goey, Ferrer

COLOURS

Tottenham :  White shirts, Navy shorts, navy socks.

Chelsea :  Blue shirts, blue shorts, white socks

It might have been a long time in coming, but this was a performance well worth waiting for.

Five goals, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink sent off and a place in a final to boot.  They just don't write scripts like this any more.  For the long-suffering Tottenham supporters, the win over Chelsea was just as welcome as the style in which it was achieved.  For the glory-hunting Chelsea supporters, they were on their way back home long before the end, with only a couple of hundred waiting to see their players off at the end.

Tottenham were on the offensive from start to finish ... quite literally, with Iversen's opening goal in 1 minute and 35 seconds through to Rebrov's late goal on 87.  As for Chelsea, they were poor, very poor.  Right from the off, their passing was sloppy, their positional play naive and they could not live with the passing of the Spurs team, who moved well to create angles around the blue shirts.  

King hit in a cross towards Sheringham and he bent under the pass to allow it to run through to Taricco running up the left wing.  He took the ball down and hit a low shot that Cudicini got behind, but could not keep hold of.  Terry thought he could clear, but, while he thought that, Iversen prodded the ball in past the defender on the line to give Spurs a dream start.  Spurs went further ahead after a couple of corners had flown across the face of the visitors goal and the Chelsea keeper had touched a vicious half-volley form Gus over the bar.  From that corner, Anderton played the old low corner routine, but this time, with Sheringham pulling closer into goal, the space was made for Tim Sherwood to get on the end of it.  From six yards out, he clipped a rising shot over the man on the line and Spurs were in the lead on aggregate.

Chelsea offered little. Gudjohnsen's shot was the only narrow squeak for Tottenham, but that bent away from goal to miss by a foot.  Sullivan didn't have a save of note to make in the first half.  Tottenham could have had more before the break, as Gus had a shot smothered by the keeper, but other chances were misdirected.

The break came with Spurs in the ascendancy and perhaps might have affected their tempo when the restart came.  But that was not to be the case, as within five minutes Sheringham had all but sealed the tie.  With a cross from the left, Anderton found Poyet's chest and his lay-off from that part of his anatomy set up Teddy for a shot that ripped past Cudicini.  This was stunning.  Well, perhaps slightly more so than what came next.  A corner was held by Sullivan, who was buffeted by Hasselbaink and when a free-kick had been given a melee broke out.  The ref ran in to sort it out, waving a red card at no-one in particular, but deciding that Hasselbaink had been the guilty party.  As it turned out, Melchiot was the one who slapped Teddy's face and should have gone, but there was a long period before Hasselbaink left the pitch, during which John Terry appeared to be pointing fingers at and squaring up to Taricco (who had hit Melchiot on the head as he left the scene).

With the man advantage, Spurs really ran the legs off Chelsea.  Never in the game, they were chasing the ball as Tottenham passed it around and opened Chelsea up on the Spurs right time and time again.  In fact, before Simon Davies scored the fourth goal, he had lots of chances to set up goals with time and space to pick out a decent cross.  When he did get his opportunity, he cut inside and hit the near post past Cudicini, but the ball bounced into the net.  Richly deserved by the young Welshman, it was a revenge that wad due for the Italian keeping out his earlier cross-shot with a diving save.

On came Rebrov and Leonhardsen for Poyet and Iversen and it was they who provided the final Spurs goal, with Leo getting to the touchline and pulling the ball back for Sergei to slide past the Chelsea keeper.  Oyvind almost scored himself, when he went past Cudicini, but then doubled back, went past him again and then had his shot blocked.  Anderton missed an open goal, when a cross was blocked back to him and the keeper was on the floor and defenders out of position, but he hit Desailly's big backside.

When Chelsea did score, it didn't matter and Forssell will not celebrate a goal less in his career.  As the ball hit the back of the net, they knew their chance of a final appearance had disappeared on this occasion.  Seldom have a team been so comprehensively dismissed in a semi-final, but the same must be done on February 24th.  Otherwise this was all for nothing.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  TIM SHERWOOD

Pete Stachio

 

TWELVE YEARS OF HURT

 

Over the last 26 games against Chelsea, there have been few high points.  Today there were more than enough to make up for the twelve years of defeats we have suffered at the hands of the Pensioners.  And where to start ?  Well, at the very beginning, of course.

No Les, Ivo in and Ivo got it in within seconds of the kick off to put Tottenham ahead in the game and level on aggregate.  Now all they had to do was stop Chelsea scoring for 118 minutes and we would be through.  So simple.  Or not.  For a side who rate themselves as title challengers, they played like relegation certs.  Little passion to match Tottenham's fierce belief that they would win.  Little skill as their players lurched around the pitch and little effort to stop Tottenham from playing their game.  Zenden perhaps showed too much zeal and his late tackle on Sheringham ended up with him leaving the field on a stretcher with a gashed leg.  Unfortunately, Dalla Bona played no better than any of his under-performing colleagues and went unnoticed for much of the game.

Sherwood took Sheringham's place, but only in terms of pulling away from the goalmouth for a Dazza corner and he hit the second just after the half-hour.  He really played a good game tonight, but then they all did.  The result did not flatter Tottenham, although it did flatter Chelsea.  Spurs had come close with a couple of in-swinging corners that went past all the players crowded in the box, but Tottenham had nobody on the far post to capitalise on the opportunities.

Just as well, that Teddy had some snazzy shooting boots on (a red design on them looked most lairy).  when Anderton's crossed was breasted down by Poyet, Ted took the bouncing ball early and hit a pearler past the keeper.  Unfortunately, he also got hit by a pearler form Melchiot, but the ref thought it was Jimmy Floyd and he walked (after some considerable debate about it).  It all got  a bit tasty after that.  Melchiot hacked down Taricco, who had been involved in the incident and received a booking.  But Tottenham actually made the extra man count.  OlÚs rang out as the blue shirts tried to get near the ball. Gallas, who had a nightmare against Davies, tried his best to set Spurs up with another goal by skewing the ball across his area.  Chelsea looked bereft of ideas.  Indeed, Stanic spent the remaining 25 minutes tying up his bootlaces. Perhaps the most productive part of the match for the Croatian.

As for Spurs their ideas were developing new avenues and one was down the right hand side, where Anderton found Davies.  His low shot beat Cudicini at his near post and ricocheted off it before going into the net.  It was well earned by Simon, who had found lots of space on his side and ran intelligently off the ball, always providing an outlet for others.   There was some joy for Sergei Rebrov too as he got on the end of Leonhardsen's low cross and tucked it away sweetly past the goalie.

Gus had volleyed over when the ball wouldn't come down for him and Iversen had flashed a header over the bar, like he did on Saturday.  If we had scored nine or ten, it wouldn't have been unfair on the United Nations (West London Branch).  As it was, we didn't even keep a clean sheet, as Forssell forced home a shot past Sullivan, which drew a bigger cheer from the Spurs fans than the few hardy souls in the away section who could bring themselves to witness the final whistle of this Tottenham victory.

As the Trainers Sponge said ... "If you had told me before the match that Chelsea would score in the last minute ...". We all knew what he meant as were worried going into the match and also at half-time, even more so.  It was not the outcome that any of us could have predicted, but as always with Spurs, it was about doing it in style.  It was about the glory, not trying to bore the opposition to death.

Danny Blanchflower would have been proud of the team.

Sterling Performance

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