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A Spanish lesson

Posted on 29 July 2010  - 12:00

An impressive Villarreal put us to the sword in the first of two home friendlies at White Hart Lane this summer.

A Spanish lesson

An impressive Villarreal put us to the sword in the first of two home friendlies at White Hart Lane this summer.

The La Liga side were ruthless in their approach and ran out comfortable 4-1 winners on the night, mainly thanks to a hat-trick from former Manchester United and Newcastle striker Giuseppe Rossi.

After going in 2-0 down at the break, a host of Spurs changes at half-time looked to turn the game in our favour when Giovani Dos Santos pulled a goal back on 56 minutes.

But a killer third and a late fourth from Marco Ruben put the game beyond our reach and gave the Spaniards a deserved victory overall.

We were buoyed by the return to action of our World Cup players, with Heurelho Gomes, Michael Dawson, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe on from the start.

And we started brightly enough. Vedran Corluka's raking pass from the back set captain Robbie Keane clear. He chose to take on a cheeky chip from a tight angle but so nearly beat Diego Lopez who just about managed to tip it over the bar.

But threats on the Villarreal goal were few and far between in the first 45, and instead it was Gomes who proved to be the busier of the two goalkeepers.

He saw David Fuster and Santi Cazorla put efforts wide before the deadlock was broken on 22 minutes.

Spain international Cazorla found the smallest of gaps in our defence to thread Rossi through to finish low and hard.

The men in yellow continued to keep possession well and doubled their lead 10 minutes later.

Dawson slipped when trying to cut out Marcos Senna's throughball and Rossi once again raced on to double his tally for the night.

Things needed to change and they certainly did when seven substitutions were made by Harry Redknapp at half-time.

Suddenly, we upped the tempo and one of those changes, Gareth Bale, instigated a gilt-edged chance. The flying Welshman made a strong run to the by-line and a pulled a ball back which found its way to Kyle Walker at the back post who shot wide with the goal gaping.

But another chance was to come our way six minutes later and this time we made the most of it. Giovani, on the back of an impressive World Cup with Mexico, linked up with Peter Crouch to race on and finish neatly.

It looked game on and we so nearly found an equaliser on 65 minutes when a Niko Kranjcar corner caused a bit of havoc and, after a bit of head tennis, Crouch looked as if he would head into an empty net before Diego Lopez popped up from nowhere to deny the big man.

But five minutes later it was game over. Rossi completed his hat-trick with a shot from outside the box that took a wicked deflection off Corluka to wrong-foot young David Button in goal and make it three.

The visitors had more chances to put the game even further out of our reach, most notably Jefferson Montero who contrived to put wide of an empty net after Ruben centred with Button stranded.

But they did make it four three minutes from time when, after another spell of keep-ball from the La Liga side, Borja Valero's low cross was tapped home by Ruben at the back post.

The scoreline did perhaps flatter the Spaniards after our spirited second half performance, but it does provide a warning before our Champions League campaign begins as to how clinical a top European side can be.

Still, that's what pre-season is for! Benfica away next - it doesn't get any easier!

Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes (Button, 46); Hutton (Walker, 46), Dawson (Bassong, 46), Corluka, Naughton (Assou-Ekotto, 46); Lennon (Bale, 46), Huddlestone (Parrett, 78), Jenas (Rose, 19), Kranjcar (Taarabt, 81); Defoe (Giovani, 46), Keane (Crouch, 46)

Villarreal (4-2-3-1): Diego Lopez; Angel Lopez (Gaspar, 61), Musacchio (Kiko, 46), Catala (Castellani, 88), Oriol (Gullon, 84); Senna (Ruben, 61), Soriano (Insa, 78); Cani (Montero, 61), Fuster (Valero, 46), Cazorla (Cristobal, 46); Rossi (Perez, 78)