Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur started off their pre-season by facing each other at the Singapore National Stadium on Sunday. Both sides had contrasting fortunes last season; while Juventus won the Serie A as well as the Supercoppa Italiana, Tottenham lost to Liverpool in the Champions League final and only managed to finish 4th in the Premier League.
This game as such was an opportunity for both managers to assess their team ahead of the new season. For Mauricio Pochettino though, the stakes were a bit higher.
The Argentine finally had his team playing his brand of football, but silverware had still eluded him. Pochettino had even identified the areas of improvement from last season and Spurs had gone all out for the signature of Tanguy Ndombele. The Argentinean as such was ready to test his mettle against old foe Maurizio Sarri and identify his first eleven ahead of the new season.
Pochettino started with Gazzaniga in goal, while Georgiou, Tanganga, Alderweireld and Walker-Peters made up the back 4. He selected Dele Alli and Skipp either side of Winks in a 3-man midfield, while Son, Lamela and Parrott made up the front three.
Spurs started the game brighter and took the lead through Lamela in the 30th minute. However, Juventus hit back in the second half, equalizing through Higuain and then taking the lead through Ronaldo. Lucas Moura brought his club back into the game and then Harry Kane scored a sensational 93rd minute goal to give Tottenham a memorable win.
Here are the 5 men who were brilliant for Pochettino and won the game for Tottenham.
#5 Toby Alderweireld
The Belgian was rock solid at the back for Tottenham and despite having young Tanganga for company, looked every bit the player who had attracted attention from Manchester United.
Toby Alderweireld had the massive task of keeping Ronaldo at bay and for the majority of the first half, he was able to do so. The Portuguese did get a couple of chances to score, but Alderweireld closed him down in a flash on both occasions. Needless to say, Juventus had little joy in the final third as long as Alderweireld was on the field.
The Belgian was ultimately substituted during the break, but by then, Alderweireld had already shown he is ready for the new season.
#4 Tanguy Ndombele
Pochettino had invested heavily on Tanguy Ndombele, who had been impressive in Ligue 1 last season. However, the Argentine had decided to keep Ndombele on the bench for the game, preferring to bring him on in the second half.
When the Frenchman entered the field, Tottenham had just conceded a goal and were trailing 2-1. It was perhaps a game that required his expert intervention and it was exactly what Ndombele did. He picked up the ball and threaded a fantastic pass for Lucas Moura. The Juventus defense failed to stop the ball from reaching the Brazilian, who scored Tottenham’s equalizer.
After picking up his first assist for Spurs, Ndombele was hardly the man to take his foot off the peddle. He continuously piled the pressure on the opposition and even had an attempt off target. It turned out to be a fine outing for the Frenchman, who was brilliant for Tottenham and helped them win the game.
#3 Eric Lamela
The Argentine was selected to start the game alongside Son and Parrott in a new-look front three. The Argentine started the game well, trying to combine with Parrott and Son, both of whom looked lively and had chances to score. However, Tottenham failed to a breakthrough due to some poor finishing upfront.
Nevertheless, Lamela continued to be involved and tried to make things happen, pressing high up the pitch and helping his team close down the opposition. He was tidy with his passing and decent with his vision, as Tottenham were the better team in the opening stages. And, he showed his anticipatory skills right in the middle of the first half.
Parrott won the ball back and released Son in the final third. The Irishman burst forward to receive the ball back, but his well-taken shot was expertly saved by Buffon. Unfortunately for the legendary Italian goalkeeper, the ball was parried right in the path or Lamela, who had ghosted into the box. Lamela scored and gave Tottenham the lead that they deserved.
#2 Lucas Moura
The Brazilian was one of the five changes at half time, after watching from the bench in the first half as Tottenham controlled the game. He looked bright as soon as he set foot on the field, as his pace and trickery caused Juventus quite a few problems.
Moura was busy as a bee in the field and threatened to score on a couple of occasions. He even set up Harry Kane early in the second half, with Tottenham’s lead still intact, however, the Englishman failed to score. Then when it looked like Juventus were running away with the game, Moura had his say.
Picking up a beautiful ball from new signing Tanguy Ndombele, the Brazilian moved easily past the Juventus defense and finished well to score. It was a goal that brought Tottenham back into the game, gave them momentum and ultimately helped them win the game.
#1 Harry Kane
The Tottenham skipper started from the bench and only came on after the break when Mauricio Pochettino made five changes. Kane immediately became the focal point of the attack for Spurs and his combination with Lucas Moura started to take shape. He did have a half-chance early on in the second half, but it fell to his weaker side and his first-time volley was off target.
He had another chance to score in the 59th minute, rising highest in the penalty area and putting a powerful header wide. The England skipper was looking increasingly menacing, but the Juventus defense held on. However, his chance arrived in the dying moments of the game.
In the 93rd minute, Lucas Moura won the ball in his own half and as the ball found its way to Kane, the Englishman hit a first-time volley from the halfway line. Szczesny was out of his line and the ball spectacularly found its way into the net. A fascinating winner for a highly entertaining game.