Having excelled for a 20-minute spell and taken the lead through Aramide Oteh against Dutch giants Feyenoord during the morning, we ended up on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline before drawing 1-1 with Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro in a much cagier affair later in the day which again saw Oteh on target.
Unfortunately the Feyenoord result – our second of three group stage games following Friday’s goalless draw with Nacional de Colombia – meant we were unable to qualify for the semi-finals of the competition regardless of the outcome against Mineiro, but Head of Player Development John McDermott was still encouraged by aspects of what he saw.
“Ironically we played some very good football this morning and lost but it was too scrappy this afternoon when we drew against another very good South American side,” he said.
“We played well for a large part of the game against Feyenoord and went 1-0 up but they equalised within two minutes – that’s something we’ve been talking a lot about this year in terms of keeping our concentration – and they then scored two more goals towards the end when we were pushing numbers forward.
“That was obviously a disappointing outcome but then a draw with Mineiro at the end of the day was probably a good result, although I was disappointed with the way we played in that game.”
Once again playing matches of two 25-minute halves, we had a handful of opportunities as we dominated the early going against Feyenoord. The clearest chance came when Cy Goddard fired the ball into the danger zone, only for Jack Roles to blast wastefully over the bar.
We finally found the breakthrough on 18 minutes when Goddard sent a free-kick into the box from out wide and Oteh produced an acrobatic finish at the far post after the ball was knocked down.
However, we conceded an equaliser just two minutes later after being caught too high up the pitch and, although Oteh had a couple of chances to restore our lead in the second half, it was Feyenoord who grabbed the advantage one minute from time before making it 3-1 in the first minute of stoppage time.
The match against Atletico Mineiro yielded few chances for either side, with our lads in the knowledge that qualification for the last four was beyond them.
Tom McDermott, who came back in between the sticks after Brandon Austin’s stint in goal against Feyenoord, was relatively untroubled in the first period with much of the game being played out in the middle of the pitch.
We fell behind on 38 minutes but produced an equaliser three minutes later when centre-back Christian Maghoma played the ball through for Oteh to round the goalkeeper and finish from a tight angle. We kept pushing in the latter stages but were unable to breach Mineiro’s strong defensive set-up.
“One of the positives from the day was George Marsh – he was excellent against Feyenoord and I thought he really stood out,” added John.
“In the second game we were really pleased with Aramide who deserved his goal and I thought Christian Maghoma was excellent against Mineiro and picked up from where he left off last week in Amsterdam. Samuel Shashoua also showed little glimpses of quality in that game.”
We now meet London rivals Chelsea in the fifth and sixth-place play-off on Sunday (May 22), kick-off 1pm local time.
Spurs (v Feyenoord): Austin, Muscatt, Brown, Owens, Mukena, Marsh, Duncan, Stylianides (Walkes 32), Oteh (Sterling 43), Goddard (Shashoua 39), Roles (J Pritchard 28).
Spurs (v Atletico Mineiro): McDermott, Tracey (J Pritchard 27), Bennetts, Marsh (Stylianides 27), Tanganga, Maghoma, Duncan (Owens 37), Walkes (Roles 35), Oteh, Goddard, Shashoua.