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Superb victory for youngsters against Marseille in UEFA Youth League opener

Spurs 3-0 Marseille (UEFA Youth League)

Wed 07 September 2022, 16:00|Tottenham Hotspur

Jamie Donley and Jaden Williams reformed their strike partnership to excellent effect, firing our Under-19s to a convincing 3-0 victory over Marseille on our return to the UEFA Youth League on Wednesday afternoon.

Prolific as a pairing in the Under-18s last season, the reunited duo picked up where they left off on their first taste of the prestigious European youth competition - the fixtures in which mirror those of the senior side in the UEFA Champions League - with Donley's early penalty added to by goals either side of half-time by Williams as we produced a statement victory at Hotspur Way in what was our first game in the competition since 2019.

The outcome continued a great week for Williams in particular, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Tuesday after bagging a hat-trick at Liverpool in the Under-18 Premier League Cup over the weekend.

In the main, we limited our French visitors to only a couple of shots from distance, with players in all areas of the pitch contributing to a dominant display.

An early downpour made conditions tricky in the early going, Esey Gebreyesus' angled effort blocked at his near post by goalkeeper Luca Gunter, who subsequently claimed Raimane Daou's rising effort on his line. In between those Marseille attempts, Romaine Mundle showed great determination to work himself into a shooting position after initially going to ground under a challenge, only to drag his eventual effort across goal and wide.

Donley, operating in the number 10 role slightly behind Williams, fired us ahead from the spot on 16 minutes after George Abbott had been felled right on the 18-yard line by Amay Caprice. Abbott also had a hand in our second, winning the ball on half-way and sending Mundle away down the right, who intially ran into bodies but still managed to squeeze a low ball across the six-yard box for Williams to simply tap in.

Jores Rahou gave us a scare when he strolled through our defence and blasted into the side netting in the lead-up to half-time, but that was a rare lapse for us and we killed the game off with a third goal within five minutes of the restart, Nile John's deflected shot from outside the box coming back off the bar and Williams reacting quickest to tuck home.

Marseille were restricted mainly to the odd shot from distance thereafter while we could've added to our lead four minutes from time when the excellent John broke free in behind the visitors' defence on the right and pulled the ball back for substitute Max McKnight, but his shot was saved by the legs of Jelle Van Neck. All told, we were well worthy of the victory as we put three early points on the board in Group D.

Highlights on SPURSPLAY

'The players applied themselves really well'

"Collectively it was a very good performance," coach Wayne Burnett told SPURSPLAY after the game. "We're absolutely delighted to be back in this competition, it's fantastic for the football club and to start with a 3-0 home win is very, very good. I felt that we controlled the game well in the first half, played some decent stuff in terms of how we built and we then got some control, so we were worthy of going in at the break 2-0 up. Jaden then got the third - he's a really hard-working number nine and we know he's going to score goals if we get the ball to him enough. Jamie Donley played a little bit deeper today but managed to score another goal, he threatens really well and his timing is excellent in terms of getting into the box, but I felt there were some really good performances throughout the team, some hard-working performances. The players applied themselves really well and to start in the group stage with a 3-0 win, it's very good."

Spurs 3-0 Marseille (UEFA Youth League)

Spurs: Gunter, Abbott, Ashcroft (Linton 87), Andiyapan, Dorrington, Craig (c), Mundle (Moore 82), John, Williams (Ajayi 82), Donley (Bloxham 87), Mathurin (McKnight 73). Substitutes (not used): Maguire, Chaplin.

Marseille: Van Neck, Caprice (Tunkadi 79), Ghaud, Boulmot, Mohamed, Said Mmadi (c), Hassad (Lukoki 61), Daou (Doumeng 79), Rahou (Benyahia Tani 67), Soglo, Gebreyesus. Substitutes (not used): Degermenci, Seha, Hadari.

Match data

Goals: Spurs - Donley 16 (pen), Williams 32, 50.

Yellow cards: Spurs - Donley 28; Marseille - Boulmot 14, Caprice 15, Hassad 56.

Referee: Jakob Alexander Sundberg (Denmark).

Venue: Hotspur Way, Enfield.

Weather: Mild, largely bright, occasional showers, 21 degrees.

Attendance: 215.