Juventus 2-3 Spurs: Five Talking Points

Harry Kane stole all the headlines in our first pre-season game of the season on Sunday, hitting a first-time wonder-strike from just inside the opposition half to secure a 3-2 win against reigning Italian champions Juventus.

His goal came at the end of a pulsating game which saw plenty of goals at either end of the pitch, while Spurs fans were treated to a glimpse of what’s to come as Tanguy Ndombele made his debut for the club.

But what were the main takeaways from our first pre-season game of the 2019/20 campaign? Here, we pick out our top five talking points.

Young Players Seize Their Chance

Spurs fans could have been forgiven for doing a double-take when the teams were announced on Sunday morning, with several fresh faces among the more established first-team regulars. Highly-rated 17-year-old Troy Parrott started up front alongside Sonny, while the back four included 20-year-old Japhet Tanganga and 22-year-old Anthony Georgiou. This, in addition to the slightly more established Oliver Skipp and Kyle Walker-Peters, made for a relatively inexperienced starting line up.

But any thoughts that the young group of lads might be intimidated by the occasion were quickly laid to rest, with the team taking control of the game from as early as the fifth minute. Despite facing an opposition which included such household names as Cristiano Ronaldo, Mario Mandzucic and Leonardo Bonucci, the youngsters never looked phased, confidently keeping possession and building attacks from the back. Tanganga and Walker-Peters looked assured in dealing with Mandzucic and Ronaldo respectively, while Skipp put in a commanding performance in the centre of the park, dominating the space around him despite being faced with established internationals such as Blaise Matuidi and Miralem Pjanic.

However it was young Troy Parrott who really caught the eye in an exciting first-half, causing the opposition back line all sorts of problems with his movement and pace. His impact on the game was best summed up by the role he played in Tottenham’s opening goal, laying the ball off for Sonny before collecting the return on the overlap and striking at goal. Were it not for an excellent save from Gianluigi Buffon he would doubtless have opened his account for the senior side, but he had to make do with just an assist as Erik Lamela swept home the rebound. Certainly one to watch.

Ndombele Sparkles on Debut

It was the game that fans have been waiting for ever since Tanguy Ndombele’s signing was announced earlier this month, but we had to wait until the 63rd minute to catch our first glimpse of the £65 million man in action.

And boy was it worth the wait.

Within two minutes of being introduced to the field the France international had already notched his first assist for the club, coolly picking out Lucas Moura with a fine through ball after seizing on some sloppy play from Juventus.

And he wasn’t done there, throwing himself into the heart of the action for the remaining 30 minutes of the game. Our new signing showed off some neat tricks and flicks during his cameo, and even came close to a goal with a strike which drifted narrowly wide of the far post, much to the disappointment of the Spurs fans gathered in the Singapore National Stadium.

The midfield man will need more time to fully adjust to the fitness levels and intensity demanded by boss Mauricio Pochettino, but if this game is anything to go by then it won’t be long until he is fully into the swing of things!

Moussa Sissoko doesn’t do ‘friendly’

While it was billed as a game in the International Champions Cup, in reality Sunday’s game was a pre-season friendly – but try telling Moussa Sissoko that.

Fans fell in love with the Frenchman’s high-intensity, no nonsense approach last season, and he seems determined to pick up where he left off. Charging around after the ball like a bull chasing a matador, Sissoko barely stopped running from the moment the whistle went for the start of the second half, carving out areas of space in the opposition half as he surged forward.

His approach was epitomised toward the end of the second half when the unfortunate Miralem Pjanic found himself between Sissoko and the ball – the end result seeing the Bosnian sprawled out on the floor after being steamrolled to the ground by the Frenchman.

We’re not condoning the foul, of course, but it was nice to see such intensity from last season’s fan favourite.

Is Toby staying put?

Much of this season’s transfer speculation has been focussed on centre-back Toby Alderweireld, with the Belgian having only one year left on his current deal and a reported £25 million buyout clause in his contract.

No offers have yet been made for Alderweireld, if reports are to be believed, yet his place in the team against Juventus suggested that he may be staying in North London for longer than initially expected. While players such as Danny Rose and Vincent Janssen have been left back in England to ‘explore opportunities with other clubs’, Toby not only started the game but captained the side in Hugo Lloris’ absence, perhaps a sign that his long-term future does lie with Spurs.

Alderweireld has consistently been one of our best defenders over the past few seasons, forming a formidable centre-back pairing with fellow Belgian Jan Vertonghen in the heart of the defence. And, while it’s by no means a guarantee that he will stay at the club, fans will have been encouraged by his inclusion in the team on Sunday.

Harry Kane, from the halfway line

Older Spurs fans among us will remember the ‘Nayim from the halfway line’ chants that filled the terraces in the late 1990’s, after former Tottenham player Nayim lobbed Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman from 45-yards out in the final of the 1995 Cup Winners Cup.

Well, as good as that was, Kane’s winner yesterday was arguably better.

While Nayim’s had more of a ‘hit and hope’ quality about it, it was clear that Kane knew exactly what he was doing. After spurning a couple of decent chances following his introduction as a second-half sub, it seemed as though our talisman would have to wait a little longer to open his pre-season account for the year.

That was, until the ball broke to him just inside the Juventus half in the 93rd minute.

Without breaking stride, the England captain ran onto the ball and struck it firmly with his right foot, sending his effort looping over Wojciech Szczesny’s head and into the back of the net. After the game the striker admitted that he had been looking for an opportunity to catch the Juventus goalkeeper out, after noticing that Gianluigi Buffon had often been well of his line in the first half.

And while Spurs fans will be hoping that Kane is saving the rest of his tricks for the actual start of the season, they’ll also have enjoyed watching former Arsenal goalkeeper Szczesny pick the ball out of his own net after being lobbed from nearly 50 yards!

All in all, then, a great start to pre-season for the boys.

Bring on United on Thursday!

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