Spurs 0-0 CSKA (UYL) - match spotlight
07 December 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Jonathan De Bie's early penalty save proved crucial as our academy side held group winners CSKA Moscow to a goalless draw in our final match in the UEFA Youth League on Wednesday afternoon (December 7).
The Belgian youth international kept out Timur Pukhov's tame spot kick as the Russian side looked to unsettle us early on at Hotspur Way.
But we soon gained our composure and matched up well against the visitors, who had already secured top spot in the group after winning four of their first five matches.
Kazaiah Sterling was denied by a fine save from Georgi Kyrnats shortly before the break and agonisingly had an effort ruled out for off-side in the second period, while Shayon Harrison's late free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar.
Ultimately, honours ended even but it was a positive showing from our youngsters to take our final group stage tally to four points.
We could have been made to pay for a shaky start when skipper George Marsh was penalised for obstruction in the area against Pukhov on seven minutes but the Russian midfielder's resulting spot kick, weak and straight down the middle, was blocked by De Bie with his legs.
Sterling looked a handful with his running in attack and glanced a header off target, while a good move that started at the back with Japhet Tanganga picking out TJ Eyoma on the right ended with Dylan Duncan shooting just over the bar from 18 yards with 25 minutes gone.
Kyrnats was seeing a lot of the ball as the half progressed and while our attackers willingly put him under pressure, we didn’t really test him until the moments leading up to half-time.
Above: Samuel Shashoua on the ball.
Samuel Shashoua’s low ball across from the right hit bodies in the area but went out for a throw-in on the other side while Duncan’s shot from Sterling’s cut-back was blocked at close range, Keanan Bennetts also seeing an effort blocked after latching onto the rebound. From the next attack, Sterling met Kyle Walker-Peters’ searching cross with a back post header but Kyrnats got down low to beat it away.
CSKA’s Ivan Maklakov blasted into the side netting in first-half stoppage time while the visitors also had a chance four minutes after the restart as we gave the ball away cheaply but Nayair Tiknizyan ended up shooting wide.
Sterling wriggled free behind the defence just after the hour mark and slotted in but was thwarted by the off-side flag, while Tanganga made an important block from substitute Anatoli Anisimov after De Bie had made an initial save. However, we were moving the ball about with greater purpose and if there was going to be a breakthrough, it would have surely come from one of our players.
Indeed, Kyrnats was called upon to deny both Harrison and Duncan in the closing stages while our last chance came from an 89th-minute free-kick, with which Harrison brushed the top of the crossbar from 20 yards out.
JOHN MCDERMOTT, HEAD OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT, SAID
“We had a shaky start, a mix-up from our throw-in led to a penalty but Jonathan De Bie is growing in confidence, I like his assertiveness, thankfully he saved it and after that I thought generally we were very positive. What we said at full-time was that our goalscoring habits weren’t as good as they should have been, but our general play was very good. Kazaiah Sterling’s goal being disallowed was unfortunate but overall it was a good performance, on the day we had the better players and were unfortunate not to win.
“We spoke afterwards about how, within our academy and our club, we expect more points over the six European games that we’ve had so there was a short-term level of satisfaction at today’s performance but a longer-term dissatisfaction at our consistency over the whole campaign. When we’re in European competitions we’ve got to step up to another level on a more regular and consistent basis. We haven’t been envious of anybody we’ve played during this campaign but we’ve got to work on our ability to become more competitive as we move more and more towards adult football. We need to be getting that final two or three per cent more of an edge to become winning players.”
Spurs: De Bie, Eyoma, Walker-Peters, Skipp, Marsh (c), Tanganga, Shashoua (Stylianides 84), Duncan, Sterling, Harrison, Bennetts. Substitutes (not used): Austin (GK), Hinds, Dinzeyi, Reynolds, Griffiths, Roles.
CSKA Moscow: Kyrnats, Khosonov, Maklakov, Leonov (Anisimov 46), Stanisavlevich, Alibekov, Oleynikov, Kuchaev (c), Zhamaletdinov, Tiknizyan (Avanesyan 65), Pukhov (Neplyuev 46). Substitutes (not used): Ovchinnikov (GK), Kabakhidze.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Duncan 27, Walker-Peters 79; CSKA Moscow - Stanisavlevich 12.
Referee: Tim Marshall.
There’ll be another chance for some of our youngsters to gain experience of playing against overseas sides when we head to Florida to once again take part in the IMG Cup later this month. Some could also feature when our development squad hosts Derby County in the Premier League 2 on Monday night (December 12).