NextGen: Spurs 0-2 Anderlecht - defeat, but lads progress
Our Under-19s suffered a 2-0 loss against Anderlecht in their final group match of the NextGen Series on Thursday.
However, the team is through to the final 16 of the competition as one of the best third-placed teams.
Goals from Leander Dendoncker on the hour and Michael Heylen seven minutes from time - following in after Lawrence Vigouroux saved his penalty - secured maximum points for the Belgian team at the new Training Centre.
It could have been all-so different though.
The lads dominated the first half and but for better finishing and a little luck, could have put the issue beyond doubt by half-time.
Anderlecht goalkeeper Davy Roef produced two one-on-one saves inside the opening 10 minutes to deny Jack Munns and Shaq Coulthirst.
Nabil Jaadi fired Anderlecht’s first chance over in the 25th minute but we were soon back on the attack as the visitors escaped twice in 60 seconds.
Munns set-up Nabil Bentaleb only for Sebastian De Wilde to clear off the line and then it looked for all money that Grant Ward’s precise low drive was going to finish in the back of the net, only for his strike to cannon off the inside of the post to safety.
Munns cut inside two defenders from left to right before rifling inches wide from 16 yards before Vigouroux was tested for the first time on the stroke of half-time, flying to his left to turn Meadi Tarfi’s shot wide.
The second half was certainly less fluent from both teams and Anderlecht took the lead just before the hour when Lukaku found Dendoncker, who curled into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Coulthirst had our next chance from Munns’ slide-rule pass in the 67th minute, but the striker fired into the side-netting.
There was then a blow after Bentaleb and Kevin Stewart clashed heads and midfielder Bentaleb was forced off.
The game was scrappy now and Anderlecht caught us on the break in the 83rd minute. Nathan Kabasele broke clean through on goal and went over Vigouroux’s challenge. The referee pointed to the spot, Vigouroux picked up a yellow card and Heylen stepped up, only for Vigouroux to save superbly down to his left. However, play continued, Tarfi squared the rebound and Heylen was still there in front of goal to divert the ball home.
The lads continued to push on as the game ticked into injury time, but there were no further opportunities, the final effort from Alex McQueen curling a yard wide.
Spurs U19s (4-2-3-1): Vigouroux; McQueen, Ball, Veljkovic, Stewart; Bentaleb (Lameiras, 75), Onomah (Miller, 63); Michael-Percil, Munns, Ward; Coulthirst. Unused subs: Ogilvie, McGee, Lesniak, Winks, Zapata-Caicedo.
Anderlecht: Roef, D’Alberto, De Wilde, Heylen, Lukaku, Dendoncker, Jaadi (Kindermans, 89), Carvalho (Henen), Kabasele, Tarfi, De Bruyn. Unused subs: Palmeri, Mbemba, Scholl, Kawaya, Cekrezi.