Manchester United succumbed to a 3-1 defeat in a pre-season fixture against Tottenham Hotspur at Trafford Training Centre, Carrington.
Spurs started brightly and took the lead after only nine minutes when the impressive Harry Kane received the ball after a clever one two (by team mates) and shot early, which surprised Sam Johnstone – he got a hand to the ball, but was unable to prevent the effort from finding the back of the net. Ten minutes later Spurs had the chance to make the score line 2-0 after a sloppy pass by Johnstone, however his blushes were spared after an excellent block from Captain Tom Thorpe.
United tried to respond but their attacks were less penetrative – no width offered as they struggled to breakdown a congested central area.
Around the thirty minute mark Spurs added a second, which their dominance deserved. Kane instantly controlled a 50 yard pass and crossed for Oyenuga to slide home from six yards out. The pair linked well throughout the game and were a constant threat. Kane with his touch & vision combined with Oyenuga’s pace & power formed a formidable partnership. After the goal Spurs took control – passing the ball around easily using the full width of pitch.
All of sudden United sparked into life – especially John Cofie. In the space of five minutes Cofie was involved in three opportunities created by his endeavour and ability. The first opportunity came after he made a good run into space down the right hand channel; he laid the ball off to Cole and made his way into the penalty area. Cole jinked to find space and crossed where he found the young United striker who brought a smart save with a low powerful shot. The second opportunity created came after a clever through ball by Ravel Morrison; Cofie’s shot however was blocked by a Tottenham defender. The third opportunity brought a stunning goal and easily United’s best move of the match – Cofie played a one two with Hussain and from tight angle placed a curled shot into the corner of the net.
United dominated the final ten-fifteen minutes of the first half and should have equalised after a long pass forward by McGinty found Tunnicliffe, he was one on one with the goalkeeper, but the United midfielder dragged his shot wide. The final minutes of the first half saw a stunning save from Johnstone as Kane attempted a curled shot from outside the penalty area.
The second half started with Sir Alex Ferguson in attendance and several of the first team squad including Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Anderson. The half began with extra bite – a few tasty challenges and incidents of handbags at dawn. Similar to the first half Spurs dominated – the youngsters from the North London club were much bigger and physically stronger than their United counterparts. They were comfortable in possession allowing them to control midfield and without the ball pressurised United into mistakes. Paul McGuinness tried to rectify this by making a couple of substitutes with Fornasier replacing M. Keane and Lawrence replacing Hussain. Unfortunately, minutes later Spurs were correctly awarded a penalty after Tunnicliffe tripped Kane in the penalty area – leaving Oyenuga to coolly slot home from 12 yards.
United huffed and puffed after conceding the third, but failed to make an impression on the match. There were one or two instances in front of goal, but nothing of real substance. The game became scrappy and petered out as both sets of players looked tired.
John Cofie was United’s man of the match although he drifted in and out for periods of the game.
United’s Starting XI: Johnstone; Michael Keane, Ekangamene, Thorpe, McGinty; Hussain, Cole, Tunnicliffe, Lingard; Morrison, Cofie
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