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Jake saves the day!

Posted on 24 July 2009  - 12:00

Jake Livermore celebrated his new contract with a goal to remember as we drew our Wembley Cup opener against Barcelona on Friday night.

Jake saves the day!

Jake Livermore celebrated his new contract with a goal to remember as we drew our Wembley Cup opener against Barcelona on Friday night.

The young midfielder, just 19, put pen to paper on a new deal this week - announced only earlier on Friday - and made it a night he'll never forget by heading home the equaliser against the European champions just two minutes after entering the fray as a substitute.

We were staring a rare friendly defeat in the face when Robbie Keane took a quick corner to Benoit Assou-Ekotto, the left-back whipped in a fine cross and Livermore threw himself full length to beat keeper Jose Maria Pinto to the ball in the air and plant his header into the corner.

Both teams were without first team regulars - we'd lost centre-backs Ledley King, Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson to injury, while there was no Messi, Eto'o, Iniesta, Xavi, Henry or Puyol for our illustrious opponents, although both Messi and Henry were at the stadium.

It meant Vedran Corluka and Tom Huddlestone lined-up in central defence as Harry Redknapp went for a 4-5-1 formation in the first half, Jermain Defoe the lone striker.

Ya Ya Toure, Eric Abidal, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Bojan Krkic were the familiar faces in the Barca side.

Chances were far and few between in that opening period. Krkic showed clever awareness in attempting to lob Carlo Cudicini before Pedro Rodriguez burst through two challenges and fired low to the near post, Cudicini this time producing a fine save to his left in the 20th minute.

Barca's goal arrived 12 minutes later and owed a lot to Toure's burst from midfield as he somehow evaded tackles from Wilson Palacios and Corluka before his progress was halted emphatically by Huddlestone's fine tackle. No luck though - the ball ran straight into Krkic's path and he drilled low past Cudicini.

Our biggest problem in the first half was hanging onto the ball and when we gave it away, Barcelona weren't surrendering it in a hurry, one of the world masters of maintaining possession.

We came closest with two efforts in the space of seconds towards the end of the half.

Palacios broke forward in the 39th minute and released Modric to his left, the Croatian hammered towards goal and his effort cannoned back off the crossbar but play continued, Aaron Lennon crossed deep and Assou-Ekotto's volley into the ground was tipped over by Albert Jorquera.

Kyle Naughton - his first team debut - Pascal Chimbonda and Heurelho Gomes joined Keane in the action in the second half as we switched to a 4-4-2 formation, Chimbonda to centre-half, Huddlestone in midfield.

Still chances were at a premium. Huddlestone's rocket hit Keita and deflected just wide and then Albert Dalmau looked to have handled Modric's corner, appeals waved away.

Pinto made a brave save at the feet of Modric as we started to gain a territorial advantage but the threat was always there at the other end, Gomes forced to save from Jeffren Suarez before Ruben Rochina looped a header over.

Youngsters Danny Rose, John Bostock and Dorian Dervite all entered the fray but it was Livermore's moment to shine - hopefully the first of many in a Spurs shirt.

Celtic are next up for us on Sunday (4pm) - the Scottish giants hammered Egyptians Al Alhy 5-0 in the first game.

Spurs: Cudicini (Gomes, 46); Hutton (Naughton, 46), Corluka, Huddlestone (Bostock, 80), Assou-Ekotto (Dervite, 84); Lennon, Palacios (Livermore, 80), Jenas (Chimbonda, 46), O'Hara (Keane, 46), Modric (Rose, 74); Defoe. Subs: Obika.

Barcelona: 1st half: Jorquera; Montoya, Caceres, Fontas, Abidal; Toure, Gudjonsen, Sanchez; Assulin, Rodriguez, Krkic.

2nd half: Pinto, Dalmau, Adriano, Muniesa, Espasandin, Rueda, Keita, Dos Santos, Suarez, Rochina, Oriol.