Date : –  Sunday 6th August 2023 Kick off : –  14.00
Competition : –  Friendly Venue : –  Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Crowd : –  56,331
Referee : –  David Coote (Nottinghamshire) Linesmen : – Mr. Adam Nunn; Mr. Nick Hopton
Fourth official : –  Paul Howard
Weather : –  Warm sunshine and heavy rain in the second half
Shakhtar Donetsk kicked off the first half attacking the Park Lane end
Playing time : –   90 + 7 minutes


    Kane (p)  37m 20s   Kelsey  44m 44s
    Kane 49m 15s   
    Kane  52m 40s   
    Kane  78m 36s   
    Scarlett  90+3m 16s   
  Romero  (foul on )  59   Newerton  (pushing Kulusevski over)  83
  Scarlett  (foul on )  84   Castillo  (diving)  86
  Royal  (foul on )  85     


13.   Guglielmo VICARIO 30.   Andriy PIATOV  (  31.   Dmytro RIZNYK  17) 
12.   Emerson ROYAL  13.   Giorgi GOCHOLEISHVILI
17.   Cristian ROMERO  32.   Eduard KOZIK  (  3.   Stav LEMKIN  46) 
33.   Ben DAVIES 22.   Mykola MATVIYENKO (c)
73.   Destiny UDOGIE 20.   Dmyto TOPALOV  (  23.   PEDRINHO  60)
29.   Pape Matar SARR  (  4.   Oliver SKIPP  87)   21.   Artem BONDARENKO  (  27.   Oleg OCHERETKO  60) 
5.   Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG 29.   Yehor NAZARYNA  (  2.   Lassina TRAORE  81) 
21.   Dejan KULUSEVSKI 11.   Oleksander ZUBKOV  (  90.   Oleksiy KASHCHUK  46) 
71.   James MADDISON   (  18.   Oliver SKIPP  77)   8.   Dmytro KRYSKIV  (  39.   NEWERTON Palmares  75) 
7.   Heung-Min SON  (  72.   Manor SOLOMON  78)   14.   Danylo SIKAN  (  17.   Bogdan VIUNNYK  75) 
10.   Harry KANE  (c)          (  44.   Dane SCARLETT  80    18.   Kevin KELSEY     (  4.   Denil CASTILLO  75 
Substitutes Substitutes
40.   Brandon AUSTIN 1.   Anatoniy TRUBIN
64.   Luca GUNTER 48.   Denys TVARDOVSKYI
3.   Sergio REGUILON 12.   Tymur PUZNAKOV
6.   Davinson SANCHEZ 99.   Viktor KORNIIENKO
15.   Eric DIER 28.   Marian FARYNA
8.   Yves BISSOUMA 15.   Anton GLUSHCHENKO
23.   Pedro PORRO  
14.   Ivan PERISIC   

    = Assist        =  Goal scored       =  Own goal scored

Manager : –  Ange Postecoglou Manager : –  Patrick van Leeuwen
Kit Supplier : – Nike Kit Supplier : – Puma
Shirt Sponsor : – AIA Shirt Sponsor : – SCM
Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : –
Colours : –  All white with Navy blue collar and cuffs
Colours : –  Orange and black striped shirts, Black shorts, Black socks with one orange hoop
Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website


Sunshine and rain and a torrent of goals typified this 5-1 friendly win for Spurs against Shakhtar Donetsk in a match to raise money for those caught up in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Spurs were on the front foot from the start and within three minutes, Royal intercepted a pass out of defence from the keeper Piatov, the ball move don to Dejan Kulusevski and he fed Harry Kane in the box.  He took one touch with his left foot, struck it with his right and the keeper made a very good save while Matviyenko made a superb block to take Emerson’s follow-up shot over the bar.  The corner was cleared, but straight to Pape Matar Sarr, who volleyed low, but straight to the keeper from outside the area. 

Kane was showing he was still up for it despite all the speculation surrounding his future at Tottenham and one turn, holding off two Shakhtar players in the centre-circle was  followed by a fine pass inside the full back for Son to get in behind on the left wing.  Tottenham’s press was suffocating the Shakhtar side, who were trying to play the ball out, but it was regularly being picked off by the white shirts.  When they did get forward, Sikan tried to come inside off the left, but a touch, well-timed tackle by Romero was celebrated like he had scored a goal.  Tottenham players were working back really hard to win the ball in the warm sun and the passing and movement was causing plenty of trouble for the visitors.  

With the flat back four and players pressing hard, there is a susceptibility to being caught out by a ball over the top.  Sikan got onto a pass over Royal’s head and as he came inside, Guglielmo Vicario came out, went back and then came again to dive at his feet at the near post to block the ball out for a corner.  At that point, Andriy Piatov was substituted in a pre-arranged celebration to mark his retirement after 482 games for Shakhtar and his team-mates and club staff formed a guard of honour as he left the pitch, with Manor Solomon also going over to offer his congratulations to his former team’s goalkeeper.  When play resumed, the corner was unconvincingly cleared by Spurs, but better than in our previous friendlies, where we had conceded goals.   

Shaktar showed that they could be dangerous, with a cross-field pass ending up freeing a rapid over-lapping full-back whose cross whizzed across the face of goal and Sikan came in at the far post, forcing Royal to block his shot, although Vicario may have recovered his position anyway had it reached the goal.  From that chance, Spurs broke and Royal, Maddison and Kulusevski worked an opening on the right hand corner of the box that Dejan took on and shot low to the keeper’s right, with Riznyk doing well to get down to and palming away from danger.  Halfway through the half, Son, Kane and Udogie inter-changed passes inside the Shakhtar box and the new Italian signing pulled the ball back across the face of goal, but there were only orange and black striped shirts there.

When Son’s cross was punched away by Riznyk, Udogie picked up the ball, who moved it back to Hojbjerg 25 yards out and he played it to Sarr, just on the  edge of the area.  He took a touch to his left and then blazed a shot at goal that Riznyk did well to reach up to with his right hand and push over the bar.  On 35 minutes, Kulusevski picked up a stray pass and crossed, only to see Riznyk flap at the ball and it come off Pape., which could have gone anywhere, but, fortunately for the keeper, it slid just wide of the far post.  A minute later Romero played another fine pass out to Son on the left,  with the ball slipped into the box for Maddison, who turned and had his legs taken from under him by Kozik.  Kane stepped up and even though the keeper tried to fool him by moving to his right and then diving left, Harry’s shot found the bottom keeper out of his reach.  If Riznyk hadn’t taken that step right and just dived full-length, he might have got closer to it.

Spurs almost had a second with 40 minutes gone, when Kulusevski caused panic in the opposition box and it ran to Maddison, who showed great footwork, dragging the ball back and then nipping between two defenders, but he just wasn’t able to get a decent contact on the ball when he shot and it was more or less prodded wide.  After Kane had been beaten to what looked like a through pass that was going to put him in, Shakhtar built a move from the back that brought their equaliser.  Sikan had time on the left to bend a left-footed cross swinging in towards goal and Kevin Kelsey beat Ben Davies in the air to head it down to Vicario’s left and into the bottom corner.   

There was just time for Romero to play a diagonal pass to Son on the left and he volleyed the ball across the face of goal, again without a white shirt there to finish it off.  In the final seconds of added time, James Maddison stretched to reach a ball in the centre circle and poked it on for Kulusevski, but Riznyk got there first, only to belt the ball against Dejan and the ball flew agonisingly towards the Shakhtar goal, but it wasn’t going to reach the net and a defender stopped it before it got to the six yard box.

The pressing at the start of the second half was intense.  When the ball came to Maddison on the Spurs left, he lifted it to the six-yard line and Harry kane rose highest to high down and back across the keeper to find the net.  The 2-1 score-line reinstated Tottenham’s lead.

A cross in the 52nd minute a right-wing cross from Shakhtar found Spurs allowing Topolov coming in behind and he volleyed wide, but was offside anyway.  However, it was worrying that this sort of move has found us out in pre-season.  Twice the referee had caught Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as hew as running backwards and during a break in play the Dane had a word with the match official about it.  Pierre was next involved in something more beneficial to Tottenham when he jumped to head a ball out from defence forward to Heung-Min Son.  The Korean slipped the ball to the right of the D to Dejan, who threaded a ball through Matviyenko’s legs, leaving Harry the simple task of tucking it away past the keeper’s right hand to record another hat-trick in our colours from ten yards out.  Another excellent build-up and another fine finish form the master goal-scorer.

3-1 with 55 minutes gone and Shakhtar not really threatening the Spurs goal this half, it looked like a stroll in the sunshine for Spurs.  It did provide a bit of work for Ben Davies, as Udogie eased a Shakhtar player off the ball as he broke into the Spurs half and the ball ran loose, Ben lost his footing and had to adjust his body position to head the ball back to Destiny while he was on the floor !!  Udogie then popped up in the left of the box, after Maddison had played the ball into the box to Son and he laid it into the Italian’s path, but it rose over the bar as he powered it off his left foot.

Cristian Romero launched a tackle on Kryskiv from around ten yards away and although he won the ball, he went right through the player and got a yellow card for it.  Kane tried to flick the ball behind his standing leg when Son played a low ball in and it missed by a yard and had Kulusevski coming in just too late as well.  Spurs were keeping the ball around the Shakhtar area and in one move, Son, Udogie and Maddison all had opportunities to shoot before James curled a low effort that the keeper got behind.  Son blazed a shot over with one of his trademark curlers, Kulusevski dumped his man on the floor before shooting at the near post, with the keeper saving it, a short Maddison free-kick on the right gave Dejan a chance to come into the box and fire a shot that bounced away off a defender as Spurs dominated.  Shakhtar had their first chance twelve minute from the end, when a straight ball got and Vyunnik was onto it and pulled his shot across goal from the right.  Straight away sub Lo Celso played the ball left to sub Solomon, who made his trademark move in coming inside and bending a shot towards the opposite bottom corner.  The keeper was equal to it, but could only push it into Harry Kane’s path a couple of yards out and he had a tap-in for his fourth of the game.  It was an easy one, but again, the pressure on the visitors’ goal brought the chance.

Dane Scarlett came on for Harry Kane after the goal and got booked for a late challenge on Matviyenko when closing him down.  With five minutes to go, Shakhtar had their best effort of the half when Vyunnik broke on the right and pulled a low ball back into the box for Newerton to fire a shot towards the top of the net from ten yards out, but Guglielmo Vicario dived up to turn it over the bar with a very good save.  He had to be alert again a minute after, when Lassina Troare weaved his way into the box before going down and being told to get up by the ref.  Vicario had come out to claim the ball at the feet of another Shakhtar player but the ref stopped him getting on with the game as he booked Traore for diving.

At the other end Kulusevski drove a shot at goal and it took a flick off a defender’s foot to go over for a corner and from it, the ball was worked short for Gio to shoot low, but Riznyk was right behind it.  The keeper did well again, when Dejan made a yard to shoot after turning left and right a couple of times, but the keeper beat it out to his left.  Perhaps keeping the best for last, Kulusevski played a ball into the box and it went to Dane Scarlett.  With his back to goal, he took a touch with his right foot, taking the ball away from goal and then turned to smash a left foot drive powerfully past the goalkeeper to make it 5-1.

Towards the end of the match, some fool had started a Mexican Wave.  Let’s make this clear.  MEXICAN WAVES HAVE NO PLACE AT FOOTBALL MATCHES … NOT EVEN IN MEXICO !!!  Let’s hope they are soon to be banned from stadia, along with bits of cardboard asking for players’ shirts.

For all that it was a friendly, it was against a side who will play in the group stages of the Champions League and have already started their league season, but the vision of the way that Postecoglou wants the team to play and not being satisfied when we are not ramming home our superiority hints at an attacking ruthlessness that we have not seen from the team for some time.  Gone seem to be the defensive orientated strategies of our most recent managers and a solid base for the forward players to enjoy themselves.

While the media made much of Harry Kane’s clapping of the fans at the end, these people must not realise that it is something he does on a routine basis … and yes, one day it will be for the last time, but they are just trying to hurry that day along for their own purposes.  His clinical finishing and his Instagram post after the match about ramping it up shows he just concentrates on what he does.  The deadlines set are for others to worry about.  It reminds me of the quote by author Douglas Adams, “I love deadlines.  I love to the whooshing noise they make as the go by.”

There were good performances all round.  Vicario had long periods of nothing to do and then pulled off a fine reflex save; Romero was aggressive and just needs to channel that a bit more to stop picking up needless bookings; Hojbjerg was pulling the strings in midfield alongside Pape Matar Sarr, who showed great energy and a lot of promise; Udogie showed both strength and poise, looking to swap positions, when he had the chance, with Son, who worked hard all game without much reward; Kulusevski had fun tormenting his marker and looks comfortable in the role he has been given, while Maddison clearly has fitted into Ange’s system straight away, showing great footwork in and around the opposition area.  Ben Davies was his usual solid self and Emerson Royal was often pushing up as our furthest forward player, but did his defensive work well too.

The only disappointment was the goal.  The Shak attack looked a little lively, but failed to work Guglielmo too much until near the end of the match although the goal that they scored was a good one.  The ball across was well-flighted, but it dropped between two central defenders and with a flat back four being implemented, there is still uncertainty there about who goes for the ball or marks their man.   With three centre backs previously, it was one man in the middle to attack the ball there, so now, whoever is playing there, needs to communicate who will be the one attacking an incoming cross.  The other thing with the back four is the ball over the top or beyond the defence.  We have been caught out by straight balls down the middle and it must be hoped that the signing of Micky van de Ven will deal with this, as he is reputed to be very quick.

It was just a friendly, but that is 12 goals in 3 games and over 100 shots on goal.  If it is trophies that Harry wants, then go and play in a one team league and get the Brasso in.  For a goal-scorer, he might just be looking at his side and licking his lips.  As always, harder matches to come and the side are still adapting to Postecoglou’s methods, but it looks like there might be something there to work with come next Sunday.

Ben Drake