We brought the curtain down on our week-long participation in the Nutifood Cup with a well-earned 3-2 victory against the Vietnamese Under-19 national side, securing second place in the final standings behind Japan.
After the match, which followed on from Monday’s 2-1 win against Japan Under-19s and Wednesday’s defeat by the same scoreline against Italian side Roma, Academy Manager John was once again delighted with the performance of our youngsters.
“It was a great game played in front of a full house,” he said. “There were a couple of moments of madness where our opponents scored two goals within a very short period of time and the place absolutely erupted.
“Our lads had to show incredible mental and physical resilience just to steady the ship and mentally get back and re-focus.”
Further squad rotation meant a handful of players were given their first start of the competition – meaning all of the travelling party had the opportunity to start at least one game during the trip.
We took the lead 15 minutes in when, after some good work on the right wing by Kane Vincent-Young, Daniel Akindayini fired low into the net.
However, our hard work was momentarily undone when two goals in as many minutes just before the hour mark saw Vietnam – spurred on by a five-figure home following – take the lead.
We recovered quickly, though, as Filip Lesniak converted his second penalty of the tournament in the 62nd minute after a foul on Nathan Oduwa.
And seven minutes later we regained the advantage as Josh Onomah went on a surging run and fizzed in a cross – the ball being turned into his own net by a Vietnamese player with Akindayini behind him ready to pounce.
Both sides had chances in the remainder of the game with goalkeeper Luke McGee, Alex McQueen, Laste Dombaxe and Lesniak all combining to keep Vietnam at bay while Will Miller, Shayon Harrison and Akindayini went close as we sought to extend our lead.
Our 3-2 victory saw us finish as runners-up in the competition, with John left to reflect on a fantastic experience for the players.
“There were all sorts of permutations before the game,” he said. “We could have come first, second, third or fourth before the game depending on how the scores went, so it was an incredibly tight tournament.
“The trip has been an absolute thriller. We had a brilliant reception from the Vietnamese fans and we even had some Tottenham Hotspur fans there. We could see some Tottenham Hotspur flags in the crowd.
“The hospitality of the people has been incredible. They’ve been warm, supportive and appreciative of the football and of Tottenham Hotspur.
“I would say as an experience for the players and staff, this has surpassed anything I’ve ever been to.”
The lads are now rounding off their trip with some sightseeing expeditions. They’ve toured Ho Chi Minh City and visited the Vietnam War museum in the last couple of days and will get the chance to see the Vietnamese tunnels on Saturday before flying back to the UK.
“It’s a once in a lifetime trip for a lot of people so it’s essential that we embrace the football culture but also the Vietnamese culture in all its facets,” John added.
Spurs: McGee, Vincent-Young (Walker-Peters 70), Dombaxe, A McQueen, Amos (Ogilvie 59), Lesniak, Onomah, Goddard (Winks 45), Sonupe (Miller 45), Oduwa (Harrison 61), Akindayini.