Tough test in Spain
Girona 4-1 Spurs
04 August 2018|Tottenham Hotspur
A cracking early free-kick from Lucas Moura was cancelled out as our young side lost to Girona at Estadi Montilivi on Saturday evening.
In a testing final work-out of pre-season, we forged ahead early on, but two goals either side of half-time from Juanpe, Lozano, Portu and Aleix Garcia consigned us to a 4-1 defeat.
With all of our World Cup contingent bar Heung-Min Son not on the plane, it was a huge opportunity for our Academy starlets to step up and experience the trials and tribulations of top-level football in searing heat against a team from La Liga.
And useful lessons will have certainly been learned by players from all levels as we move towards the start of the new campaign next weekend.
Ben Davies, playing at centre-half, made a useful early block and captain Michel Vorm saved brilliantly from Lozano before Lucas fired us ahead. After being upended 20 yards out, he arrowed his free-kick into the top corner on his right foot with 13 minutes gone.
With an energetic young central midfield trio of Luke Amos, Oliver Skipp and George Marsh looking to keep us going forward, we pressed high but the team succumbed to a handful of balls over the top or through the middle, keeping Davies and Vorm busy.
The equaliser arrived mid-way through the first half as Timor's long-range free-kick hit the post and Girona worked the ball back in to Juanpe who converted from the right side.
It was 2-1 shortly after a drinks break to cope with the sweaty conditions inside the stadium as Bernardo sped away down Girona's right and fed the ball across for Lozano to steer home. The centre-forward thought he'd scored again moments later but was once more denied by a stunning save from Vorm on his line down to his left.
Amos' mis-hit effort trickled just wide at the start of the second period but our high defensive line was exploited on 53 minutes when Portu got onto a lethal through ball and slotted beyond substitute Paulo Gazzaniga.
Some wayward passing led to a fourth goal for Girona just after the hour mark as Portu found himself clean through, hitting the post with his first shot and seeing the second well blocked by young centre-back TJ Eyoma before Aleix Garcia rifled in the second rebound.
Centre-halves Jon Dinzeyi and Japhet Tanganga, forward Shilow Tracey and Under-18s central midfielders Jamie Bowden and Paris Maghoma entered the fray for their first taste of senior action and all will have picked up some invaluable experience alongside some of the Academy players who shone on our tour of the USA this summer.
Girona 4-1 Spurs
Girona: Bono (Giorgi 84), Juanpe (Ramalho 78), Bernardo (Planas 73), Muniesa (Alcala 73), Aleix Garcia (Vito 84), Timor (Pere Pons 65), Borja Garcia (Andzouana 78), Pedro Porro (Montes 78), Portu (Aday 70), Alex Granell (c), Lozano (Soni 65).
Spurs: Vorm (c, Gazzaniga 46), Aurier (Walker-Peters 46), Eyoma (Dinzeyi 79), Davies, Georgiou, Amos (Maghoma 79), Marsh (Bowden 83), Skipp, Lucas (Llorente 46), Nkoudou (Tanganga 63), Son (Tracey 79). Substitute (not used): Whiteman.
Goals: Girona - Juanpe 22, Lozano 34, Portu 53, Aleix Garcia 61; Spurs - Lucas 13.
Yellow cards: Girona - Borja Garcia 35, Alex Granell 44, Muniesa 45+2, Soni 66.
Referee: Jose Luis Munuera Montero.