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Lads in Bellinzona

Posted on 26 April 2011  - 12:00

Our Academy squad lost out to Benfica in their final match of the 'Tourneo Internazionale' in Bellinzona, Switzerland on Monday.

Lads in Bellinzona

Our Academy squad lost out to Benfica in their final match of the 'Tourneo Internazionale' in Bellinzona, Switzerland on Monday.

It means the young squad finished in eighth place overall in the prestigious event.

Boca Juniors of Argentina won the tournament thanks to a 2-1 win over Swiss side Team Ticino.

Seventh/eighth place play-off - Spurs 0-2 Benfica

The lads final match followed a similar pattern to the rest of the tournament.

And once again, coach Alex Inglethorpe had words of praise for his young squad.

"We ended up not winning a match in the tournament and of course that's disappointing," said Alex.

"We controlled long periods of the game but didn't get the run of the ball in front of goal. That's been the big difference.

"We must have had 60 per cent of the possession but were hit by two clinical finishes from Benfica in the 15th and 25th minutes. Other than that, there was nothing between the two sides."

Spurs: Archer, McQueen (Ekong, 54), Lawrence (Yeboah, 45), Luongo, Day, Stewart, Larrauri, Tapping (McEvoy, 50), Coulthirst, Munns, Zapata.

Group match three - Spurs 0-2 Boca Juniors

Boca Juniors did the damage early in Saturday's 60-minute encounter with goals after 10 and 15 minutes of the first half.

"We more than held our own again but the difference was in the penalty box," reported Alex.

"We created a few good chances and didn't put them away. They created a couple of half-chances and were ruthless.

"That's a key difference in the age groups. We're the youngest squad out here with a number of Under-16 players in an Under-19 tournament. Some of the players we're up against are three years older and they have that extra experience, especially in terms of taking chances.

"Of the three group games, I'd only say we were disappointed with the second half against FC Basel. Other than that, the lads have been excellent."

Spurs: Archer, McQueen, Lawrence, Yeboah (Ekong, 55), Day, Luongo, Tapping (McEvoy, 45), Munns, Zapato (Larrauri, 45), Coulthirst, Stewart.

Group match two - Feyenoord 1-0 Spurs

Alex described this performance as one of their best in tournament football - despite a 1-0 loss to the Dutch team.

The lads had the best of the 60-minute encounter but were hit by an agonising last-minute goal.

Alex was particularly impressed with how Under-16 players Kenneth McEvoy, Victor Zapata, Shaq Coulthirst and Alex McQueen coped against much older opposition.

"We've been in something like 20 tournaments now over the years in places like Mexico and beat Barcelona on the way to winning here in Bellinzona (2009) but I would count this performance as right up there with the best of them," said coach Alex.

"We look for two things - the performance and the scoreline.

"At this age, the performance comes before the scoreline because we are all about player development. Obviously as they get older, the scoreline means everything.

"This was an excellent performance taking into consideration the age difference between the teams. We had the better players on show.

"We were in control right up until the last minute when Feyenoord hit an unstoppable winner into the top corner.

"We had chances. Victor went through, managed to skip around the goalkeeper but fired into the side-netting from the angle. Kenneth McEvoy also went close and was a constant threat, but I wouldn't want to pick out individuals. This was an outstanding team performance, I was very proud of them."

Spurs: Archer, McQueen, Barthram (Tapping, 10), Luongo, Munns, Hawkins, McEvoy, Coulthirst, Larrauri (Zapata, 45), Day, Stewart.

Group match one - FC Basel 3-0 Spurs

The lads actually started brightly in their opener on Thursday but goals either side of the break put the Swiss side in pole position.

Alex reported: "We started well but you always know that you need to take a chance when you are on top.

"Basel opened the scoring after 20 minutes with a decent header from a cross and the key moment came early in the second half when a speculative shot from about 25 yards took a big deflection and left goalkeeper Jonathan Miles helpless.

"They then caught us late for the third goal as we were pushing forward trying to get a goal back.

"This tournament is a great experience for what is a young squad, we're probably the youngest out here. Basel were a lot older than us and that makes a difference at this level.

"Having said that, we more than matched them in terms of possession, so I was happy with that."

Spurs: Miles, Lawrence, Ekong, Stewart, Barthram, McQueen, Luongo, Tapping, Munns, Larrauri, Zapata. Subs used: McBride, Hawkins, Coulthirst, Day.