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Report: Boca Juniors v Spurs

Posted on 16 July 2005  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Jermain Defoe and Mido found the net as the team overturned a one-goal deficit against Boca Juniors, but a second half strike from Bilos made it honours even in the Peace Cup clash in Suwon.

It was a challenging examination for the boys on a hot evening and Boca took almost instant advantage of early pre-season rustiness in our ranks with an 2nd minute goal and waves of pressure.

It is to be imagined this will be viewed as a good result and it was probably a fair one, despite Boca starting and finishing the stronger.

Martin Jol handed Teemu Tainio a second start on the right of midfield, playing ahead of Dean Marney who was drafted in at full-back due to Stephen Kelly missing out with a slight shin injury.

The Suwon World Cup Stadium was slow in filling up with ten minutes to go until kick-off and the reason for the multi-coloured seating became apparent. We were told en route to the match that the thinking behind the design was to disguise low attendances. It is quite a clever ploy as banks of single-coloured seats never looks too good in a live broadcast. The crowd at the Seoul venue for last night's opening game swelled as the game progressed and there must have been around 50,000 by the end.

After the lengthy preliminaries the game got underway and Marney made his presence felt with an early challenge. From the resulting free-kick Insua cleverly directed the ball into the path of Bilos, but a clear chance went begging.

It was a stay of execution that didn't last too long. A sweeping long ball dissected our back line and Marcelo Delgado was through for a clear run on goal. Cool as you like, he simply slotted the ball low past Radek Cerny on two minutes.

The fact that Boca are only just out of their season was patently clear in the opening stages, equally the point we are at in pre-season. You suspected the boys would have to click through the gears pretty quickly if they were not to be left chasing Boca tails.

Andy Reid was looking the likely out-ball on the left, seemingly the one afforded the most space by his marker. It was more a case, however, of our central midfield getting to grips with the game in order to successfully bring him into play.

The Boca frontman were posing a puzzle that needed to be solved by our centre-halves, a sort of interchangeable front three of which Palacio looked the most lively in the first 15 minutes. The aforementioned forced Cerny into action once again with a solo run and shot five minutes later.

It would be true to say Boca were still bossing the overall play but that is without taking into account the predatory instincts of Jermain Defoe. To the right of the Boca area on 26 minutes, the little hitman bundled his way through and evaded two challenges before smashing his effort right-footed past Abbondanzieri, leaving the goalkeeper beaten all ends up. Credit must also go to Tainio, who displayed his tenacious side in breaking up a Boca advance from the back to supply Defoe.

The team were visibly lifted by the England striker's first goal of the pre-season campaign. Boca possibly anticipated greater reward from their early charge and were beginning to look a little leg-weary.

The boys did not let this go unpunished and turned the game on its head when Defoe seized on the ball - via, Marney, Tainio and Mendes - and slipped it through to the advancing Mido who, under pressure just inside the area, almost seemed to ease the ball past the fingertips of Abbondanzieri to make it 2-1 on 32 minutes.

The Peace Cup pendulum appeared to be very much swinging in our favour and, towards the end of the first half, Boca were almost a pale imitation of the side that came out and put their marker on the game from the off.

They did liven up just before the break with Ledley King and Michael Dawson having to be alert, but our own team was out of its collective shell and performing as a cohesive unit.

Whether the teams would alternate in playing on the front foot due to the climate remained to be seen. One thing is for sure though, this was no pre-season kick-about and the increasing crowd were enjoying what they were seeing.

Two minutes into the second period and Cerny was called into acrobatic action when Insua made a dart on our defences and unleashed a powerful drive that was zipping into the top right hand corner before the Czech diverted the effort around the upright. Delgado then had the ball in the net from a free-kick but the strike was disallowed as the free-kick was indirect.

Boca seemed to be enjoying a second wind, but Defoe nearly caught them napping on 52 minutes when he chased down but could not lift the ball over the retreating goalkeeper. A few minutes later Reid offered more of a test to the reflexes of Abbondanzieri in what was becoming an evenly contested game.

Dawson with withdrawn just after the hour and was replaced by Anthony Gardner. Shortly after Wayne Routledge was introduced for Defoe.

The changes could not stop Boca levelling on 71 minutes when a fine piece of work from Bilos saw him shake off the attentions of King and Gardner before drilling low just inside Cerny's right-hand post.

Martin continue to ring the changes - a maximum of five are allowed in the competition - and Tom Huddlestone replaced the struggling King and El-Hamdaoui changed places with Reid.

Both teams went in search of a winner as the game got stretched, but both will probably happily bank the point.

Team: Cerny, Marney, Bunjevcevic, King (Huddlestone 75), Dawson (Gardner 62), Tainio, Carrick, Mendes, Reid (El-Hamdaoui 77), Defoe (Routledge 64), Mido (Keane 80). Subs: Fulop, Burch, Edman, Davenport. Lennon, Kanoute.

By Richard Hubbard in Suwon

Pictures by Simon Mooney