New York Red Bulls 1-2 Tottenham: Classy Bale and Sigurdsson ensure Spurs round off US tour with victory
Kenny Cooper’s early penalty had given the MLS side the lead, but a promising second-half display from Villas-Boas’ men helped secure their first win of their Stateside jaunt
By Andrew Kennedy
|Bet:||Returns:||New York Red Bulls £17.27||Draw £38.00||Columbus Crew £50.00|
|Bet:||Returns:||New York Red Bulls £16.70||Draw £35.00||Columbus Crew £55.00|
|Bet:||Returns:||New York Red Bulls £16.67||Draw £34.00||Columbus Crew £45.00|
|Bet:||Returns:||New York Red Bulls £17.00||Draw £36.00||Columbus Crew £50.00|
|Bet:||Returns:||New York Red Bulls £16.70||Draw £35.00||Columbus Crew £50.00|
Kenny Cooper had given the MLS side an early lead from the penalty spot, and while Spurs initially struggled to find their rhythm in the opening 45 minutes, the north Londoners soon kicked into gear in the second half as they secured a comfortable win ahead of their return to British shores.
Andre Villas-Boas made six changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Liverpool on Saturday, with Heurelho Gomes replacing Brad Friedel in goal, while Bale – injury free despite Charlie Adam’s much-maligned challenge – was deployed as a lone striker with Harry Kane dropping out of the starting XI.
For the hosts, there was no place for ex-Arsenal forward Thierry Henry in the squad against his old rivals, but Tim Cahill was handed his debut at the Red Bull Arena following his switch from Everton to the MLS last week.
And the Australian midfielder made an immediate impact, finding himself through on goal after latching onto a ball in behind Jan Vertonghen which in turn forced the Belgian centre-back to foul him in the box.
Cahill stepped aside to allow Cooper to take the penalty, and the striker duly converted from the spot to give Red Bulls a 1-0 lead after eight minutes.
Spurs soon rallied, with Bale testing Bill Gaudette from 25 yards with a well-struck free-kick before Tom Huddlestone's drive from distance stung the goalkeeper’s hands. The Welshman rose well to meet the resulting corner but was unable to guide his header on target.
The Premier League side continued to dominate possession throughout the remainder of the opening 45 minutes, but were prevented from finding the equaliser by the home side’s resolute defending and their own sloppiness in the final third.
Villas-Boas introduced Kane, Jermaine Jenas and William Gallas for the second period, with Bale assuming a more fluid role – a move that almost reaped immediate rewards.
The 23-year-old found space down the left-hand flank to whip in a cross which worked its way to Aaron Lennon on the edge of the box, and the wideman drew an acrobatic save from Gaudette with a powerful effort that looked destined for the back of the net.
Yet the shot-stopper was unable to hold out for much longer, with two moments of class turning the game on its head in the space of five minutes.
First, the ever-impressive Bale rose above his marker to guide a header into the top left-hand corner and pull Spurs level on the hour mark, before Sigurdsson burst into life to give the away side the lead.
Having jinked superbly in between the Red Bulls defence, the Icelandic international coolly dispatched the ball past Gaudette in a manner reminiscent of Henry, who was watching on from the bench.
A third goal was not to follow, despite Michael Dawson clattering the bar from the six-yards and a late flurry of chances for substitute Andros Townsend, but the positives will certainly outweigh the negatives for Villas-Boas as Tottenham prepare to return to London.
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