Following a goalless draw with PSV Eindhoven in our Group Two curtain-raiser, we secured a 1-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach to leave ourselves second in the overnight standings.
Coach Matt Wells saw plenty of positives from the two games, which were 25 minutes each way, but insisted there remains room for improvement ahead of Sunday’s matches against current leaders Japan High School Selection (kick-off 2pm local time) and Fortuna Dusseldorf (kick-off 6.30pm local time).
“Obviously we’re pleased to get four points from the first two games and not to have conceded a goal – in general we’ve shown an extreme work ethic which we’re pleased about, but the challenge we’ve set for the players tomorrow is to be specialists at their individual jobs,” he said.
“I thought we started cagily in the first game against PSV, but that’s understandable because the first games at these tournaments are always a little bit tense. There were some good bits in there but we just lacked a bit of an end product. In the second half we improved on that and had a couple of chances, although at the end we were disappointed not to have won because on the balance of play we probably deserved to take the three points.
“In the second game we needed to be a bit more ruthless. We should have put the game to bed after the goal and we ended up having a difficult end to the match with our opponents being extremely direct.
“In both games, probably because of the attacking nature of our play, we’ve been fouled a lot and although the quality of our deliveries from set pieces has been very good, our desire to go and attack the ball needs to improve because really we should be making the keeper work more often than not. We’ve given ourselves a good base to build on today, though, and now we’re looking forward to tomorrow’s matches.”
Indeed, our best two chances against PSV both came from set pieces and each time it was Anton Walkes on the end of it but, after seeing his first effort saved by the goalkeeper, his late header was cleared off the line and the game remained goalless.
We performed well against Borussia Monchengladbach and took the lead on 27 minutes when Anthony Georgiou fired in a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper’s leg and flew into the roof of the net.
Keanan Bennetts and Ryan Loft were then both denied by the keeper in one-on-one situations, with Jack Roles seeing his effort blocked on the follow-up from the latter chance.
Soon afterwards, Zenon Stylianides did well to get down the right side and cut the ball back for Loft but the striker fired wide. However, we came through a tense last few moments to win the game 1-0.
Spurs (v PSV Eindhoven): Glover, Duncan, Tsaroulla, Marsh (Roles 43), Mukena, Walkes, Tracey (Bennetts 38), Stylianides, Loft (Sterling 32), Goddard, Georgiou.
Spurs (v Borussia Monchengladbach): McDermott, Muscatt (Mukena 45), Georgiou, Marsh, Maghoma, Walkes, Tracey, Roles, Oteh (Loft 31), Goddard (Stylianides 37), Bennetts (Sterling 41).