Juventus 2-1 Spurs
Report from Melbourne Cricket Ground
26 July 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Erik Lamela capped a positive second half performance with a goal, but Juventus goalkeeper Neto refused to be beaten late on as the Italian giants ran out 2-1 winners in our first International Champions Cup match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia on Tuesday (July 26).
With a particularly young back four, we found it tough going in the opening exchanges and went two goals down inside 14 minutes as both Paulo Dybala and Medhi Benatia capitalised on defensive errors to beat Michel Vorm in goal.
We made a host of changes at the break and Lamela - who, along with new signing Victor Wanyama, really caught the eye - deservedly reduced the arrears midway through the second half.
Lamela and fellow substitute Shayon Harrison were then denied by Neto in the closing stages, with the Serie A side forced to hold on for the victory.
New arrivals Wanyama and Vincent Janssen both played their first games in our colours from the start in what was our first mainstream pre-season outing of the summer after a trio of behind-closed-doors training games at Hotspur Way. Mauricio Pochettino named a young back-four that included promising Academy starlet Cameron Carter-Vickers at centre-back alongside Dominic Ball, who won the Scottish Championship and Scottish Challenge Cup during a loan spell with Rangers last season.
Midfielder Will Miller came in and performed well as a makeshift left-back in the opening 45 minutes and, along with Carter-Vickers and Ball, he was one of seven young players to make a first senior appearance for us over the course of the game. Kevin Wimmer and Christian Eriksen missed out through a slight hamstring problem and illness respectively while midfielder Ryan Mason wore the captain's armband.
Goal: Juventus 1-0 Spurs - Paulo Dybala - 6mins
After a relatively comfortable start we gifted Juve the lead as Ball was unable to properly gather Mason's back-pass and Roberto Pereyra skipped past him and Carter-Vickers before playing in Dybala to fire beyond Vorm from inside the box.
Goal: Juventus 2-0 Spurs - Medhi Benatia - 14mins
It was proving to be a difficult opening period and after Vorm palmed Dybala's rising shot behind for a corner, Juve scored on the second phase from the resulting set piece. The corner wasn't properly dealt with, the ball was swung back in and Benatia rose highest to head across Vorm and inside the keeper's right-hand post.
Close: our best chance of the first half - 29mins
Tom Carroll's dangerous in-swinging cross from the left was put behind before it reached the prowling Janssen. The corner was half-cleared but only as far as Carroll, who sent in another good delivery with Heung-Min Son craning his neck and steering a header the wrong side of the near post.
Above: Tom Carroll and Heung-Min Son team up.
Close: bright start to second half from our lads - 56mins
The introduction of Harry Winks, Josh Onomah and Lamela into our midfield operation at half-time saw us move the ball around nicely and after a bright spell at the start of the second period we went close as DeAndre Yedlin - on at left-back - surged forward, the ball was recycled and Janssen cleverly set up Lamela, who drilled just beyond the far post from 20 yards out.
Goal: Juventus 2-1 Spurs - Erik Lamela - 67mins
After making further changes, we continued our second-half resurgence and pulled a goal back on 67 minutes. Wanyama showed great anticipation and strength to win the ball in midfield following Neto's goal kick and he sent it forward for Lamela, who tucked the ball into the far bottom corner from left-of-centre.
Save: Neto Denies Lamela - 80mins
After young substitute Marcus Edwards latched onto Yedlin's long ball forward but couldn't bring the ball under control in the box, we went close to an equaliser with 10 minutes remaining as Winks passed to Onomah, he sent it in to the feet of Harrison and the teenager laid it off for Lamela, whose shot stung the palms of goalkeeper Neto.
Save: Harrison denied stoppage-time leveller - 90+1mins
Neto had to be at his best once again as we continued to push for a second goal late in the game. Lamela worked his way through the Juventus defence before playing in Harrison, who slid in to steer the ball towards the bottom corner. Unfortunately for him, Neto scrambled down low to his right to claw it away. Further good play in the box followed from Winks but Juventus escaped with the win.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“It’s pre-season and it’s a moment to feel some difficult situations. I am very happy in the end because I think in all of the game we played much better, we had control of the ball but it’s true that when you concede some possibilities to a team like Juventus it’s always very difficult. It was a very good test, the second half I think was very good. It’s not about the result, it’s about how we compete.”
Vincent Janssen said
“It was a real privilege to play my first Spurs game in public. It's a great trip for me - a great week to get to know my team-mates. They've made me feel very welcome.”
Juventus: Neto; Lirola, Benatia (Marrone 46), Rugani (Moreno 79), Alex Sandro (Coccolo 79); Lemina (Macek 79), Hernanes (Severin 79), Asamoah (Vitale 66); Pjanic (Parodi 66), Pereyra (Cerri 46); Dybala (Rosseti 79). Substitutes (not used): Audero, Del Favero, Loria, Blanco, Kastanos, Padovan.
Spurs: Vorm; Trippier (Walkes 63), Ball (Amos 79), Carter-Vickers, Miller (Yedlin 46); Mason (c, Winks 46), Wanyama; Son (Lamela 46), Carroll (Edwards 63), Chadli (Onomah 46); Janssen (Harrison 63). Substitutes (not used): McGee, Glover, Walker-Peters.
Goals: Juventus - Dybala 6, Benatia 14. Spurs - Lamela 67.
Yellow card: Juventus - Lirola 88.
Referee: B. Williams.
Following a useful work-out for our young squad, we return to the MCG on Friday to take on last season’s Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid in our second International Champions Cup match. Kick-off will be at 8pm local time in Australia (11am UK). That will be followed a week later by our final pre-season outing against Inter Milan in Norway.