Our Under-19 team cemented their place at the top of Group Four in the NextGen Series after a resolute performance earned a 1-1 draw against Inter Milan on Thursday.
With qualification to the next stage of the all-new European competition guaranteed following our victory against FC Basel last time out, Tim Sherwood’s side needed at least a point at the Stadio de Bresso to guarantee top spot in the group.
The opening moments of the game proved that the task at hand was not going to be a simple one as Inter created numerous openings, only to find Jonathan Miles equal to everything that they threw at him. The young goalkeeper was called into action twice in the opening 10 minutes and produced smart saves from the dangerous Daniel Bessa.
However, Inter’s direct approach paid dividends in the 16th minute when Simone Pecorini was able to latch onto a cross from the left and volleyed home to give the Italians the lead.
Falling behind appeared to spark our lads into action and we didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser which came courtesy of Alex Pritchard’s (pictured above) fourth goal in the competition.
It followed some excellent work from Souleymane Coulibaly, a constant nuisance for the Inter defence, as his shot could only be parried out and Pritchard was the quickest to react in the penalty area.
Both sides pressed hard for the remainder of the half with Miles (pictured below) denying Inter on two further occasions and Coulibaly’s persistence almost creating another goal-scoring opportunity for Pritchard.
Tim Sherwood decided to change things around for the second half with Kudus Oyenuga introduced to accompany Coulibaly in the forward line.
However. it was Inter who had the best chance to take the lead in the opening minutes with Kevin Stewart providing a last-ditch barrier to deny the home side. Inter then went close again in the 51st minute when Samuele Longo saw his header creep narrowly wide of the post.
It was then the turn of our youngsters to go close as outstanding work from Harry Kane and Pritchard in a classic counter-attack led to Kane hitting the upright in what was the move of the match.
Inter, knowing they needed the win to maintain any hope of winning the group, then adopted some more offensive tactics as they pushed for the winner, however once again they found Miles in their way as he produced what must be a contender for save of the competition in the 84th minute when he tipped a point-blank effort onto the crossbar.
The lads were able to see out the final minutes of the match to achieve a hard-fought draw which means they remain unbeaten in the competition and will entertain Liverpool in the quarter-finals, details of which will be confirmed in due course.
Spurs (4-2-3-1); Miles; Stewart; Veljkovic; Nicholson; Day; Luongo; Dombaxe; Pritchard (Hawkins, 86); Kane; Gomelt (Oyenuga, 46); Coulibaly.
Unused substitutes – Granger, Munns.