Tottenham Hotspur played A.S. Roma in their second match of the International Champions Cup on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Spurs got late goals from Harry Winks and Vincent Janssen, but gave up a goal at the death and fell to Roma 3-2.
Spurs started the match in a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Janssen, and Cameron Carter-Vickers in a back three. Kyle Walker-Peters started the match at left back, reprising his role from the U20 World Cup, and Josh Onomah played the first half as a central attacking midfielder. Harry Kane was up top.
The first half was a remarkably even affair, though neutral observers would probably agree that Roma was the slightly better side. Spurs had difficulty in the beginning keeping possession, and wasn’t able to get a lot going in Roma’s third. Harry Kane, in particular, looked a little frustrated as he wasn’t getting the service in the attacking third that he was used to.
The only difference between the sides came courtesy of a botched penalty call by Hilario Grajeda. The MLS official in charge of the match awarded a penalty to Roma after Cameron Carter-Vickers was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area. It was a crap call, made worse by the fact that the official made the call about 30 seconds AFTER the incident. Diego Perotti slotted the penalty past Michel Vorm, and Roma led 1-0.
Spurs had a couple of big chances just minutes later — Kieran Trippier had a good cross that found the feet of Kane, but he was in midair when he met the ball and bundled it wide of the goal. Just second later, Mousa Dembele hit the crossbar and Roma were able to scramble the ball away.
The first half ended 1-0.
Spurs made a few changes at halftime, bringing in Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies, Christian Eriksen, and academy lad Anthony Georgiou in, and things started to turn around for Spurs.
Tottenham thought they had an equalizer a few minutes into the second hand when former Tottenham player Federico Fazio took out Harry Kane in the box. The official waved away the protests from Kane and the Spurs coaching staff, and no penalty was given.
Then it got weirder: Mauricio Pochettino got in a heated conversation over the no call with the fourth official, and it looked for a while like Grajeda had sent Spurs assistant coach Miguel D’Agostino to the stands. D’Agostino refused to leave his seat, and there was some confusion as to what was going on. Nobody left the touchline, and play eventually resumed.
Roma doubled their lead in the 70th minute after a rare bad pass from Toby Alderweireld. The resulting Roma counterattack led to a fluffed clearance by Kevin Wimmer, and a goal by one-time Tottenham target Cengiz Ünder.
The match didn’t pick up until right at the death. In the 88th minute, Harry Winks got on the scoresheet after an odd goal. Christian Eriksen fed Vincent Janssen in the middle of the box. Janssen’s soft shot bounced off the post where it was eventually bundled in by Winks.
Then, two minutes later Vincent Janssen equalized for Spurs from a George-Kevin N’Koudou cross from the right side. Janssen timed his run perfectly and one-touched the ball into the net to even the match at 2-2.
But Spurs’ celebrations came to an abrupt end just seconds after the restart. Kevin Wimmer was shoved in the back and fell over in the box, which left Marco Tumminello wide open to fire home the winning goal just before time. Despite a furious Tottenham comeback, they dropped the match 3-2.
- The penalty on CCV was crap, but he continues to make poor defensive decisions in matches where he needs to show he’s better in order to make an impact in the first team. I’m a little sympathetic to him since he was getting zero defensive help from Trippier, but still.
- KWP looked okay going forward and had one impressive tackle in the box, but that papers over the fact that he was beaten on the play. He’s just not ready yet.
- Kieran Trippier was completely absent defensively, leaving Carter-Vickers out to dry on numerous occasions, but he did have a number of good crosses in the box and progressive passes. I’m going to love/hate/love him all season long, aren’t I?
- Anthony Georgiou actually was the youngster who had the most impressive match tonight. He was bright and direct playing as a left sided attacking midfielder.
- I got accused of “Euro-snobbery” on Twitter for criticizing the MLS match official, but holy smokes was he bad. He got both of his major decisions wrong, and apparently tried to send a Spurs coach to the stands, who refused to leave. (This has been disputed; the full story will probably come out in time)
- Spurs really looked like they were missing Christian Eriksen in the first half. Dele and Kane weren’t able to really get into the match, and it showed by virtue of them not getting the same kind of service from Onomah as they’re used to from Eriksen.
- Harry Winks was excellent in his short cameo. His passing was fantastic, and he was in the right place at the right time to score his goal. I’m super excited about what he’s going to bring to this Spurs side.
- Thanks to this stupid ref, Spurs probably aren’t going to win the International Champions Cup. Whatever. On balance I thought Spurs looked much better than Roma in the second half.