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Report: Spurs 1-0 Cardiff

English League Cup

Teddy Sheringham's sublime strike secured our place in the third round of the Worthington Cup - but the night belonged to Steffen Freund.

The midfielder was back in action for the first time since January and it was as if he'd never been away.

He tackled, harrassed and hounded Cardiff's midfield all night and on the numerous occasions he came out with the ball, just kept his passing short and to a team-mate. Simple, but so effective.

Indeed, it was no surprise when Cardiff chairman Sam Hamann, gracious in defeat, signalled to Freund in the tunnel afterwards as he got changed. "You destroyed us out there," he said, shaking his hand warmly. A nice touch.

Backed by as vocal support as we'll hear in the away end all season, Cardiff gave their all and although clear-cut chances were few and far between for the Welshmen, a couple of moments late on had a few hearts beating a little faster.

It shouldn't have come to that though. With Mauricio Taricco also back in the side and Simon Davies back bombing up and down the right flank, we restored the shape that had served us so well until two matches ago. Goran Bunjevcevic slipped back into central defence alongside Dean Richards and with Freund just in front, it was no surprise the visitors struggled to break through.

We didn't struggle to break through - just to finish.

Milenko Acimovic should have opened the scoring after 15 minutes but struck the post from close range, Robbie Keane's flicked header was well saved by Neil Alexander and the same player slipped his one-on-one attempt wide after being played in by Sheringham. In between, Willie Boland crashed a 30-yarder onto the crossbar.

It was no surprise when we opened the scoring after 29 minutes. Freund played the ball wide to Taricco who had time to whip in the perfect cross to the near post for Sheringham to get across his marker and volley home.

Keane and Matty Etherington went close before the break and the same pair threatened again at the start of the second half before the impressive Graham Kavanagh flashed a warning shot just wide.

Keane went through again but was never in full control of the ball, allowing Alexander to save and the Irish star's blossoming link-up play with Sheringham, noticable on the night, carved out another chance that Keane hit straight at the keeper.

City's best chance followed with 15 minutes left. The ball bounced kindly into Campbell's path following a tackle and the speedy ex-Boro striker managed to hold off Richards but shot wide when well placed.

Davies forced Alexander into the save of the night to tip a shot wide after combining with Acimovic and the final half-chances for Cardiff to take the game into extra time fell to the outstanding Daniel Gabbidon but the defender headed Kavanagh's corner wide and then curled over after beating two players on the edge of the area.


Team news: Steffen Freund started his first match since January. Mauricio Taricco also started after recovering from a groin problem. Teddy Sheringham partnered Robbie Keane up front.

15mins: WOODWORK. After a hectic start, the first chance. Good build-up down the right flank, cross from Davies flicked on by Sheringham into the path of Acimovic, eight yards out, stabbed the ball onto the post.

16mins: Thatcher skidded a low shot just wide.

17mins: WOODWORK. At the other end, Boland crashed a shot onto the crossbar from 30 yards.

20mins: Decent curler from Acimovic drifted a yard wide.

21mins: Back heel from Taricco set up Davies for delightful cross with outside of foot, Keane up for ball with defender, Alexander saved well on his line.

22mins: CHANCE. Sheringham slid the ball into Keane, through one-on-one, but shot wide.

25mins: Fantastic clearance from Gabbidon as Keane attempted to latch onto tempting low Etherington cross.

29mins: GOAL. Excellent cross from Taricco turned in on the volley at the near post by Sheringham. 1-0.

31mins: Davies fizzed in a low shot by Alexander behind it all the way.

31mins: Lovely move involving Etherington, Davies and Sheringham ended with Keane's curler taken easily by Alexander.

39mins: Quick break as Davies latched onto Keane's flick, sprinted to the by-line and crossed for Etherington, who couldn't keep tricky chance down.

41mins: YELLOW. Thatcher for foul on Campbell.

Half-time: Spurs 1-0 Cardiff

47mins: Keane almost onto Acimovic's clever back flick but Alexander read the situation.

51mins: Davies spotted Etherington free at far post, picked him out with 50-yard crossfield pass but volley hit Croft and went wide.

52mins: Acimovic and Sheringham went for the classic 'Sheringham corner' routine but the skipper volleyed over.

54mins: Fine strike from Kavanagh, 25 yards out, flashed a yard wide.

56mins: YELLOW. Harsh booking for Richards for foul on Campbell.

56mins: Legg free-kick never really troubling Keller.

59mins: CHANCE. Keane onto ball over the top and through on goal, bad touch allowed the ball to run away from him a little and Alexander was able to save.

63mins: Brilliant combination between Sheringham and Keane before Keane shot straight at Alexander.

65mins: SUB. Doherty on for limping Taricco.

75mins: Half-chance as ball skipped through to Campbell, he held off Richards but shot wide.

76mins: SUB. Fortune-West for Legg.

80mins: SAVE. Davies denied by Alexander at full stretch after linking up with Etherington and Acimovic.

83mins: CHANCE. Gabbidon headed Kavanagh's corner over from 12 yards.

84mins: SUBS. Iversen for Freund, Maxwell for Boland.

88mins: Gabbidon beat Acimovic and Etherington before curling wide from the edge of the area.

89mins: SUB. Ferdinand for Keane.

Starting line-ups: Spurs: Keller, Taricco (Doherty, 65), Freund (Iversen, 84), Bunjevcevic, Sheringham, Thatcher, Acimovic, Keane (Ferdinand, 89), Etherington, Davies, Richards. Unused subs: Hirschfeld, Blondel.

Cardiff City: Alexander, Weston, Prior, Gabbidon, Croft, Boland (Maxwell, 84), Kavanagh, Whalley, Earnshaw, Campbell, Legg (Fortune-West, 76). Unused subs: Barker, Hamilton, Margetson.