A first half double from Harry Kane was enough to clinch a 2-1 AIA Cup victory over a Malaysia XI at the Shah Alam Stadium in Kuala Lumpur as we got our post-season tour off to a winning start on Wednesday.
The home side made life difficult for us at times and grabbed a surprise leveller midway through the first half but ran out of steam in a second period that saw plenty of our youngsters get a run out on a muggy evening in Asia.
Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino named a number of first team regulars in the starting line-up while Tom Carroll pulled on a Spurs shirt again following his loan spell at Swansea City. Harry Winks made the step up from the Development Squad to take his place in central midfield.
The hosts made a bright start and certainly looked up for it but we looked the more dangerous side and Andros Townsend and Kane both tested the goalkeeper early on with rasping drives.
We soon grabbed the lead through the man of the moment, Kane. Christian Eriksen did brilliantly to turn his man in the corner before squaring to Carroll. The midfielder’s shot was turned against the post but Kane was lurking with intent to rifle the ball home from close range.
We dictated the play but it wasn’t without the odd scare as Paolo Rangel lashed an effort past Hugo Lloris but the flag went up as he strayed offside.
Townsend looked the danger man as he slalomed through the yellow shirts, with his pace often proving too much for the home team.
Out of the blue, though, the Malaysia XI found a leveller. A free-kick from the left by Indra Putra Mahyuddin was met by a combination of the head of Thiago Juninho and Danny Rose’s shoulder with the ball bouncing beyond Lloris.
There was a wind in the home side’s sails and two minutes later Rangel brought the best out of Lloris with a swerving effort from distance.
We still looked a threat, though, and Kane grabbed his second just before the interval when he fizzed home a shot from the angle after fine work from Carroll and Townsend.
As expected there was a raft of changes for the second period as Kane took over the armband and youngsters Grant Ward and Kyle Walker-Peters entered the fray alongside some of their more experienced colleagues.
Ward almost had an instant impact as he bent a curling effort narrowly wide with the goalkeeper beaten.
Kane looked in the mood for a hat-trick and dragged a good chance into the side netting as again we took control. Lamela was next to go close when he rounded the goalkeeper but squandered his final effort.
More changes were made and substitute Josh Onomah almost killed the game off with 25 minutes to play when he created space for a shot from distance and was a whisker away from finding the target.
Michel Vorm had barely touched the ball since replacing Lloris at half-time but was forced into an excellent flying save from a dipping Rangel free-kick with 10 minutes to go.
There was still time for Chadli to go close with a brilliant header from a Walker-Peters cross but it finished 2-1 and it’s off to Sydney we go for the second stage of our tour.
Malaysia XI: Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Robert Cornthwaite, Mohd Nasir Bashirudin, Ronny Harun, Ashfaq Ali, Paolo Rangel, Indra Putra Mahyuddin (c), Thiago Juninho, Zubir Mohd Azmi, Joseph Kalang Tie, Guilmer De Paula. Substitutes: Mohd Zamir Selamat (GK), Mohd Azmi Muslim, Yong Kuong Yong, Christie Jayaselan, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Ahmad Syamim Bin Yahya, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Muslim Ahmad, Mohd Afif Bin Amirudin.
Spurs: Lloris (c) (Vorm, 45), Yedlin, Dier, Vertonghen (Bentaleb, 45), Rose (Walker-Peters, 45); Carroll (Onomah, 57), Stambouli, Townsend (Lamela, 45), Eriksen (Ward, 45), Winks; Kane (Chadli, 57). Substitutes (not used): McGee, Dembele, Mason.
Goals: Malaysia XI - Thiago Juninho (32). Spurs - Kane (19, 43).
Yellow cards: Spurs - Lamela (45).
Referee: Amirul Izwan Yaacob.