Frenz International Cup: Spurs shine as Valencia struggle

Tottenham Hotspur grabbed a 3-1 victory over AIFF India in a tightly contested match in the Frenz U18 International Cup 2015 Group D tie at the UiTM Shah Alam Stadium today.

AIFF took advantage of Spurs slow start by playing aerial shots but had to fall back as soon as the English boys, who thrashed Frenz United Malaysia 5-0 last Sunday, got their momentum going. It was nevertheless a tough outing for Spurs with AIFF goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh in top form.

Striker Loft Ryan George Henson had two chances to put Spurs ahead, but missed both sitters in the first 10 minutes. AIFF responded by introducing Basumatary Milan into Spurs goal area, but the Indian lad’s shot missed the left corner post by inches.

India was defending well, but it did not pay off after Nishu Kumar brought down Georgiou Anthony Michael in the box, leaving referee Tuan Mohd Yaasin to award a penalty. Harrison Shayon Adam stepped up to slot the ball into the right corner to put Spurs in the lead at the 30-minute mark.

Both AIFF and Spurs continued to squander chances, even more so for the English side which failed to truly test Indian custodian Arshdeep from open play for the remaining first half.

Spurs duo Azzaoui Ismail and Henson redeemed their poor first half performance by combining well to score the second goal just after the breather. Azzaoui relayed the ball to Henson who finished it off with a clinical touch.

AIFF breached Tottenham’s net in the 60th minute after Basumatary headed in a brilliant cross from Ranawade Amey Ganesh from the right, reducing their deficit to one goal.

The Indians could have scored in the 78th minute after Basumatary weaved past goalkeeper Voss Harry William in a one-on-one situation, but his shot bounced off the far post corner. Spurs finally went 3-1 up when substitute Sterling Kazaiah Roy Barrett found a gap in AIFF’s defence to score in the 91st minute and secured Spurs another three points.

“Credit to AIFF India. I thought they got back into the game in the second half and played very strong in the late stages. All in all we were always playing confidently and the results reflect that philosophy,” said Spurs head coach McKenna Kieran Thomas.
“We made some changes in the line-up today because we are looking to use the whole squad, so there maybe changes for the next match as well,” he added.

Meanwhile, AIFF India coach Syed Sabir Pasha, said: “A very good match. Against Estudiantes (Argentina) we were missing something, and the boys made up for it today.
The result is 3-1 but I think we played equally well on the pitch. It was an outstanding performance from my boys, especially our goalkeeper.”

In Palembang, Indonesia, J-League side Kashima Antlers and Valencia CF played to a 0-0 draw at the Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium today, leaving the door to the quarterfinals wide open for the bottom three teams in Group B.

Brazilian outfit S.C. Internacional currently lead the standings with three points followed by Kashima (two points) while Valencia, who lost to Internacional 3-1 on Sunday, and Chonburi FC share one equal point.

The Japanese play Internacional on Thursday while Valencia entertains Thailand’s Chonburi in what is seen as a tight race between all four teams for quarterfinals seats.

“It was a tightly contested match against Kashima. We had our chances and they had theirs but overall I am happy we have secured one point from here,” said Valencia head coach, Migual Grau Piles, adding that the match referee could have done a better job with the yellow cards.

“It’s not over yet and we must play much better to get the goals against Chonburi. The only consolation is that we are playing in the night. It should be little cooler than and what we experienced today,” said Piles.

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