Parrott stunner seals important win over Olympiacos U19s
Spurs 1-0 Olympiacos (UEFA Youth League)
Tue 26 November 2019, 16:29|Tottenham Hotspur
A fine strike from Troy Parrott gave our Under-19s a vital 1-0 home win over Olympiacos in the UEFA Youth League on Tuesday afternoon.
Needing three points to maintain a realistic chance of qualifying from Group B, we finally found a breakthrough against the stubborn visitors with a real moment of quality shortly before the hour mark, striker Parrott stepping onto TJ Eyoma's pass and sending a first-time shot spinning into the top corner from 18 yards. Midfielder Harvey White, playing in a slightly more advanced role to usual, was left wondering how his name stayed off the scoresheet after being denied by two great saves from Olympiacos goalkeeper Kostas Tzolakis, but it was Parrott's strike that proved the difference on his return to the side at Hotspur Way, the young Irishman becoming the competition's top scorer with six goals in the process.
The Greek club arrived with a new man at the helm following our meeting in Athens on matchday one, their former goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis now in charge of their Academy, but we struggled to break them down in the first period and it was actually the visitors who had the best chance when Apostolos-Ilias Martinis cut in from the right and sent a low shot spinning towards the far bottom corner after 17 minutes, but Josh Oluwayemi was equal to it with a superb diving save to turn it around the post. Dilan Markanday and Parrott fired wide either side of that chance but despite J'Neil Bennett and Dennis Cirkin making advances down the left flank, there was little in the way of shooting opportunities created. Cirkin did force a save from Tzolakis 10 minutes before the interval with a right-foot shot from outside the box, but it was unfolding into a tight game.
It was largely one-way traffic in terms of possession and chances in the second period - Oluwayemi virtually a bystander - but it was still tough for us to find a way through. White latched onto Parrott's driven ball into the box at the back post but saw his effort somehow scrambled over the bar by Tzolakis four minutes after the restart but on 57 minutes we finally had lift-off. Eyoma's short pass in from the right was met by Parrott, who fired inside the near post with a curling first-time strike from the edge of the box. White's dipping left-footer from distance was dramatically tipped over the bar by Tzolakis 12 minutes from time and, with Olympiacos failing to really threaten since the interval, we saw out the game to claim maximum points, keeping us in with a shout of clinching second place when we go to Bayern Munich on matchday six in December.
The decisive moment arrived on 57 minutes and it left Olympiacos without a response. Parrott came up with a superb finish from the edge of the box to get our noses in front and we never looked in serious danger of losing the lead thereafter.
Academy Coach Ryan Mason said: “Obviously the most important thing today was to get the win and thankfully we did that, kept a clean sheet and I feel like we were always in control of the game. Our concentration was good, we had a few opportunities in the first half and didn't take them but we stayed patient while also being quite aggressive in the second half and thankfully Troy has produced a moment of absolute brilliance. He showed his quality today, he equipped himself perfectly and he was the difference today. Our keeper pulled off a good save in the first half but apart from that he didn't have to do much. Our concentration in possession was very good and we sustained attacks. Like we said at half-time, it was about moving the ball quickly and waiting for the gaps to open up. In the second half we probably should have had another two or three but I was pleased with how we stayed in the game, it was a mature performance and one that, if we'd had a couple of months ago, maybe we would have conceded, but out of possession we were fully in the game and you have to give the lads credit because they took the pressure on of having to win this game and we've done that so hopefully that will give us a chance in the last game in the group.”
Spurs 1-0 Olympiacos (UEFA Youth League)
Spurs: Oluwayemi, Eyoma, Cirkin, Bowden (c) (Pochettino 86), Binks, Fagan-Walcott, Markanday (Maghoma 70), Oakley-Boothe, Parrott (Richards 90+2), White, Bennett. Substitutes (not used): Lo-Tutala, Lusala, Muir, Robson.
Olympiacos: Tzolakis, Freris, Martinis, Neofytidis, Gkotzamanidis, Boskoudis (Aslanidis 76), Arsenidis (Tselios 65), Nikolis, Voilis (c) (Bullari 76), Fekkas (Ntotis 84), Sourlis (Katsavakis 76). Substitutes (not used): Stournaras, Liatsos.
Goal: Spurs - Parrott 57.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Eyoma 15, Cirkin 63, Parrott 74; Olympiacos - Martinis 65.
Referee: Peter Kjaesgaard (DEN).
Venue: Hotspur Way, Enfield.
Weather: Light rain, moderate breeze, 13 degrees.