APOEL 1-0 Spurs (U19 UYL)
Report from Nicosia
26 September 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
APOEL Under-19s somehow kept us at bay to secure a 1-0 victory in Tuesday's UEFA Youth League fixture at Makario Stadium in Nicosia.
We dominated from start to finish but couldn't carve out enough chances for that possession. APOEL simply refused to buckle under the pressure.
The home team took the spoils with their one moment of offensive quality when Constantinos Karayiannis curled home a free-kick from the edge of the area.
Frustration was the name of the game as Keanan Bennetts drilled inches wide and then couldn't get out of the way of Jaden's Brown goalbound shot in the first half.
APOEL barely came out of their half in the second period but that goal remained elusive as cross after cross was cleared, final passes intercepted, dribbles checked and shots blocked. Bennetts fired just wide and both Japhet Tanganga and TJ Eyoma were off target with headers. It just wasn't our day as the sun set in Cyprus.
Goal: APOEL 1-0 Spurs - Constantinos Karayiannis - 23mins
Having dominated from the first whistle and created a few half-chances – Bennetts whistled a shot just wide from 20 yards – APOEL took the lead. Centre-half Tanganga was penalised for a push on Sergej Grubac on the edge of the box and Karayiannis curled over the wall and home, despite the best efforts of Jonathan De Bie.
Saves: both keepers called upon - 24-45mins
The goal was a bit of a jolt for the team and the pattern of the game was now set – we continued to control possession but APOEL now looked to break quickly. We had two chances before the interval – Jaden Brown's strike looked to have 'goal' written all over it but Bennetts couldn't get out of the way. De Bie did well to hold onto Anastasios Okkaridis' low drive and Kazaiah Sterling forced a routine save out of Antreas Paraskevas on the stroke of half-time.
Above: Marcus Edwards drives forward.
One-way traffic: no way through for us - 46-90mins
To say the second half was one-way traffic would be an understatement. APOEL stayed deep and compact and you could count on one hand the amount of times they came into our half. However, we couldn't find a way through that defensive line, chances were at a premium and no matter how many times we went down the lines or crossed from deep, either an APOEL boot was in the way or goalkeeper Paraskevas, who dealt well with crosses and corners. Tanganga headed over the only time Paraskevas failed to deal with a corner, Bennetts drilled inches wide, Jack Roles had a shot blocked, Eyoma headed wide and Reo Griffiths could only poke tamely at goal. In-between, Sterling looked to have had his legs swept away in the box but appeals were waved away.
Coach Wayne Burnett said
"We realised what we were going to come into but, saying that, we expected to win the game and on another day that would have maybe been the case but I thought we were lacking in the crucial moments in the game. We didn't have enough quality at times to really pierce them open, then they got a goal and hung on for dear life but in saying that, I still don't think we did enough. We dominated the game but we weren't clinical enough. To be fair, they packed out their box and it was difficult for us to break them down but that's what you're going to come up against when you come to Cyprus and you're Tottenham so it was a disappointing day.
"I've been in this situation and the best thing about football is you have another chance to put it right and the biggest thing for these boys is they need to learn from it. They need to realise that it's about habits and details, that on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday if you keep doing the right things, that puts you in a better place come Saturday when that chance comes. In this sort of game you get one chance or half a chance and ultimately it needs to go in."
APOEL: Paraskevas, Sokratous, Karayiannis, Stylianides (Polikarpou 87), Adoni, Papadopoulos, Andreou, Papoutsos, Grubac (Veletinas 28), Naoum, Okkaridis (Charalambous 67). Substitutes (not used): Priniotaki(GK), Scottis, Koukos, Kouppis.
Spurs: De Bie, Eyoma, Brown (Dinzeyi 87), Marsh, Tanganga, Skipp, S Shashoua, Roles (Griffiths 72), Sterling, Edwards (c), Bennetts. Substitutes (not used): Austin (GK), Lyons-Foster, Omolabi, A Shashoua, P Maghoma.
Goal: APOEL - Karayiannis 23.
Yellow card: APOEL - Paraskevas 90+3.
Referee: Stefan Apostolov.
Real Madrid are next up in Spain for the team in the UEFA Youth League while APOEL host Borussia Dortmund – both matches on Tuesday 17 October. In the meantime, we return to Under-18 Premier League action away at Reading on Saturday, kick-off 11.30am.