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Chiriches returns as Spurs Under-21s overcome Arsenal at White Hart Lane

Vlad Chiriches Vlad Chiriches

Friday, March 28, 2014
8:52 PM

Vlad Chiriches returned from injury and captained Tottenham’s Under-21s to a derby victory over 10-man Arsenal in the Under-21 Premier League at White Hart Lane tonight.

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Chiriches, who has missed the last 12 games for the first team, played the full match as Spurs triumphed thanks to goals in each half from Souleymane Coulibaly and Harry Winks.

Midway through the first half the highly impressive No10 Ruben Lameiras was tugged back by Isaac Hayden in the box, resulting in a red card for the Gunners skipper, and Coulibaly did the honours from the spot.

Spurs had numerous chances to extend their lead and give themselves a more comfortable evening, but they found the tall Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Macey in fine form – and it took until the 82nd minute to get the second goal as Winks fired home from the edge of the box.

The visitors created the first opening as Thomas Eisfeld unleashed a low shot on goal, but Jordan Archer got down smartly to save, and Spurs then started to ask their own questions.

Coulibaly played a neat one-two with Lameiras to get in behind the Gunners defence, but he fired across goal. Moments later, Coulibaly met a corner in the box but was unable to seriously test Macey.

Lameiras then played a superb superb through ball to free Nathan Oduwa inside his full-back, but the left winger elected to cross rather than shoot, and the low ball was cut out just in front of Coulibaly.

Right-back Alex McQueen delivered an inviting cross to the back post, where Coulibaly was just beaten in the air by Leander Siemann – and the Ivorian then attempted an audacious bicycle kick which went high and wide.

Spurs got their breakthrough in the 26th minute with a key moment. Lilywhites left-back Connor Ogilvie robbed Jon Toral and Lameiras showed brilliant feet to beat both Semi Ajayi and Hayden and go through one on one with Macey in the box.

However, he was tugged back by Hayden, who was shown a straight red card before Coulibaly scored from the resulting spot-kick.

It was all Tottenham for the rest of the half, and McQueen’s cross was deflected onto the near post, while Winks got in behind and flashed a low cross across goal, only to see the ball cleared.

It was more of the same after the interval. Six minutes after the break, Kenny McEvoy ducked inside and out to beat his man on the edge of the box before crossing for Lameiras, who blazed over with a rare error.

Lameiras nearly made amends with a fine piece of skill, beating two men with one turn in the box, but he was crowded out before he could get a shot off.

The Gunners had a brief chance at the other end, winning a free-kick just outside the box, but Eisfeld curled the ball over the bar.

Tottenham were soon back on the offensive, with Lameiras creating space and shooting low at Macey, inspiring chants of “Are you Messi in disguise?” from the vocal home supporters – members of the 1882 movement.

Spurs went even closer as Oduwa went through one on one with Macey but was denied by the onrushing goalkeeper – and Coulibaly’s follow-up was blocked by a defender.

Moments later McEvoy was through on the other side after a clever reverse pass from Lameiras, and his low effort struck Macey’s legs and hit the far post.

Somehow, Tottenham were still only one goal up – and Arsenal nearly grabbed an unlikely equaliser as substitute Zak Ansah exchanged passes with Toral and forced a smart save from Archer at the near post.

Back came Tottenham, with Lameiras curling a free-kick just over the bar and Oduwa cutting inside and unleashing a curling effort that Macey dived to palm away.

Chiriches, who was having little to do at the back, was next to try to force the second goal, driving from inside his own half to the edge of the Arsenal box, exchanging passes with Oduwa and trying a similar, bending shot that Macey was equal to once again.

Coulibaly’s low drive was also fended away, and Lameiras narrowly missed the top corner with a curling effort.

It seemed that Tottenham were going to have to make do with a one-goal margin of victory. But, eight minutes from time, Oduwa advanced and found McEvoy, who teed up Winks, and he whipped the ball past Macey into the bottom left corner.

Chiriches nearly added the icing on the cake, scything through again and forcing Macey to come out at his feet and prevent a late third goal.

Tottenham: Archer, McQueen (McEneff 82), Chiriches, Ball (Stewart 77), Ogilvie (Gallifuoco 85), McEvoy, Veljkovic, Winks, Oduwa, Lameiras, Coulibaly

Arsenal: Macey, Siemann, Ormonde-Ottewill, Kamara, Ajayi, Hayden, Iwobi, Zelalem, Lipman (Ansah 60), Eisfeld, Toral

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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