Dele marks homecoming with a goal in pre-season win at MK Dons
MK Dons 1-3 Spurs
Wed 28 July 2021, 21:50|Tottenham Hotspur
Dele Alli scored against his former club as we continued our unbeaten pre-season campaign under Nuno Espirito Santo with a 3-1 victory at MK Dons on Wednesday.
Captain on the night, Dele was unselfishly set up by opening goalscorer Heung-Min Son just prior to the hour mark, before Lucas Moura bagged our third with nine minutes left, ensuring the same three players who scored in last week's triumph at Colchester United were on target again.
Goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman saved an early penalty from Matt O'Riley and once again pulled off a number of fine stops on his second consecutive start, although he was powerless to prevent John Freeman's looping effort from nestling into the top corner as the home side bagged a late consolation.
Full-backs Matt Doherty and Sergio Reguilon started with Club captain Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies named on the bench as Head Coach Nuno welcomed four more players into the matchday squad for the first time this summer.
The attacking trio of Lucas, Son and Steven Bergwijn were always a threat going forward but after the latter's shot sailed wide, it was the Dons who had the chance to take an early lead when Scott Twine burst through on goal and went down under the advancing Whiteman's challenge, but the goalkeeper kept his cool to save O'Riley's resulting penalty down to his left.
Son and Bergwijn were both off-target in short order after each was set up by the other, while some super skills from the combination of Bergwijn and Dele down the left flank ended with the home-town hero's shot from the edge of the box being charged down. Reguilon then burst in on goal from the left, his shot looping up off Dons goalkeeper Franco Ravizzoli with the ball headed off the line by Warren O'Hora.
We thought we had the lead just after the mid-way point of the first half when Dele's excellent pass completely outfoxed the hosts' back line and allowed Son to fire home, but the off-side flag cut the away end's celebrations short. Nevertheless, we pressed on and Son did get us off the mark with 10 minutes to go until half-time, deftly chipping Ravizzoli from a tight angle on the right after being played in by a superb pass from Lucas.
The unsettled weather conditions saw a rainbow emerge above Stadium MK towards the end of the first half, the pot of gold at the end of it proving to be an excellent save from Whiteman who dived full stretch to his right to turn Twine's long-range free-kick behind for a corner. Opposite number Ravizzoli thwarted Son at the start of the second period, but we weren't to be denied for long as the South Korean international pounced again on 57 minutes, this time squaring for Dele to roll home his customary goal at his old haunt from just inside the area. Ravizzoli subsequently denied Bergwijn on the break before getting a strong hand down to his right to somehow keep out Cameron Carter-Vickers' brilliant header from Son's corner, Dele then flagged off-side as he swept the loose ball over the line at the far post.
Twine's free-kick was well saved by Whiteman just beyond the hour mark but we continued to create chances by putting pressure on the Dons in their own half and forcing mistakes, Dele winning the ball in the box but delaying his shot and seeing it blocked in the goalmouth by James Morton. Lucas made no mistake on 81 minutes, though, pouncing on a loose ball at the back and converting from the right angle inside the box for 3-0.
Dele received a standing ovation as he left the field on 82 minutes, with the home crowd given something extra to cheer two minutes later when Freeman's effort looped in from distance amid a late spell of pressure from the Dons.
Reaction on Spurs TV
Nuno told Spurs TV afterwards: "I thought the players worked very hard, were well organised and there was some good movement, the way they moved the ball, the speed of the lines and the possession was good. We had more chances, that character of putting the ball in the net is important because if you can score more goals, the better you feel, the more confident you become. Every chance we make, we have to put it away."
Highlights on Spurs TV
MK Dons 1-3 Spurs
MK Dons: Ravizzoli (Walker 72), Watson (Freeman 72), Darling, O'Hora (Ilunga 66), Baldwin (Robson 66), O'Riley (Jules 66), Kasumu (c) (Morton 72), Watters (Brown 64), Eisa (Bird 72), Harvie (Lewington 66), Twine (Martin 72).
Spurs: Whiteman, Doherty (Paskotsi 64), Carter-Vickers, Tanganga (Fagan-Walcott 86), Reguilon (Davies 64), John, Skipp (Omole 77), Dele (c) (White 82), Lucas (Clarke 82), Bergwijn (Parrott 82), Son (Scarlett 77). Substitute (not used): Lloris.
Goals: MK Dons - Freeman 84; Spurs - Son 35, Dele 57, Lucas 81.
Referee: John Busby.
Venue: Stadium MK.
Weather: Light showers, otherwise sunny, 16 degrees.