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A sporting draw...

Posted on 25 July 2010  - 12:00

The USA leg of our pre-season preparations concluded with a 2-2 draw against Sporting Lisbon in the Barclays New York Challenge.

A sporting draw...

The USA leg of our pre-season preparations concluded with a 2-2 draw against Sporting Lisbon in the Barclays New York Challenge.

Robbie Keane opened the scoring with his second goal in two games before Sporting hit back with a goal either side of half-time. Jon Obika secured a share of the spoils with 20 minutes remaining.

The result means it looks like Sporting pipped us on goal difference of one goal to win the tournament after we boith ended on eight points.

Harry Redknapp made two changes with Vedran Coluka and Adel Taarabt starting for Younes Kaboul and Luka Modric, both resting slight knocks.

With just four minutes on the clock, Niko Kranjcar threaded a defence-splitting pass through to the on-rushing Alan Hutton to the right of the penalty area, the full-back taking aim for the top corner, but not quite finding the target.

There was an almighty goalmouth scramble on seven minutes after Corluka squandered possession - a combination of Carlo Cudicini saves, along with the crossbar, post and some last-ditch defending came to the rescue.

A brilliant combination between Kyle Naughton and Gareth Bale led to the Welshman dispatching a superb cross just out of the reach of Sporting keeper Rui Patricio, but just out of reach of the advancing Kranjcar.

Sporting were perhaps a little more composed in possession due to them being ahead in their preparations - they get started in the Europa League on Thursday.

But this did not prevent them falling behind on 24th minute.

Kranjcar, looking sharp and creative, drilled a magnificent throughball into the path of Keane, who took the ball on before steering past Patricio.

The lead lasted less than a minute. Diego Salomao delivered a teasing cross with the outside of his boot and Matias was in position to place a stooping and looping header into the top corner beyond Cudicini.

Kranjcar, pulling all the strings again, dissected the Sporting defence with another pass in the direction of the energetic Kyle Walker, who cut back and only the quick thinking of Patricio stopped the ball landing in front of Keane and an empty net.

Kranjcar and Keane combined to provide an opening in front of an empty net for Bale just before half-time but somehow the ball eluded the full-back and the opportunity to regain the lead was lost in the searing heat of Harrison, New Jersey.

David Button was introduced in goal after the break, but was picking the ball out of the net just two minutes into the half when Jaime Valdes eluded Hutton and shot into the bottom corner. Button then made a smart save to foil a low effort from Sporting sub Florent Sinama-Pongolle, the former Liverpool striker.

Taarabt worked Patricio without particularly extending the goalkeeper, with extra firepower drafted in just before the hour with Taarabt being replaced by Obika.

Danny Rose took the place of Naughton on 64 minutes then Kranjcar flashed a shot just wide after good work from Hutton, before being replaced by Townsend.

Obika levelled the score on 70 minutes, Maniche givng the ball away to Keane who, in turn, knocked on for the run of the young striker who was forced wide before drilling past Patricio - his second goal of pre-season, having also netted against Bournemouth.

The team operated from a little deeper as the clock ticked towards time and fatigued was doubtless setting in due to the temperature, the fresh legs of the younger players providing the impetus on the break.

The game could have been won when Patricio came out to make a clearance and it landed at the feet of Huddlestone, who shot back over the keeper but just wide.

Spurs: Cudicini (Button, 46); Hutton, Walker, Corluka, Naughton (Rose, 64); Kranjcar (Townsend, 67); Jenas, Huddlestone, Bale; Taarabt (Obika, 60); Keane. Unused subs: Jansson, Mason, Smith, Butcher, Kaboul, Pavlyuchenko.