Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stoke 0 Tottenham 0 (aet) (Spurs Lost 6-7 on pens)

Carling Cup Exit on Penalties for Spurs

Stoke and Tottenham made numerous changes for this game but neither side could find a goal so at the end of 120 minutes it went to penalties.  Both sides missed early on but then it progressed to 6-6 until Tottenham debutant had his shot saved and Tottenham were out.  The harsh reality of Cup football for a young player.

Team: Gomes; Corluka, Kaboul, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto; Carroll, Sandro (Luongo), Livermore, Giovani (Townsend); Van der Vaart (Defoe), Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Cudicini, Kane, Cabalios, Falque

Gomes returned for Carling Cup
The Tottenham team contained only two of Sunday's starting line-up - Younes Kaboul and Benoit Assou-Ekotto, while Heurelho Gomes returned for his first game since playing at Hearts in the Europa League.  Sandro made his first appearance following his return from injury and Tom Carroll had the opportunity of further experience with another full game.  Stoke had former players, Wilson Palacios and Matthew Etherington in their starting line-up, while Peter Crouch was among the substitutes.

This match between two sides who have had a busy opening schedule this season, never reached any great heights but was an opportunity for some of the squad players to get match practice.  Stoke started the better and Crouch made an early appearance following an injury to Jones.  Tottenham withstood Stoke's high approach and came more into the game before and after half-time.  However, neither side created many goal scoring opportunities.

Gomes had a few difficult moments but the game went into extra time and then penalties.  Tottenham have a poor record in this and so it proved again as they exited the competition at the 3rd Round stage for the second consecutive season.

Penalty Shoot-Out
Stoke 1 - 0
1 - 1 Defoe
Stoke miss - hit bar
Tottenham miss - Pavlyuchenko (missed target)
Stoke 2 - 1
2 - 2 Townsend
Stoke 3 - 1
3 - 3 Corluka
Stoke 4 - 3 (Crouch)
4 - 4 Kaboul
Stoke 5 - 4 (Etherington)
5 - 5 Livermore
Stoke 6 - 5
6 - 6 Carroll
Stoke 7 - 6
Tottenham miss - Luongo (saved)

The penalty kick shoot out was the usual lottery and no blame can be laid at the young player who missed the final penalty.  Massimo Luongo making his first appearance replaced Sandro after seventy minutes.  With the penalty shoot-out progressing so far, neither goalkeeper getting a chance to pull off a save, it was a high pressured situation for such a young player who saw Stoke keeper, Sorensen save his shot.  He is th esecond young player to discover the harsh realities of senior football with a penalty kick saved - Harry Kane suffering the same fate in his debut against Hearts at White Hart Lane.  The other penalty miss was by Roman Pavlyuchenko who shot high and wide - described by the Talksport radio commentator as, 'The worst penalty kick he had seen.'

Massimo Luongo is an eighteen year old who has been playing for the Academy team.  He was signed last January and is half-Australian/half-Indonesian and has been very impressive for the U-18s and especially in the Next-Gen series match against Inter Milan which Spurs won 7 - 1.

Tottenham's record in the penalty shoot-out is poor.  They have only won by this method on two occasions - 1984 UEFA Cup Final and an FA Cup 3rd Round replay against Peterborough in 1994. .  Since then it has been disappointment every time including the 2009 Carling Cup Final at Wembley against Manchester United.

An early exit from the Carling Cup will give the Spurs squad a break in their hectic pre-Christmas fixture list to allow for recovery from injuries and knocks which occur during games.  At least this defeat wasn't as humiliating as the exit from last season's two Cup competitions.  However, the Carling Cup always represents a competition that a team like Tottenham might just be able to win.


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