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#U18 #MatchReport #Southampton #YagoSantiago

Santiago shines as youngsters beat Saints

Southampton 0-3 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 10 April 2021, 15:18|Tottenham Hotspur

Yago Santiago marked his return to the starting line-up with a superb goal and assist as our Under-18s claimed a hard-earned 3-0 win at Southampton on Saturday.

The Spanish winger, a lively influence off the bench in the FA Youth Cup win at AFC Wimbledon last week, exhibited some excellent footwork to fire us into a 25th-minute lead at Staplewood before setting up Michael Craig for his first league goal of the season in the last few minutes. In between, Romaine Mundle finished off Kallum Cesay’s pass on the break for his second goal in as many games.

The hosts, bottom of the Under-18 Premier League table, fielded a young side including a number of Under-16s players – we also gave a debut to Under-16s midfielder Rio Kyerematen – but we struggled to create many chances in the first quarter of the game, Roshaun Mathurin, operating as the central striker, going closest when he saw a shot parried out by goalkeeper Matt Hall.

The opener arrived on 25 minutes, Santiago making a superb individual run into the box, exchanging passes with Mathurin to take several defenders out of the equation before converting from the left angle, while Luke Pearce lifted an effort over the bar for Southampton in what was arguably their best chance of the game. Cesay sent a couple of dangerous deliveries into the area from the right over the course of the first half but we couldn’t capitalise, but a greater tenacity to press high and win the ball in the second period saw us take full command.

Cesay, who moved from right-back into central attacking midfield after an hour, stepped in to steal possession just outside the Southampton box and set up Mathurin but he was denied by a last-ditch challenge from Sonnie Davis, before good work from both Matthew and Michael Craig in central midfield saw us win the ball once more and spring forward on the break, Cesay laying off for Mundle to fire home from the inside right channel on 71 minutes.

We were never truly threatened at the other end and added a third goal three minutes from time when Santiago worked his way to the byline on the left and cut the ball back for Michael Craig, who guided his shot into the far bottom corner.

‘There’s so much more to come from the players’

Under-18s Coach Matt Taylor said afterwards: “We were dominant for the majority of the game but at half-time it was 1-0, we’d had a few chances but we probably didn’t dominate the game enough with the ball when we had it and we didn’t manage the tempo well enough. All in all, we’re pleased that we’ve won the game but I think there’s so much more to come from the players in terms of their performance. When we were on the front foot, we were far more dominant but we didn’t do that for 90 minutes and that’s something that we need to get better at individually and as a team.

“We had a higher starting position when Southampton had the ball in the second half, we spoke about that a lot at half-time. We sat off them in the first half, we weren’t aggressive enough and it wasn’t our best performance in the first 45 minutes without the ball – we were better in the second half and when we win the ball and we’ve got more energy, we’ve got more quality in the final third. We scored three good goals today – seeing Yago get his goal and assist, I’m extremely happy for him, Kallum Cesay showed very good energy but we’re going to need more of that as the season goes on.”

Southampton 0-3 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Lo-Tutala (c), Cesay (Kyezu 79), Hackett, Matthew Craig, Muir, Paskotsi, Mundle (J Davies 77), Michael Craig, Mathurin, Kyerematen (Cassanova 60), Santiago. Substitute (not used): Hayton.