thumbnail Hello,

The Barcelona frontman Sandro scored twice as the Catalans cruised past Spurs at White Hart Lane in the NextGen Series

It was the familiar name of Sandro that struck twice at White Hart Lane, but unfortunately for Tottenham it was not their Brazilian general but a Catalan prodigy who won all three points for Barcelona in Group 1 of the NextGen Series.

Barcelona took the lead in the 19th minute through the Spanish striker, a glancing finish across Spurs goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux. Sandro's second was another calm finish after he broke clear of the Tottenham backline.

The result means Tottenham lose their grip on top spot in Group 1, dropping to 3rd place on goal difference. Barcelona, having already earned a draw at home to Anderlecht last week, move to the top of the table.

Barcelona made one change to the side that only mustered a draw against Anderlecht, as fullback Xavier Quintilla replaced Lucas. Spurs were unchanged from the side that beat Wolfsburg, with goalscorers Ruben Lamerias and Shaquile Coulthirst left on the bench.

An even first half began with Barcelona goalkeeper Joseph Ondoa, determined to play out from the back, thumping his pass into the back of an onrushing Souleymane Coulibaly, with the ball almost ricocheting off the striker and into the back of the net.

The opening exchanges saw both central midfields neutralised by each other, with Sergi Samper unable to use his precocious ability to affect the match. Spurs' Nabil Bentaleb and Laste Dombaxe in particular denied the Barcelona midfielder the time and space he sought.

Both sides were trying to play short passing possession football, with the fullbacks for each team very advanced. It was increasingly looking like the Catalan side's main threat would come via sprightly winger Adama.

With 15 minutes gone, Spurs captain Kevin Stewart, encouraged by a raucous crowd, lunged in on Adama and conceded a foul. The resulting free-kick was taken by Nando Quesada, who pulled the ball back to centre-back Frank Macky Bagnack, but his curling shot went just wide.

And so it was that minutes later the dangerous Adama picked up the ball down the right once more and burst past Stewart before attempting a low cross. Sandro, making an intelligent near post run, met the cross and stroked the ball into the opposite corner of the goal.

For Tottenham, it was Alex Pritchard and Coulibaly who increasingly looked like the players most likely to find an equaliser, with Pritchard pulling the strings in midfield and Coulibaly providing a constant outlet up top.

A deep cross midway through the half from Alexander McQueen just evaded the Ivorian striker, before he was later found inside the box, cutting inside to fire a shot down the throat of Ondoa.

Just before half-time, McQueen, gallivanting forward again, crossed to Pritchard in acres of space just on the edge of the box. The diminutive wideman trapped the ball, cut inside onto his right foot and curved a shot past Ondoa but unfortunately not the crossbar.

Powerful winger Coulthirst replaced Giancarlo Gallifuoco just after half-time, with Pritchard moving to a more influential position just behind Coulibaly. But it was Barcelona who probed the final third with greater fearsomeness, as Alain Ebwelle used his pace to frighten the Spurs defence. His cute back-heel released Sandro, but he was unable to add to his tally.

Coulibaly, an increasingly peripheral figure in the second half, was replaced after an hour by Joshua Onomah. Both sides continued to pass the ball around nicely, but Spurs’ threat was largely reduced to the right boot of Pritchard from setpieces.

With 15 minutes remaining in the game, Sandro scored his second goal of the night in very un-Barcelona fashion. A long goalkick bounced over Spurs' centre-halves and Sandro collected the ball and raced towards goal before calmly curling the ball past Vigouroux.

Tottenham didn't manage to muster a reply, only managing the odd pot shot from range. Not that that perturbed a large and vocal home support. Barcelona's Joel Huertas could have finished Spurs off in style after beating the offside trap, but his shot was well saved by Vigouroux.

An encouraging if disappointing result for Tottenham, who more than equalled the precision passing of Barcelona but couldn’t convert their possession into goals or match the clinical finishing of the Catalans.

Related

From the web