Stoke 3-0 Spurs
Report from the Britannia
09 May 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke City got the better of us at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 2-0 at the break through goals from Charlie Adam and Steven Nzonzi, any hopes of a comeback were dashed by a second yellow card and subsequent sending off of Vlad Chiriches six minutes into the second half.
The 10 men competed well against a well-drilled Stoke side and a late goal from Mame Diouf was a blow, but it was difficult to argue about the destiny of the points on this occasion.
A groin injury into Danny Rose forced Mauricio Pochettino into just one change from the side defeated by Manchester City last weekend, as Chiriches partnered Federico Fazio in the heart of the defence with Jan Vertonghen sliding across to left back.
A chilly, stiff breeze greeted both sides at the Britannia Stadium.
We came under some early pressure and were indebted to Hugo Lloris early on when he brilliantly tipped over a long range effort from Marc Muniesa.
It was largely going the way of the home side in the opening exchanges, although Harry Kane found space on the left but his cross let him down as Jack Butland gathered his low effort.
Both sets of supporters shared a poignant moment as there was a minute’s applause for Spurs legend Jimmy Greaves - all four sides of the ground paid tribute to the former striker, who is recovering from a stroke.
Marko Arnautovic stung the palms of Lloris as the home side sensed a goal and they soon found a way in front. Diouf crossed from the right and it flicked off Vertonghen into the path of Charlie Adam, who stooped to head home.
We almost found a leveller with immediate effect as Erik Lamela curled a free-kick in from the right and Muniesa looped a header against his own crossbar.
Things got worse for us, though, as the home side doubled their lead. Lloris and Eric Dier challenged for the same ball and it ran into the path of Nzonzi who kept his cool to slot home.
Ryan Mason looked in the mood for a goal and twice tested Butland with decent efforts but the two-goal deficit remained as the players headed down the tunnel for the interval.
Christian Eriksen showed signs of a second half revival as he tested Butland early on but things soon got worse when Chiriches was sent off. Having already been booked in the first period, the Romanian international hauled down Diouf to halt a Stoke counter and was duly given a second yellow by referee Mark Clattenburg.
It was the seventh red card in as many meetings between the two teams and prompted Pochettino to shift Nabil Bentaleb to a less familiar left-back role with Vertonghen moving into the centre.
Lloris did well to deny Adam on the hour mark as he dived full stretch to push his curling effort away.
We didn’t give up though as Dier went close from an Eriksen cross soon after and Roberto Soldado entered the action with Chadli making way.
Eriksen looked our most attacking threat as we enjoyed our best spell of the game yet still struggled to test Butland further.
Lloris on the other hand made a point-blank save to deny Jonathan Walters before Eriksen almost replicated his free-kick at Sheffield United earlier in the season when he curled one just wide of the far post.
It looked like staying 2-0 but Stoke grabbed a third late on when the busy Arnautovic's low cross was turned home by Diouf at the near post.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“I’m very disappointed with the result and our performance in the first half,” reflected Mauricio.
“We conceded two goals and after that, it was difficult to come back into the game and when Vlad got the red card, it was even harder.
“We showed spirit with 10 men but it was too late. We need to show that from the beginning of the game, not react when we’re already down. That was our mistake.
“We’re also disappointed for all the fans who came here to support us, they deserve more and for that reason, we’re all sad.”
Stoke: Butland, Cameron, Shawcross (c), Muniesa, Pieters, Nzonzi, Whelan (Sidwell, 88), Walters (Odemwingie, 84), Adam (Ireland, 72), Arnautovic, Diouf. Substitutes (not used): Sorensen, Bardsley, Crouch, Wollscheid.
Spurs: Lloris (c), Dier, Fazio, Chiriches, Vertonghen, Bentaleb, Mason, Lamela (Dembele, 76), Eriksen, Chadli (Soldado, 61), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Rose, Yedlin, Townsend, Stambouli.
Goals: Stoke - Adam (21), Nzonzi (33), Diouf (86).
Yellow cards: Spurs - Chiriches (16, 51).
Red card: Spurs - Chiriches (51).
Referee: Mark Clattenburg.