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Penalty woe for Under-21s on first day in France

24 July 2015|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-21s suffered penalty shootout disappointment in our opening two games at the National Under-21 Tournament in France today (Friday, July 24).

Having lost 6-5 on spot kicks following a goalless draw with Stade Rennais in this morning’s curtain-raiser in Ploufragan, we suffered the same fate in our second encounter of the day – going down 9-8 to SM Caen after a hard-fought 1-1 draw.

Coach Ugo Ehiogu is now looking for a positive response from the players when we take on EU Guingamp in our final group game on Saturday.

“There will have to be a reaction because some of the performances we saw today were not up to standard,” he said. “There are a few things that need to be improved on going forward.

“Our first game this morning was a typical case of total control of the game. We had four or five clear cut chances but we couldn’t take any of them, the game then went to penalties and we lost.

“The first half of the second game was extremely disappointing. We made wholesale changes from the first match but some of those involved against SM Caen didn’t do themselves justice in this competition format.

“It was a better response in the second half and we got ourselves a goal up, but then conceded an equaliser and again lost on penalties so we’ll be looking to improve on certain things for the next game.”

Playing 50-minute matches, we had a number of chances against Stade Rennais, Nathan Oduwa in particular going close when he controlled the ball well but fired off target with 15 minutes gone.

The second half produced further opportunities and it was only a last-minute save from goalkeeper Maxime Pattier to deny Cy Goddard that kept the game goalless.

Goddard, Milos Veljkovic, Ismail Azzaoui, Grant Hall and Dominic Ball converted from the spot in the ensuing shootout, but Cameron Carter-Vickers, Oduwa and Kenny McEvoy weren't as fortunate as we lost 6-5 on penalties.

Above: Emmanuel Sonupe in action against SM Caen.

Anton Walkes was off-target eight minutes into our second match against SM Caen later in the day, while goalkeeper Harry Voss had to be alert as Valentin Voisin tried his luck on a couple of occasions before the break.

We took the lead eight minutes into the second period when Azzaoui scored from the penalty spot after a foul on Oduwa. However, we couldn’t hold on and Mamadou Sambague’s equaliser four minutes before the end took us into another shootout.

Shayon Harrison, Azzaoui, Veljkovic, Goddard, Ball, Oduwa, Connor Ogilvie and Walkes all scored, but Kyle Walker-Peters was the unfortunate first player to miss and Caen’s Mathieu Roger took advantage to register a 9-8 win for his side.

Saturday’s match against EU Guingamp gets underway at 12.15pm local time (11.15am UK).

Spurs U21s (vs Stade Rennais): Voss, Ball, Ogilvie, Veljkovic, Hall, Carter-Vickers, Walker-Peters (McEvoy 35), Amos (Walkes 42), Harrison (Azzaoui 35), Goddard, Oduwa.

Spurs U21s (vs SM Caen): Voss, Walker-Peters, Ogilvie, Amos (Veljkovic 25), Maghoma, Ball, McEvoy (Oduwa 25), Walkes, Sterling (Goddard 46), Azzaoui, Sonupe (Harrison 35).