Tottenham Hotspur got two first half goals from Harry Kane and Spurs defeated Malaysia XI 2-1 in an AIA Cup friendly match in Kuala Lumpur. The match was played as part of a two-game post-season tour to Malaysia and Australia.
The match was held amidst a shroud of controversy after Malaysian fan groups organized a protest of what they called a "circus match." The Shah Allam Stadium only had people to fill 1/3 of its 80k capacity, but it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the fans in attendance.
Spurs started a lineup that included midfielder Tom Carroll who was just back from his season-long loan at Swansea, Harry Winks, and right back DeAndre Yedlin. Malaysia XI had a number of good chances throughout the match including a few decent runs past Spurs' defense from Brazilian Paulo Rangel.
But it was Harry Kane who opened the scoring in the 20th minute. Christian Eriksen absolutely torched a dude on the left, dribbled into the box and passed off to Tom Carroll. Carroll's shot was deflected off the post but fell to Kane, who fired home the rebound.
In the 32nd minute, Malaysia equalized. A free kick from outside the box was contested by Thiago and Danny Rose and went in past Hugo. Initially it looked like Thiago's goal, but it was credited as a Danny Rose own goal. This was part of a number of decent chances from Malaysia -- they had four shots inside the danger area, and a couple of nice runs past Spurs' defense that ended up offside.
Ten minutes later, Carroll and Kane again combined to score. Carroll received a forward pass, had a nice one-touch to Andros Townsend. Townsend then put a through-ball back to Carroll in the box who one-touched it to a wide open Kane who blasted home to complete his brace. A very nice sequence for Spurs.
The halftime score was 2-1.
The second half saw a number of changes for Spurs: Michel Vorm, Kyle Walker-Peters, Grant Ward, Nabil Bentaleb, and Erik Lamela were subbed in. Grant Ward had a nice curling effort from outside the box go just wide early on, but Malaysia had their chances too: Rangel had another free header that went just over the bar in the opening few minutes.
Midway through the half, Harry Kane and Tom Carroll made way for Josh Onomah and Nacer Chadli. The match continued to favor offensive plays at the expense of lock-down defense, as both clubs had chances both on the counter and through attacking moves. Rangel had another nice free kick in the 80th minute that was parried away by Vorm.
Neither side were able to score in the second half as both teams backed off a bit towards the end, and the match ended 2-1.
- I only sort of half-watched this match, so keep that in mind, but this was actually fairly entertaining for a post-season friendly. Both sides had their moments, and it was fun to see some new players in new combinations.
- This was apparently an actual cup – the AIA Cup – complete with a trophy and everything! So don't tell me Spurs didn't win anything this year. Wheeeeeeee!
- Harry Kane is bae.
- Tom Carroll did about as much as he could possibly do to justify his place in next season's Tottenham squad. He was fantastic: dynamic, tricky, with good vision and a panache for getting into space. He had a hand in both goals and looked very much like he could walk into this Spurs midfield. Let's not sell him.
- Yedlin was perfectly cromulent, but not spectacular at right back. He showed some blistering moments of pace, and looks like he could be a nice eventual rotation option for Spurs next year. It was nice to see him get 90' of action, and while he wasn't outstanding, neither was he awful. He was fine. Good even.
- It was nice to see the kids play: Josh Onomah is one of the brightest academy stars we have right now and got a nice shift. Harry Winks played a full 90 and could be set for a good loan next season. Kyle Walker-Peters got a half at left back, and even Grant Ward got a good look. None of them looked particularly outstanding, but it's great to see what could be the future of Tottenham Hotspur. I wonder which if any will have an impact on Spurs' first team next season.
- I could be critical of some players, but why? They're gassed, it's a friendly, and it doesn't matter. This was fun to watch and I enjoyed it. Let's go to Sydney next!