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Unbeaten start for Academy in Holland

15 May 2015|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Academy side got off to a solid start at the Terborg Tournament in Holland on Friday afternoon, with only a last-gasp equaliser from Club Brugge denying us back-to-back victories.

Having picked up a 1-0 win over South African side Ajax Cape Town in the afternoon courtesy of a Harry Winks penalty, we took the lead against Club Brugge in the evening through Nathan Oduwa – only for the Belgian outfit to grab a stoppage time leveller and snatch a 1-1 draw.

Coach Matt Wells confirmed that late drama was the only major negative point on an otherwise encouraging day in the group stage of the competition.

“The first game against Ajax Cape Town was a sound tournament performance,” he said. “I don’t think we quite hit the collective style target we wanted to hit but in terms of honesty and effort it was very good.

“I thought Harry Winks and Nathan Oduwa were probably the stand-out players in that game and, at the back, Christian Maghoma had a very good match as well so in terms of being effective at both ends we were pleased with the performance.

“The game against Club Brugge was a big improvement and we did a lot of the things we spoke about after the first match in terms of our style and the way we wanted to play, while still within that getting the individuals to go for it and trying to excel in their specialist areas.

“There were a lot of stand-out performers and it was a pleasing effort collectively and individually, but a tiny moment at the end set us back a little bit so hopefully there’s a big lesson learned there in terms of needing to take your chances to put the game to bed and the importance of concentration right at the end.”

Playing 40-minute games, the lads restricted the opportunities of Ajax Cape Town in the opening match with our first real chance falling to Josh Onomah. He latched onto a wide free-kick from Winks, volleying into the ground and towards goal at the back post and forcing the goalkeeper to make a smart save.

We took the lead on the stroke of half-time, Oduwa cutting into the box behind the left-back and being brought down, with Winks confidently firing us ahead from the resulting penalty.

Onomah again went close in the second half, trying a first-time shot from Joe Muscatt’s cut-back on the left side of the box and again producing a save from the keeper, but we had already done enough to run out 1-0 winners.

The first half against Club Brugge remained goalless, although we nearly made a 10th-minute breakthrough when Chris Paul overlapped Oduwa down the right and lofted in a cross which Charlie Owens volleyed towards goal from 12 yards out.

The goalkeeper made a save on that occasion, but he was unable to prevent Oduwa from firing us ahead five minutes after the interval – the attacker cutting in from the right and finding the net with a left-footed shot from just outside the area.

The Club Brugge keeper then made two good saves to prevent us from extending our lead, denying Ryan Loft from a tight angle on the right at his near post and then diving low to his right to keep out a fierce Emmanuel Sonupe drive from a similar position.

But in the second minute of stoppage time the Belgian side grabbed an equaliser with a free header from a corner, leaving us with four points out of six on the opening day.

We meet Fluminense of Brazil (2.10pm local time) and Dutch giants AZ Alkmaar (5.30pm local time) on Saturday.

Spurs (vs Ajax Cape Town): Voss, Walker-Peters (Paul 31), Muscatt, Lesniak, Maghoma, Walkes, Sonupe (Georgiou 37), Onomah (Stylianides 31), Harrison (Loft 34), Winks, Oduwa.

Spurs (vs Club Brugge): McDermott, Paul, Walker-Peters, Owens (Onomah 38), Maghoma, Lesniak, Oduwa (Sonupe 29), Winks (Stylianides 29), Loft, Goddard, Georgiou.