Spurs 4-1 APOEL (U19 UYL)
Report from Hotspur Way
06 December 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Under-19s powered through to the last 16 of the UEFA Youth League with a dominant performance against APOEL at Hotspur Way on Wednesday afternoon.
Sitting top of Group H before the game, we only had to match Borussia Dortmund's result at Real Madrid to dodge the play-offs and go straight through as group winners.
But not content to settle for anything less than a win, we turned on the style to blow the Cypriot side away in the first half as goals from Reo Griffiths, who came in as the starting striker with Kazaiah Sterling named in the UEFA Champions League squad, Marcus Edwards and Japhet Tanganga gave us a commanding lead at the interval.
Edwards hit the bar from the penalty spot after the break and although APOEL had a brief resuregent spell which saw skipper Zacharias Adoni pull a goal back, we never really allowed the visitors to seriously threaten and young forward Rodel Richards capped a fine week on an individual level, having bagged a hat-trick against Aston Villa Under-18s on Saturday, by sliding home to complete a 4-1 win late in the game.
It brings to an end a fantastic group campaign which included two wins against Dortmund and a win and draw against Real. Only APOEL got the better of us 1-0 in Nicosia back in September.
Goal: Spurs 1-0 APOEL - Reo Griffiths - 12mins
Our bright start was rewarded with striker Griffiths claiming his first UEFA Youth League goal of the season. Jack Roles took the sting out of a heavy pass into the box before Griffiths came in on the overlap to place a shot across goal and just inside the far post with real precision. The striker almost doubled his tally five minutes later but volleyed just over the top from Samuel Shashoua's cross.
Goal: Spurs 2-0 APOEL - Marcus Edwards - 29mins
APOEL hardly got out of their own half and it was 2-0 on 29 minutes when Edwards picked up the ball on the left corner of the penalty area, skipped away from Georgios Kouppis with ease and clipped into the far corner.
Goal: Spurs 3-0 APOEL - Japhet Tanganga - 43mins
A brilliant one-touch move that went through Paris Maghoma, Griffiths and Shashoua before coming back to Griffiths ended with the striker hitting the inside of the post before centre-back Tanganga got forward to net number three just before the break. Normally so dangerous with leaping headers in the opponents' box, he didn't have to climb as high this time as he made a near-post run to meet Shashoua's corner and nodded simply past goalkeeper Antreas Paraskevas.
Above: Reo Griffiths celebrates his goal with Paris Maghoma.
Penalty: Edwards hits the crossbar - 60mins
We were handed a chance to extend our lead on the hour mark when Shashoua swung in a free-kick and Roles was bundled over in the box by Kouppis, but Edwards' spot kick struck the underside of the bar with venom and bounced back out to safety.
Goal: Spurs 3-1 APOEL - Zacharias Adoni - 61mins
The visitors had more attacking impetus after the break but Brandon Austin in our goal wasn't really troubled. They did manage to get off the mark on 61 minutes, though, as Constantinos Karayiannis' free-kick from out wide on the right was flicked on, the ball was blocked amid a mass of bodies in the six yard box but fell kindly for Zacharias to ram home from close range.
Goal: Spurs 4-1 APOEL - Rodel Richards - 80mins
Keanan Bennetts went close with a header before we completed the scoring with 10 minutes remaining. Roles picked out Edwards attacking down the right and he pulled the ball back across for substitute Richards to steer low into the far corner.
Coach Scott Parker said
“It was a good, professional performance. APOEL were a team we lost to at their place so we didn’t underestimate them. Although they’ve not had great results in the group, our main focus was to get a result, we knew it was in our hands to win and confirm top of the group and I thought the lads did that very well. In the second half, we had a little bit of a scare when they scored at 3-1 and gave it a bit of a push, but the lads saw out the game and deserved the win. I never felt at any point that we weren’t in control but I suppose the goal was a massive confidence boost for them and you never know, after that, the next goal is crucial but I still felt we controlled the game and in the end showed other bits of quality which pulled us away.
“The experience for some of the younger boys today is crucial, with some Under-17s coming off the bench or starting. It’s been an older group with the Under-19s who are mainly playing in the Under-23s domestically, so to field some of those younger boys, it was good, vital experience for them.”
Spurs: Austin, Eyoma, Bennetts, Skipp (Bowden 82), Tanganga, Marsh, S Shashoua, Roles, Griffiths (Richards 73), Edwards (c), P Maghoma (Reynolds 61). Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Patterson, Hinds, A Shashoua.
APOEL: Paraskevas, Kouppis, Constantinos, Stylianides, Zacharias (c), Neophytos, Sokratous (Okkaridis 46), Artemiou, Grubac, Naoum (Polikarpou 46), Andreou (Charalambous 81). Substitutes (not used): Priniotaki, Papdopoulos, Papoutsos, Veletinas.
Goals: Spurs - Griffiths 12, Edwards 29, Tanganga 43, Richards 80; APOEL - Adoni 61.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Richards 89; APOEL - Kouppis 59.
Referee: Erik Lambrechts.
We resume UEFA Youth League duties in February, so for now it's back to domestic action and an Under-18 Premier League fixture against Chelsea at Hotspur Way on Saturday (kick-off 11am).