Match Report - Tottenham Hotspur v Fiorentina - 08 Aug 2001
It was a night of inspiration. Inspiration for Bill Nicholson, who saw exactly what his achievements meant to everyone with a near-sell out crowd to celebrate his testimonial. Inspiration for the players, who were able to go out and perform having rubbed shoulders with the club's greats. And inspiration for the fans, who, most for the first time, were able to see first hand how Glenn Hoddle's new era is shaping up.
It was a night few in the 35,877 crowd will forget. They raised the roof when 'Mr Tottenham' walked through his guard of honour before kick-off, did it again when the legends - Mackay, Smith, Jones, Jennings and Mabbutt, amongst others - trod the turf again at half-time and, arguably most importantly, were able to do it three times during the friendly win against Fiorentina.
Glenn's new-look team had impressed in eight friendlies before Wednesday night. But with respect to Swindon, Orient and all, this was the real pre-season test. And we passed with flying colours.
After an early scare that saw Sullivan save well from Chiesa we took control. Rebrov failed to make proper contact with Ziege's cross but it was soon 1-0 as Ferdinand challenged Taglialatela to Taricco's deep cross, the keeper spilled the ball and the striker popped the ball home from six yards.
Chiesa was still a danger but the clearer-cut chances were carved out at the other end. Rebrov's diving header flew wide and Ferdinand's effort was smoothered by Taglialatela.
You sensed a second goal and it arrived on the half-hour. Rebrov whipped in a corner and Poyet's flicked header from 12 yards buried itself in the bottom corner.
Poyet inspired the third goal just after the break. He breezed past two challenges in midfield, carried forward and tried to find Iversen. That short pass didn't come off the ball found its way back to him and this time he faked to shoot from 20 yards before slipping it successfully to Iversen, who delightfully dinked over Manninger.
The game become a little scrappy as substitutions took over but we still manage to create the final three chances - Manninger's reflexes denied Iversen's downward header and a Rebrov snapshot and Davies headed Ziege's pinpoint cross wide.
A night to remember that left 35,000 fans counting down the day to the big kick-off.
Watch the goals by clicking the audio link on the right
Minute-by-minute guide to the action:
First half: 6mins: Chiesa through one-on-one, left-hand side of box, Sullivan saved low shot with feet.
10mins: Ziege cross found Rebrov free, six yards out, but he fluffed volley.
14mins: GOAL. Ferdinand up with Taglialatela to contest deep cross from Taricco, pressure too much for keeper who spilled the ball and Ferdinand tapped home from six yards. 1-0.
16mins: Ball over the top saw Chiesa through on Sullivan. He didn’t fancy the 50-50 but the ball fell to Rossi who blasted over from close range.
21mins: Freund’s long throw headed on by Ferdinand and Rebrov’s flying header went just wide.
22mins: Chiesa’s clever lob drifted just wide.
25mins: Move involving Taricco, Poyet and Rebrov ended with Rebrov’s standing up a cross to the far post that Ferdinand headed straight at Taglialatela.
30mins: GOAL. Rebrov’s whipped in corner found Poyet and his flicked header buried into bottom corner. 2-0.
36mins: Taricco did superbly to keep the ball in, pushed it back to supporting Freund who clipped the ball in first time — Poyet’s header just wide.
44mins: Pierini’s header from Chiesa’s corner crashed into the post.
Half-time: Spurs 2-0 Fiorentina
49mins: GOAL. Poyet-inspired third goal. The Uruguayan skipped past two challenges in midfield, carried for 20 yards and tried to find Iversen. That pass feel short but the ball came back to him and this time he faked a shot before squaring to Iversen, who dinked delightfully over Manninger. 3-0.
65mins: Poyet's flick to Ziege, he slid the ball to Rebrov whose fierce shot was parried away by Manninger.
72mins: Pinpoint Ziege cross found Davies at far post but he mistimed header wide.
Line-ups: Spurs: Sullivan, Taricco (Piercy, 87), Ziege, Bunjevcevic, Doherty (Perry, 65), King, Freund (Davies, 59), Poyet, Clemence, Ferdinand (Iversen, 45), Rebrov (Etherington, 83).
Fiorentina: Taglialatela (Manninger, 45), Repka, Adani, Cois (Amoroso, 58), Roberto, Di Livio, Morfeo, Rossi, Chiesa, Gomes, Pierini (Gonzales, 58).