Working from in to out, the Lilywhites coasted to an easy victory as it finished Kitchee 1-4 Spurs in the Hong Kong Stadium.
Two formations, two strategies equalled four goals. Tottenham overloaded between the lines and then went to the flanks to finish the job as it ended Kitchee 1-4 Spurs in the Hong Kong Stadium.
Back door runs
Tottenham started the match by hitting Kitchee with a number of switches in play. The ploy moved the ball quickly from side to side and stretched our narrow opponents out. As a result, space opened up between the lines for Christian Eriksen and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou to float around in.
Eriksen was particularly prevalent in these spaces up to the opening goal.
The Danish maestro often looked for Son Heung-Min making back door runs off the Kitchee full backs.
Son had the ball in the net on fourteen minutes from Eriksen’s pass, but was wrongly adjudged offside.
Soon after, Spurs would take the lead. Eriksen once more found space between the Kitchee lines along with Son Heung-Min. Georges-Kevin Nkoudou made the back door run off the full back. However, Eriksen’s pass was cut out, but Son was in position to scoop up the ball and curl it in to the corner of the net, 1-0.
Two minutes later and Vincent Janssen added a second. The Dutch striker showed some neat hold up play in the build-up and a quality finish. With Kitchee stretched, Janssen’s excellent hold-up play found Nkoudou in acres of space between the lines.
Nkoudou neatly found Ben Davies on the overlap and Janssen in turn to slot home. Spurs were two up and cruising.
Spurs switch formation and tactics
Half time saw Mauricio Pochettino make six changes and alter formation. A 3-4-1-2 replaced the 4-2-3-1. Pochettino also changed the tactics. Eriksen and Nkoudou had been tormentors in chief from between the lines. The introduction of Kieran Trippier and Will Miller as wingbacks saw our creative paths flow through them.
Spurs attack from wide
The introduction of Wingbacks saw us build our second half attacks through them. Kieran Trippier was a constant source of menace with his crosses. Will Miller showed neat through ball passes and link-up play.
Miller was responsible for our most dangerous attack before we added a third goal. His pass found Vincent Janssen through the inside left channel. Janssen then saw his curling shot tipped on to the bar.
A third goal then did arrive. Newly introduceed Harry Kane found the ever-wiling run of Kieran Trippier out wide. The wingback then returned the favour by squaring for Kane to slot in to the empty net.
In stoppage time, Kazaiah Sterling added a fourth from the flank to make it Kitchee 1-4 Spurs. Sterling performed impressively after his introduction from the bench. Showing intelligent attacking runs, movement and also great strength, he was aptly rewarded for his efforts.
Dele Alli broke forward and found the young striker who had drifted out wide and overlapped down the left. As the ball deflected through to him, Sterling remained calm and composed to control and slot it in to the net to make the score Kitchee 1-4 Spurs.
Kitchee balls in-behind
Kitchee had several good chances to score and finally got their reward for their persistance on 89 minutes. The Hong Kong team had seen a header from a corner cleared off the line and then two good efforts from sloppy Tottenham turnovers.
Akande proved to be a nuisance after he was introduced. The striker constantly ran in-behind our high defensively line as Kitchee looked for the ball over the top.
Akande was given offside on one such pass. Minutes later he beat the trap, but pondered when clean through, giving Kevin Wimmer the chance to make a remarkable goal-saving tackle.
Kitchee eventually made the tactic pay. The introduction of Lucas da Silva saw him chase down the long pass over the top of our back line. However, da Silva’s cross went through the box, but was retrieved out the other side. Lam Ka Wai then chipped the ball towards the back post where Akande jumped with Michel Vorm.
The Tottenham goalkeeper wasn’t aggressive enough, losing the aerial contest. The ball dropped to da Silva on the line. The Brazilian triumphantly lashed it in to the net to make the final score Kitchee 1-4 Spurs. The Hong Kong team had gained a well-deserved consolation for their efforts.
Kitchee 1-4 Spurs overall
Two formations, two strategies and two goals for each. The 4-2-3-1 opened up space between the lines for Christian Eriksen and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou. Both of the pair created a goal from this area. The switch to a back three then saw us fashion chances from wide. Kieran Trippier made one goal from the right, Dele Alli the other from the left.
Every member of the travelling squad was involved. Of our young guns, Will Miller and Kazaiah Sterling were standouts in their roles.
There was also a Pau Lopez sighting. The tall keeper looked adept at shot stopping, but not at ease passing the ball. The keeper sent one pass straight to Akande who couldn’t return it with interest from inside the penalty area. Lopez was extremely awkward on other occasions when needing to distribute with his feet. Very unusual for a Spanish keeper and one that Pochettino has used in his system when coach of Espanyol.
Final score: Kitchee 1-4 Spurs.
MOTM: Georges-Kevin Nkoudou.