Barcelona beat Tottenham in NextGen

Barcelona beat Tottenham in NextGen
By Eurosport

14/09/2012 at 06:58Updated 14/09/2012 at 19:08

Barcelona got their NextGen Group One campaign back on track by confidently dispatching Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at White Hart Lane.

The fixture, Spurs' second of their NextGen 2012/13 campaign, was the first to be broadcast under a groundbreaking deal between NextGen and Eurosport which will see the channel show the under-19 tournament across Europe.

Spurs went into the game looking to build on a strong start to this season's tournament, coming from behind to record an impressive 3-2 away victory over Wolfsburg, whilst their storied opponents could only stutter to a score draw in their opening fixture at home to NextGen debutantes Anderlecht.

The hosts had the better of the early exchanges, their high tempo pressing disrupting Barcelona's attempts to establish any rhythm or fluency in their passing and could have taken the lead in the first minute, Souleymane Coulibaly chasing down a clearance from Ondoa which deflected narrowly over on to the roof of the net.

Tottenham continued to harry their illustrious opponents and forced numerous openings from which they failed to capitalise, livewire Alex Pritchard on the left of a Spurs front three twice failing to find the target when well placed, his two efforts punctuated by a Kenneth McEvoy effort that trickled narrowly wide.

Barcelona grew as the half progressed, establishing a foothold in the midfield as the half progressed with Sergi Samper, a veteran of the Barca NextGen squad, pulling the strings for the visitors.

Having wrestled control of the middle of the park, Barca made Spurs pay for their profligacy in the 18th minute, a magnificent raking crossfield pass finding Adama loitering near the right touchline, the forward's low cross found Sandro who whose first time finish flashed past Lawrence Vigouroux from six yards.

Once in the lead the Blaugrana were uncharacteristically content to let Spurs push on and play on the break and were fortunate to go into the break still in the ascendancy, with Spurs again guilty of missing various chances to level proceedings, Coulibaly, whose strength was causing problems for the Barca's centre-half pairing of Bagnack and Costa, was unable to match his industrious and at times inventive play with the required finesse in front of goal.

Spurs would again come close on the stroke of half-time with Pritchard again causing problems for Ekpolo, the 19-year-old cut inside his marker before curling an effort against the crossbar from 18 yards.

Tottenham, trying to emulate their early first-half dominance started the second period at a frenetic pace, but as the game stretched and energy levels dropped they began to be picked apart by their Spanish opponents.

Alex Inglethorpe, the Spurs NextGen coach, tried to stem the tide by introducing Shaquile Coulthirst for midfielder Giancarlo Gallifouco but the switch only further stretched the game, playing right into the hands of the young Catalans, with Alain Ebwelle in particular exploiting a now exposed full-back Alexander McQueen.

Inglethorpe further shuffled his pack, bringing on Joshua Onomah for a visibly tiring Coulibaly with 25 minutes remaining as the pace and tempo began to take its toll on Spurs' young charges with Barcelona now playing with a rediscovered confidence and swagger.

Having toyed with the hosts for most of the second half, Barcelona added to their tally in the 74th minute, Sandro bagging his second of the night firing emphatically past Vigoroux from just inside the Spurs area.

Substitute Joel Huertas should have added to Barcelona's tally, having been slid through on the inside right channel, but couldn't guide his shot past the imposing frame of Vigouroux.

The result sees Barcelona leapfrog Spurs and Wolfsburg into first place in NextGen Group One with four points from two games with Spurs dropping to third behind Wolfsburg on goal difference, Anderlecht are currently propping the group up with a solitary point.

Elsewhere, Manchester City were up against Fenerbahce at Hyde in Group Two and looking for their first points in the tournament.

It didn't start well for City who fell behind after eight minutes after Hakan Cinemre headed past Ian Lawlor to make it 1-0. City went into half-time a goal down but looked a different side after the break, with Denis Suarez pulling the strings in the City midfield.

It was Suarez who equalised for City from the penalty spot and minutes later Emyr Huws made it 2-1 to the hosts through a deflected strike. Jordy Hiwula made it a more comfortable scoreline from the penalty spot to give Manchester City their first points in the NextGen Series.

CSKA remained unbeaten in the NextGen Series after a 1-0 victory in Molde. Captain Gela Zaseev scored for the Russians on 54 minutes to ensure the Russians top Group Three with nine points from their opening three games.