Tag Archives: AC Milan

Our boys from Brazil – how they performed against AC Milan

Young Mac was complaining when he returned from his paper round on Thursday morning and had bought a copy of The Times to show what had annoyed him. Matt Hughes had rated the players of both sides and along with Modric and Pienaar with a mark of 5 this was the review given to Sandro; “Left out of Tottenham’s 25-man squad for the group stages, he looked out of his depth, giving the ball away frequently and conceding several needless free kicks as his side were overrun.”

We didn’t agree and I suggested that he look again at the skyplus to see how we – or maybe Matt – had gone wrong. Whilst there I suggested that he look at the Gomes display so that we could decide if we were overreacting to our concerns over our keeper. Here’s what occurred:

3.22 Gomes goal kick goes straight to Nesta, no Spurs player within 10 yards. He feeds Boateng who looks to find Seedorf. Cut out well by Sandro. Fast pas well stopped then distributed to Luka Modric.

7.23 Gomes takes a free kick, finds Crouch but foul on Nesta. Ball played forward Sandro slides in to intercept ball finds Van Der Vaart.

8.23 Sandro tackles Kevin Prince-Boateng. Judged to have fouled him. Minimal contact – free kick to AC Milan.

11.48 Ball forward Thayo Silver hits ball back into the Spurs half first time. Straight to Sandro who plays  quick ball to Corluka to start a Spurs attack.

12.29 Boateng on the ball Sandro goes in for tackle but Boateng plays it before he got there and Sandro slips back into his position.

12.35 Abate on the wing, beats Pienaar looks to find Robinho but his pass is cut out from a slide by Sandro.

14.10 High ball to Ibrahimovic. He takes a touch but Sandro heads back to Gallas. Boot in the air nearly hits him in the face. Gallas back to Gomes who takes a first time goal kick. Awful kick straight to Dawson only just made it out of the box in the air. Dawson plays it back to him and Gomes volleys clear towards Lennon but it doesn’t reach him. 

Boateng intercepts pass brings it forward and is fouled by Sandro. Foul in dangerous place but the replay shows no contact on KPB.

15.30 Ibrahimovic from the free kick Shot going in bottom corner good save from Gomes parries it away or a corner.

15.39 Sandro and Pato called up for tussling in the box. Ref has a word with them both.

15.55 Corner by Robinho. Boateng rises and heads goalwards. Gomes dives and holds onto the ball. Good save. Boateng penalised for climbing.

16.12 Free kick by Gomes. Lands straight onto Crouches head who gives it away. Ball over top cleared by Gallas.

16.17 Ball from Gallas, Sandro and Boateng go in for it. Sandro wins it but takes too big a first touch and ball becomes out of his control and into path of Robinho who plays it to Seedorf. He moves inside but Sandro puts in a sliding tackle to win the ball back.

17.24 Spurs lose ball upfield. Cleared upfield to Ibrahimovic. Sandro sprints back to take the ball fairly off him before playing the ball to Gallas. Commentators commend Sandro’s contribution.

18.45 Ball from Corluka to Sandro who tries to play a first time pass to Lennon. Given away. Ball goes to Robinho whose first touch is poor and Sandro wins it back and plays it to Luka.

21.38 Foul on Boateng by Lennon. No contact. Sandro pressuring him and  I think he would have won the ball. 

22.05 Free kick comes in. Crouch goes infront of Gomes who flaps at nothing. Ball goes to Pato whose first touch takes it away from him allowing Gomes to come and collect with no pressure.

23.10 Robinho shot. Sandro has a little nibble at Robinho who falls over ans appeals for a free kick. Nothing given.

24.50 Good goal kick from Gomes. Finds Crouch to Lennon who loses it. Played forward to Pato who is pressed by Gallas. Pato is going further away from goal. Gomes comes out to try and claim it. He dives and Pato eases it past him. Ball across the box to Robinho. Hits a shot onto Ekotto’s head and off the line by Gallas. Gomes is in no mans land. Commentators say awful decision by Gomes.

26.07 Ibrahimovic first touch is poor. Sandro comes in and wins it. Heads it back to Gomes who catches and kicks to Crouch.

26.35 Robinho on the ball. Sandro comes in and wins it. Robinho goes down dramatically claiming to have been hit in the face. Replay shows no facial contact was made. Free kick smashed miles over. Gomes takes goal kick which Crouch wins but is blown up for climbing.

30.35 Sandro rushes in and pressures Seedorf who pushes his kick and it just goes high in the air and Spurs win possession.

31.22 Robinho with the ball Sandro comes across and wins it.

31.38 Milan gets in behind Spurs, Pato with the shot Gomes saves and parries the ball into the middle of the box Gallas clears.

34.05 Boateng on the ball Sandro pressures. One two played with Jankolovski. Sandro still doesn’t give him room and Boateng is forced to play it back to Nesta.

41.20 Sandro picks up the ball. One touch and plays simple forward ball to Luka Modric.

41.36 Again Sandro puts Boateng under pressure. He can’t go anywhere but Sandro is judged to have fouled hm. Replay shows minimal contact.         

45.40 Sandro loses header but Dawson wins back possession.

HALF TIME

47.12 Abate gets inside Ekotto. Puts in a dangerous ball across the box. Sandro clears.

52.22 Sandro breaks down AC Milan attack. Plays it to Modric. Van Der Vaart to Lennon who plays a quick ball to Sandro. Silva comes across and tackles but Sandro wins it back playing it towards VdV who pushes it to Crouch who is adjudged to foul. Free kick to AC Milan.

56.30 Sandro tackles Boateng and starts an attack.

57.50 Flamini plays a ball towards Boateng. Sandro intercepts but poor distribution.

60.24 Modric to Sandro. He plays it first time to Gallas but it is a poor pass and Robinho attacks. Nothing comes from the chance.

64.42 Abates ball across. Gomes jumps and catches it. Attempts a quick throw out but it’s a poor one and Silva runs onto it to intercept although VdV doesn’t attack the ball. Attack and shot at Gomes, saved but a goalmouth scramble ensues. Gomes pushes it away into path of Flamini who shoots wide. Should have been calmer before throw. Gomes shouts at VdV commentator suggests he is living dangerously.

68.08 Gomes long throw finds Crouch who heads but it is given away.

73.19 Modric to Sandro. Hits him on the shin and comes back to Luka who returns it to Sandro who then finds Jenas.

76.35 Merkel’s ball into box diving header by Sandro to clear.

76.54 Pato shot just wide. Gomes 50/50 getting there as hit extremely hard. Milan fans think its in!

78.13 Sandro gets the ball just outside the box. Does a full 360 pivot looking for a pass and finds it in Corluka.

78.35 Gomes comes out and takes a catch under pressure from Ibrahimovic. Does well, little roll out to Benny.

81.49 Ball in the air Sandro cushions a header back to Corluka.

82.31 Sandro wins and helps on the ball to Luka.

83.10 Gomes goal kick picks out Bale who flicks it inside. Ball back to Sandro who heads it to Luka.

83.42 Sandro picks up the ball little bit of skill to get away from Merkel moves forward but then turns and plays the ball back to Gallas.

85.40 Bale to Sandro who makes it his ball moves towards the corner flag and holds the ball up under pressure of three Milan players. Eventually loses the ball.

86.04 Milan just outside the box. Beat Modric but Sandro stops him in his tracks and Spurs clear. Townsend “Sandro has been immense Clive. Dawson and Gallas have been good but Sandro has been Spurs best player by a long way.”

90.56 Robinho hits it just over the bar. Gomes beaten. Gomes takes the goal kick to Pav who wins another free kick.

FULL TIME

So who was right? Matt Hughes or nearly everyone else? He also wrote about Modric “Tottenham looked to be a man short in midfield but most of the fault lay with Sandro who was unable to impose himself and provided no protection.” Maybe Hughes was disappointed by the lack of impact Luka had and felt the blame could not be laid at his door. We can’t agree Young Mac and I. We felt that Sandro impressed throughout and competed hard particularly when he had conceded possession to win it back. I hope you don’t disagree.

As regards Gomes with the exception of the two incidents referred to in the match report and above he had a decent game. Unfortunately the problem for goalies is that you don’t want to see or hear them during a game and when you do it is often for the wrong reason. On Wednesday Gomes got away with his two heart in the mouth moments but on another day he might not be so lucky.   

Italian job complete. Tottenham Hotspur 1 AC Milan 1

I find watching home games on the television extremely difficult as I am so used to being in the stadium these days. For some reason I find myself getting more disturbed about errors and all I can put that down to is that you get more engrossed in the atmosphere when it is live. Wednesday’s game was extremely stressful – though many of the faces shown on ITV1 when the ball was off the field echoed that emotion and can there ever have been greater celebration of a nil nil? 

Having rushed back from a University trip to Warwick I walked in to find that Bale would not start. Then the team shows Sandro over Palacios and I began to get concerned. More fool me for the lad showed his true potential in a performance which I would call immense following on from Milan away and Wolves. For such a young and inexperienced player to be as involved and I felt influential in our midfield must ring alarm bells for Palacios and Jenas. I still maintain that Palacios is the best tackler but his distribution and vision for a return are not as developed as we were shown and for the future he looks a great prospect.

Then comes the two pronged “tough love” element of the win. Many were furious that Gallas had been signed and in his early performances he was a little shaky. Since the Arsenal game he has been superb at centre back and appears now to have won over all the doubters. Had he not cleared off the line so effectively in the first half we would have definitely faced an uphill struggle. Milan had taken the game to us as we did to them in the first leg and a goal at that stage would have compounded their authority over the proceedings and with our midfield not firing on all cylinders made it difficult to come back. 

At full time his reaction summed up his feelings. He feels a Spurs player and before the game had thanked the crowd for getting behind him and giving him support. Turning from one it may have been tough for some to love to another for whom it gets increasingly tougher to love; what was Gomes thinking about on occasions? As Spurs’ fans we have got used to the calamity nature of his performances and whilst he made some good saves there were a couple of incidents that he was incredibly lucky to get away with.

Firstly the goal line clearance only arose because of a Crocodile Dundee walkabout in his area that left him beaten near the West Stand only to see Milan advancing on his goal. Then the long throw out to Van Der Vaart that got intercepted and somehow did not get into our net. My lasting memory of this incident will be of Gomes lying on the ground with the ball bobbing around and appearing to try and get it into his control with one arm. 

At the end of the game maybe these things don’t matter much but during them they add to the stress of the occasion. Whilst Gomes might be a great shot stopper his decisions on crosses and coming out often leave something to be desired and I fear that he may well cost us in the next round or valuable points in the Premier League. He did well on the crosses in this game but he does like to keep us on our toes.   

Elsewhere Modric had his least influential game for some time which was something of a surprise and Van Der Vaart looked short of match fitness but disappointed on being substituted. Crouch performed pretty well winning most balls fired at him but maybe should have gone for the target from Lennon’s excellent cross instead of across the six yard line.

I thought Lennon had a decent game as did Dawson, Corluka and Ekotto. With Bale not starting Pienaar had taken the left slot and turned in a reasonable performance. He then somewhat surprisingly switched to Van Der Vaart’s role before being withdrawn in favour of Jenas. Bale’s main role seemed to be to stop the right back advancing as Milan put two men on him which prevented him getting much possession. 

As I said earlier Milan took the game to us as we had in the first leg. As a consequence of their stronger performance we were pegged back for much of the game in the way that we had probably anticipated for both games when the draw was made. My biggest fear was what would have happened if Milan had scored. We had few opportunities on goal and their keeper had a fairly stress free evening. I was surprised that Jermain Defoe did not get an opportunity from the bench with Pav coming on to replace Crouch. Perhaps Harry had decided that his holding up of the ball was better than JD’s?

So as in the first leg Spurs put in an impressive and surprising performance. Having conceded 6 goals to teams not considered contenders in their last two games to put in such an excellent defensive display was most unexpected. We’ve always expected our teams to try and score more than our opponents and never held out much hope of clean sheets or holding onto a lead. This was something different and most welcome. 

It puts us into the draw next Friday along with Barcelona, Schalke and Shakhter Donetsk with a host of strong sides to follow this week. No one gives us a chance of winning the cup; but no one thought we could get this far. Wednesday’s game shows us how hard it can be from here if we get a tough draw; I’m just delighted we have the chance thanks to do so.               

And the Spurs go marching on: Tottenham V AC Milan preview

We have to hope that we don’t experience the same sort of nonsense that sealed a second yellow card in the Nou Camp this evening and learn how important it is to take the chances that come our way tomorrow night. White Hart Lane has seen some Glory Glory Nights in its time and this has the prospect of being one of the best. 

Yet it’s crucial that we offer a similar level of professionalism as in the San Siro Stadium to make sure that we don’t concede first and hopefully not at all. Starting one up, and with that all important away goal, is more than we can have hoped for but an early Milan goal can easily undo all that good work and send the tie in Milan’s favour.

But as we are at home all the stars will be on show and it will be important that they compete for 90 minutes contributing as much when we have not got the ball as when we have it. In Harry’s press conference he suggested Gareth Bale was touch and go but that Van Der Vaart and Corluka are available for selection. Rafa, however, suggested Bale was fine and is fit to play. Mind games or not I expect to see Gareth line up on the left. 

I think the biggest decision will be whether Charlie comes back in to replace Hutton. I think he might get the nod as he had been playing well and we may want to see a flatter back four to protect our lead. Gallas and Dawson pick themselves even after their unspectacular performances on Sunday and Benoit picks himself.

In the midfield Palacios should play as our best tackler and I fancy Luka will step inside to allow Bale to come back in. Lennon must play on the right and with Rafa coming back into the side will it be Peter Crouch or Jermain Defoe? I fancy that Crouch may well get the nod for the starters shirt but Defoe may well get on and score his 100th Spurs goal.

Harry believes that attack is our best form of defence and with our crowd being worth at least an extra man we have the weapons to really hurt Milan, particularly as the game opens up in the second half. I fancy that Luka offers our greatest opportunities with his switching of the play being a real threat to get people like Rafa free inside the box. If we do it well we will score – and more than once.  

That leaves the goalkeeper. Gomes will start but has been much criticised for his Wolves performance. If he fouls up in this game we could be out of the competition and the calls for Cudicini will increase. He needs to have safe hands to keep the crowd onside.

So a controlled but lively performance is called for and we are quite capable of it but we cannot underestimate our opponents for a moment as they have players that can hurt us in the way that Wolves and Blackpool have in recent games. What’s clear is that if we get chances we must take them. Team for the game:

                           Gomes

       Corluka   Gallas   Dawson    Ekotto

  Lennon       Palacios       Modric      Bale

         Van Der Vaart      Crouch

Prediction: If we score first I believe we’ll go through and I’m hoping for a 2-0 result in our favour.

Come on You Spurs!