New boy Roberto Soldado enjoyed a goalscoring debut at the Lane as we concluded our pre-season preparations with a 1-1 draw against La Liga side Espanyol on Saturday.
The Spanish striker converted a first-half penalty to open the scoring on his first-ever appearance in a Spurs shirt, although we were denied the win when David Lopez headed home a 44th-minute equaliser.
But despite the scoreline it was certainly an afternoon of positives, including the return to action of two key players in Younes Kaboul and Sandro as second half substitutes, after their injury lay-offs.
Our three summer signings were all introduced to an expectant home crowd just prior to kick-off and the trio were all selected in the starting line-up – first Spurs appearances for midfielder Paulinho and striker Soldado, while Nacer Chadli was making his home debut. Young centre-half Zeki Fryers was also appearing at the Lane for the senior side for the first time.
And it was almost a dream start for Brazilian international Paulinho when he headed home Gylfi Sigurdsson’s fifth minute free-kick, only for the assistant’s flag to go up and the goal to be ruled out for offside.
Apart from a free-kick effort from Simao which went high and wide for the visitors, we dominated the early exchanges. Great movement from Soldado in the area almost led to the opener as he met another Sigurdsson cross but sent his header over, while Mousa Dembele tested Kiko Casilla from distance but it was a straight-forward save for the Spanish keeper.
Espanyol threatened on 22 minutes when Diego Colotto headed a corner to the far post, David Lopez stuck out a boot but it went straight to Lloris.
Then came the moment the Spurs fans had hoped for. Danny Rose was upended by Javi Lopez on 29 minutes, referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot and up stepped new recruit Soldado to confidently beat Casilla with his right-foot from 12 yards.
Espanyol responded well to the setback though and probably had the better of the closing minutes of the half. Skipper Sergio Garcia fizzed a 25-yard shot wide on 36 minutes and just two minutes later weaved his way past Zeki Fryers and Rose, but Lloris was quickly off his line to thwart the danger.
And the Spaniards were rewarded for their efforts with an equaliser just before the interval when David Lopez headed home Pizzi’s free-kick despite Lloris’ best attempts to keep him out and it was level at 1-1 at the break.
There was good news at the start of the second period when Kaboul came off the bench to replace Fryers, the French defender making his first appearance since last August, having missed the entire 2012-13 season through injury.
The first real action of the half came following a surging run from Kyle Walker, bursting through the middle to play a one-two with Sigurdsson, collecting the return and attempting to round Casilla but his effort was blocked by the keeper. A minute later Kaboul powered a header towards goal from a corner but only straight at Casilla.
On the hour mark there was a trio of substitutions for us and yet another major boost as Sandro marked his return to action when he replaced compatriot Paulinho, with Brad Friedel and Jermain Defoe also coming on for Lloris and Soldado respectively.
Dembele again went from distance on 67 minutes but couldn’t keep his effort down, while Colotto went close at the other end, heading just over from Juan Fuentes’ corner.
With 12 minutes remaining we almost grabbed the lead in impressive style when two more substitutes, Tom Huddlestone and Andros Townsend, combined well which ended with the latter cutting inside down the right and smashing a fierce left-foot drive that just didn’t curl enough and went wide. That was pretty much the last real action of note as it ended all square.
Next stop Selhurst Park!
Spurs: Lloris (Friedel 60), Walker, Dawson, Fryers (Kaboul 46), Rose (Naughton 77), Paulinho (Sandro 60), Dembele (Huddlestone 72), Lennon (Townsend 72), Sigurdsson, Chadli (Stewart 88), Soldado (Defoe 60).
Espanyol: Casilla, J Lopez, Moreno, Colotto, Fuentes, D Lopez, Sanchez, Stuani (Lanzarote 88), Simao (Clerc 60), Pizzi (Abraham 82), Garcia (Bifouma). Substitutes (not used): Parreno, Mattioni, Rodriguez, Gomez, Capdevila, Sidnei.
Goals: Spurs – Soldado pen 29; Espanyol – D Lopez 44.
Yellows: Spurs - Townsend; Espanyol - Sanchez.
Referee: Andre Marriner.