Real Madrid 1-1 Spurs (U19 UYL)
Report from Alfredo di Stéfano Stadium
17 October 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Under-19s picked up their first ever away point in the UEFA Youth League following a gutsy display at Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Our illustrious hosts had become the first team to reach the 100-goal mark in the competition last month, but we gave them no chance to build on that thanks to a magnificent first-half showing where we turned in one of our best performances of the season and could feasibly have been three goals up by half-time.
Ultimately, thanks to Madrid goalkeeper Adrian Fernandez repeatedly denying central striker Kazaiah Sterling, it was only 1-0 at the interval, Jack Roles having given us the advantage just before the half-hour mark.
We then experienced the tough side of European football as Real cranked up the pressure in the rain at Alfredo di Stéfano Stadium and pressed us back in the second 45 minutes.
Dani Gomez levelled with 19 minutes remaining and it stayed at 1-1, leaving us on four points in a congested Group H. Borussia Dortmund, who won 2-0 at APOEL earlier in the day, are top with six.
Saves: Fernandez denies Edwards and Sterling - 8-11mins
We set out with a clear plan – to attack Real – and to say we did that in the opening stages would be an understatement. Dominating the play, we went close when Roles cut back from the right for Marcus Edwards to pull the trigger at the near post, but Madrid goalkeeper Fernandez was in the way. That was the precursor to a busy evening for the custodian as, three minutes later, Sterling produced a fine first touch to go scampering through on Fernandez, only to shoot straight at him with the whole goal to aim at. Real were not afforded any significant time on the ball as we swept forward effectively through the centre and down the right in particular, with Tariq Hinds a useful outlet high up down that flank.
Goal: Real Madrid 0-1 Spurs - Jack Roles - 29mins
The opener was deserved when it arrived on 29 minutes. Fernandez denied Sterling again from Samuel Shashoua's left-sided cross but Edwards swept up and dribbled into the path of Roles, who lashed into the top corner from 12 yards.
Above: Japhet Tanganga on defensive duty.
Save: Sterling thwarted by Fernandez again - 44mins
The hosts carved out a good chance to equalise on 38 minutes when Oscar clipped delicately into the path of Miguel Baeza Pérez but his shot zipped just wide. However, just before the break it looked for all the world that Sterling had finally won his duel with Fernandez when he headed Shashoua's cross goalwards, but the keeper somehow threw out a left arm at point-blank range to claw it away from under the bar.
Goal: Real Madrid 1-1 Spurs - Dani Gomez - 71mins
The hosts upped their game after the break and we weren't able to engage them as high up the pitch as before. However, their attackers' preference to shoot from range meant they didn't affect Brandon Austin's goal as much as perhaps they could have until 20 minutes from time when the keeper spectacularly palmed away Alberto's effort from outside the area. Austin then got a fist on the resulting corner but we couldn't clear our lines and the ball was sent in from the left, Dani Gomez darting into the slightest of gaps between the centre-back duo of Japhet Tanganga and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster to steer into the net.
Saves: Austin keeps it level - 81-88mins
It took a lot of resilience to prevent Real from turning their second half control of the game into a victory. Austin tipped Oscar's 30-yard free-kick over and then dived low to his left to push Luis Vacas Ruiz's shot around the post after the substitute had got the better of right-back Hinds. In between those stops, Gorka Zabarte arrowed a shot just beyond the far post from the right side, but for all Real's pressure we might have nicked it in stoppage time when substitute Reo Griffiths broke free on the counter. However, rather than shooting, he opted to square for fellow front man Sterling, but there wasn't enough power on his pass and Real escaped.
Coach Scott Parker said
“I thought the boys were fantastic, especially in the first half where we dominated the game and really probably could have put the game to bed. They were always going to come back at us in the second half which they did and it proved to be a little bit difficult but I’m over the moon for the lads because we showed the other side of our game today in terms of our battling spirit. When they scored and you need to stand up and be counted, we did that, so that was really pleasing.
“It was heavy pressure (in the second half) and I know it’s a cliché but it was definitely a game of two halves. There were some massive positives as much as there were some negatives at times regarding the second half and how it turned out, but it was a real positive in the sense that we dug in and got the result.”
Real Madrid: Fernandez, Zabarte (c), Garcia, Baeza Pérez, Adri, Álex Martín, López (Vacas Ruiz 46), Martin, Dani Gómez, Óscar, Alberto. Substitutes (not used): Ramos, Fidalgo, Moreno Román, Rodríguez Martínez, Garay, Rodríguez Delgado.
Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Bennetts, Marsh, Tanganga, Lyons-Foster, Roles (Griffiths 71), Skipp, Sterling, Edwards (c, P Maghoma 83), S Shashoua. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Reynolds, Omolabi, A Shashoua, Patterson.
Goals: Real Madrid - Dani Gómez 71; Spurs - Roles 29.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Marsh 34, Skipp 80, Sterling 90+1.
Referee: Joao Pinheiro.
If this match is anything to go bay, it’s all set up for a cracker against Real's youngsters in the return game at Hotspur Way on matchday four in a fortnight's time, but for now it's back to domestic action and an Under-18 Premier League fixture at home to Fulham on Saturday, kick-off 11am. Coach Scott Parker will be looking for another positive result as he takes on his former club for the first time, having guided us to a 3-1 home victory over West Ham last weekend.