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STRIKER NIGHT

Posted on 18 July 2006  - 12:00

It was a tale of two strikers and good news all round for Martin Jol after Tuesday night's 2-0 friendly win against Celta Vigo in France.

It was a tale of two strikers and good news all round for Martin Jol after Tuesday night's 2-0 friendly win against Celta Vigo in France.

Last season’s top goalscorer Robbie Keane completed 70 minutes on his return to action after being ruled out of our first two friendlies against Bordeaux and Nice with a slight neck injury sustained in training.

As it turned out, it was far from a gentle re-introduction with Celta Vigo centre-back Lequi apparently determined to make (or leave) his mark in the first half. However, Robbie typically found space deeper to twice send Wayne Routledge away before threading the pass through to Reto Ziegler that led to the opening goal.

That goal was scored by Jermain Defoe after 50 minutes as he dived to head home the rebound from Reto’s shot and 'JD' made it 2-0 minutes later as he latched onto Teemu Tainio’s pass, lobbed the ball over keeper Pinto and tapped into an empty net.

It was his third goal in three friendlies having scored the opener against Bordeaux last week.

With Lee Barnard on target against Nice last week, all that was missing was a goal for summer capture Dimitar Berbatov to open his account but the ball simply wouldn’t run kindly for him.

Boss Martin said afterwards: “Robbie’s had a problem with his neck but he wanted to play. That’s Robbie. I think Celta Vigo saw he wanted to have a good test and they certainly gave it to him in the first half.

“Jermain’s a poacher and he only started with us last Monday. You all know Jermain, he loves to play football, he wants to score goals and he’s come back to us in good form.

“Robbie’s a goalscorer, Jermain’s a goalscorer and hopefully Berbatov will score a lot of goals as well.â€Â

In fact, all three played as Martin shuffled his pack at half-time by bringing on five substitutes – including Jermain and Dimitar – as we played with Jermain on the left, Dimitar down the middle, Robbie in the hole and Wayne Routledge bombing up the right flank.

Martin added: “We played with three up front in the second half and while that can cause real problems for your opponents, it can for your own team as well!

“I think we surprised them with the different shape in the second half but we couldn’t go on like that because it’s not easy for the midfield players.

“It was tough, the lads were tired and you could see that but they still tried to do well and try to win the match and that sums them up.â€Â