|AS ROMA 1 (1)
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)
|Date : – Saturday 30th July 2022
|Kick off : – 19.15 (UK time)
|Competition : – I-Tech Cup
|Venue : – Sammy Ofer Stadium, Haifa
|Crowd : – 20,000
|Referee : – Yigal Frid
|Linesmen : – Mr. . ??; Mr. . ??
|Fourth official : –
|Weather : – Dry, warm
|Spurs kicked off the first half.
|Playing time : – 90 + 6 minutes
|Ibanez 28m 40s (assist by Dybala)
|Pellegrini (confrontation with Romero) 83
|Romero (confrontation with Pellegrini) 83
|Hugo LLORIS (c) ( 20. Fraser FORSTER 67)
|Davinson SANCHEZ ( 34. Clement LENGLET 46)
|Matt DOHERTY ( 12. Emerson ROYAL 67)
|Nicolo ZANIOLO ( 52. Eduardo BOVE 90+1)
|Yves BISSOUMA ( 30. Rodrigo BENTACUR 46)
|Nicola ZALEWSKI ( 37. Leonardo SPINAZOLLA 60)
|Ivan PERISIC ( 19. Ryan SESSEGNON 75)
|Paulo DYBALA ( 8. Nemanja MATIC 60)
|Dejan KULUSEVSKI ( 27. Lucas MOURA 67)
|Lorenzo PELLEGRINI (c) ( 92. Stephen El SHAARAWY 90+3)
|Heung-Min SON ( 9. RICHARLISON 67)
|Pape Matar SARR
|Manager : – Jose Mourinho
|Manager : – Antonio Conte
|Kit Supplier : – New Balance
|Kit Supplier : – Nike
|Shirt Sponsor : – digitalbits
|Shirt Sponsor : – AIA
|Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – –
|Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch
|Colours : – Dark red shirts, Dark red shorts, Dark red socks
|Colours : – Mid-Blue shirt body with Black shoulder and arms and a Volt yellow insert under neck and around cuff, Black shorts, Volt Yellow socks with Black turnover
|A first half headed goal by Roger Ibanez was the difference between the two sides in the final result, but in a game containing some feisty moments and some horrendously bad refereeing. For a pre-season friendly, it didn’t live up to its name and the control that Spurs showed through the majority of the game was admirable, although they were unable to find the net.
Both sides showed off some of their new signings and Spurs had a good opportunity to run their eye over a player who could be a possible signing.
Within 50 seconds, Roma had broken into the right side of the Tottenham penalty area and a low ball was pulled back for Tammy Abraham. He scuffed his shot with Davinson Sanchez blocking it, but it dropped for Paulo Dybala, who was denied from a yard out by Lloris’ recovery save and then the Spurs captain bundled the ball wide of the post as the Argentine striker tried to smuggle the ball past him at his near post.
Spurs responded in the fifth minute when Matt Doherty controlled a long diagonal pass from Eric Dier and slipped it inside to Harry Kane. Playing a pass behind the Roma left back, he put Dejan Kulusevski in the clear on the right and his low ball into the box had to be hacked out for a corner from in front of goal as Heung-Min Son looked to get on the end of it.
Fifteen minutes into the game, Spurs enjoyed a long passage of passes, ending with Hojbjerg hanging a ball up to the far post from infield on the left and Kane went for it, but only succeeded in getting in Doherty’s way, with the Irishman having the better run on the ball, although he could make no contact with his head as Harry went for it with his boot.
The referee was letting a lot go, as Karsdorp pulled back Son as he went past him and looked to break into the box and Kulusevski was pulled down, but nothing was given on either occasion. However, when Hojbjerg played another ball forward, this time from the right, Perisic did well to nod the ball back away from goal to provide Son with a volley that flew a couple of feet too high from the 18 yard line. That brought a cooling break as the players took fluids on board and there was some scrappy play before Zaniolo put Abraham away on the left and as he cut into the box, Sanchez came across to block his shot for a corner. It was played to the edge of the six yard box and Roger Ibanez rose above Perisic to plant a firm header to Lloris’ left, not giving Hugo a chance to move. The conceding of a goal from a set-piece will not please Conte and it is something that they will need to cut out when the Premier League gets underway.
Some naughty challenges were coming in on Son and the referee was weak again, as he just made the players shake hands and get on with it, but the desperation in some of the Roma challenges could have been dangerous if the made contact with the Spurs players. Perisic unleashed a shot from 25 yards out that kept rising over the bar, then, ten minutes before half-time, another good passing move saw the Croatian cut inside when it looked like he might send Sanchez away on the left, allowing him to fire another shot from outside the box narrowly wide of the keeper’s left-hand post with his left foot. Harry Kane had the ball in the net on 37 minutes, when he took a high pass down on his chest, played it wide right to Kulusevski and then controlled the return pass in the box to sweep it past Patricio. Unfortunately, Dejan has strayed narrowly offside. For a match that claimed to be promoting innovative technology, the fact that there was no VAR meant that the margin that Dejan might or might not have been offside would not be able to be determined. In the next Tottenham move, Bissouma broke into the box and Mancini was more concerned about making contact with the player than the ball, but again the referee showed a lack of decisiveness as he failed to give a penalty and then lost control as he was surrounded by Roma players and Mancini went to remonstrate with Bissouma, putting his hand in the midfielder’s face.
With the break five minutes away, Kane got the ball just outside the box and twisted and turned to hit a shot that was way off target, then Son almost got on the end of Dier’s right wing cross with his head.
Tottenham made a couple of half-time changes, with Rodrigo Bentancur replacing Bissouma, while Clement Lenglet came on in place of Sanchez. Seven minutes into the second half, it was Lenglet who went on a run up the left wing and after beating two men crossed onto the head of Cristian Romero, but he put his header a couple of feet wide, with the whistle blowing for a foul anyway. It appeared the referee’s ineptitude showed no bounds, as a move on the right saw the ball break for Hojbjerg on the edge of the d. He played it left to Perisic and his drive flew over the bar off an Roma player, but the referee wasn’t interested in giving a corner, so you could predict what was going to happen in the rest of the match. It was then that Dier took a dislike to Abraham and hit him with two crunching tackles – entirely fair, but leaving the former Chelsea striker on the floor.
Tottenham were controlling the game and Roma’s two defensive substitutions were straight out of the Mourinho play-book as the team started dropping deeper, allowing Spurs to build around the edge of the box. The Roma defence stood firm to prevent Tottenham breaking through and a foul on Abraham signalled time for drinks. It was Abraham who played a pass through into the box for Zaniolo, but he was stopped by a superbly timed sliding tackle from Cristian Romero that left his potential new team-mate holding his leg from the force of the contact. And when the Argentine won three tackles on the trot, the referee gave a free-kick and then laid hands on Spurs players who were questioning his poor decision. Considering some of the Italians’ challenges that went unpunished, this decision was a bit of a joke. Even worse was Ibanez hauling Kane down in the box only for the absolutely biased referee to give Roma a free-kick ! Ibanez had treatment claiming he had taken a blow in the mouth, but there was no blood evident, as Harry hadn’t made contact with his mouth, unless the Roma defender had done something to himself when he fell all over Kane. Again, the referee showed no bottle when Romero hit Pellegrini late and then Pellegrini grabbed Romero’s shirt to drag the Spurs man around.
Richarlison turned Mancini with ease, leaving him wondering where the Brazilian had gone, before he burst into the box past two defenders and was only stopped by a combination of them and Ibanez. It then took Harry Kane to grab the ball after he had been knocked over from behind by Cristante. With a minute of the 90 left, Lenglet passed in front of Sessegnon to cross first-time and it went straight onto Kane’s head and he put it over from a couple of yards out. Lucas Moura was coming in behind him.
Pellegrini ended up on the turf covered in blood as Sessegnon tried to close down a clearance and caught the Roma captain in the process, but he had been trying to block Ryan’s run towards the ball. El Sharawy came on in his place, but Spurs were finishing the stronger, with Lenglet crossing to the far side where Royal came in to win the header back across goal aiming for Kane, but it was too strong and drifted out for a goal-kick.
The game was a tough one with just a week to go before the league programme starts for Tottenham, but coming through it, when the feet were flying, without injury was a result in itself. The game might have ended in defeat, but the performance had something about it that shows that there is a steely approach that hints that Spurs will not be bullied by physical intimidation. Allied with this was a calm attitude in possession and although the goal didn’t come, on another day and with a more clued up ref, the result could have been different. The forward positions taken up by the wing-backs promised much, with the crossing much improved on previous seasons, with Kane and Son looking sharp despite the kicking that they were given on Mourinho’s orders. The defensive approach taken by Roma in the second half and the “stop Spurs at all costs” attitude gave us a good taste of what we might expect, at home and abroad in the new season and it looks as though the experience and acceptance of Conte’s regime makes for a good blend that hopefully will keep us in touch with the other top sides in the Premier League.
Another important game in the build-up to next Saturday when South Coast Big Club come to town. It will be another week of hard work on the training ground for Conte to get the side match-ready and this season might see a different Tottenham Hotspur to those in years gone by.
Marco van Hip