Saturday, July 23, 2011

Van der Vaart Double Gives Tottenham Success in South Africa

Vodacom Challenge Trophy
Orlando Pirates 0 Tottenham Hotspur 3

Van der Vaart scored twice and Jermain Defoe got a third against Orlando Pirates as Tottenham won their first pre-season game in South Africa and secured the Vodacom Challenge trophy.  Having lost to Kaiser Chiefs a week ago and drawn against Orlando Pirates in mid-week, Spurs were looking to go one better and secure a win against the Pirates to boost their pre-season morale.

On Tuesday evening Spurs started the brighter of the two teams but today it was the Pirates who made the quicker start keeping possession well and running at Tottenham with pace but without causing Gomes any difficulty.  When Spurs had the ball they made limited progress and often conceded possession easily.  However, Van der Vaart came to the rescue with another goal direct from a free-kick, just as he had done on Tuesday evening.  This enabled Spurs to go into half-time with the lead and then early in the second half as Pirates constantly looked to catch Spurs on the break a pass from Assou-Ekotto released Van der Vaart who got into the penalty one on one against the goalkeeper. His shot was blocked by the keeper but Van der Vaart was quick enough to recover and lift the rebound over the keeper and in to the net.

The game looked over and with the introduction of Gareth Bale for Luka Modric, Spurs were much more lively and dangerous as an attacking force.  He had a goal disallowed for offside immediately after coming on and created a further chance which went begging. Then the Pirates were awarded a penalty for handball against Bassong.  Gomes dived to his left but the ball went to the right and hit the post and went across the goal to safety.  Gomes was then called upon to make a couple of important saves before Defoe secured the win with the third goal following a run and cross by Bale.

Spurs have secured the Vodacom trophy for the second time following a similar score line against the same opponents in 2004.

Spurs have used this trip to improve the fitness of all the players in the squad and in coming matches we will get a better indication of who is likely to start in the first game against Everton in three weeks and who is surplus to requirements and will be moving on either as a loan deal or transfer.

This game showed that as last season, all the best that is Tottenham comes from Van der Vaart and Bale, without them Spurs' play would be rather mundane.  Now, with all the transfer rumours that are rife we just need some of them to become full transfers to strengthen the team and ensure that the best players want to stay and be part of what should be an exciting seasson at White Hart Lane.

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