July 23rd, 2010
Tottenham spoiled the party to welcome Thierry Henry to the US with a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls.
The former Arsenal striker’s American debut predictably met with derision from the Spurs fans inside the Red Bull Arena but it was Henry who opened the scoring in the 25th minute.
As silky as ever, the 32-year-old strolled into the penalty area to stab home a Joel Lindpere cross after the midfielder had cut inside from the left, leaving Spurs’ right-back Alan Hutton for dead.
Henry (or ‘Terry Onray’ as the stadium announcer called him) celebrated by blowing kisses to the crowd and pointing at the turf as if to say: ‘I’m here.’
The Red Bulls’ fans cheered and Spurs supporters – and the spattering of those in green and Ireland shirts – booed the ex-France and Arsenal striker in the same, pantomime way as when he made his entrance onto the pitch as they recalled his handball for France that knocked Ireland out of the World Cup last year.
Henry was a class apart from his new team-mates but his lack of recent training – just four sessions with the Red Bulls – showed in his 45-minute debut.
He wasted a one-on-one with Spurs goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini after seven minutes and then sent a right-foot shot wide after referee Chris Penso played advantage following a Kyle Walker handball just outside the Tottenham penalty area. It would have been something of an ironic debut goal.
An indication of Henry’s superiority came after just five minutes, when he neatly brought down the ball with the outside of his right boot. The crowd ‘oohed’ in admiration but they were jeering seven minutes later when Seth Stammler managed to back-heel the ball away from an empty net after a Dane Richards cross. It really was a shocking miss.
Mind you, Robbie Keane had plenty of those, too. Whether scuppered by the offside flag or Red Bull goalkeepers Bouna Coundoul and then Greg Sutton, the striker looked out of touch before smashing a right-foot volley in at the far post after 62 minutes.
Keane, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Celtic, showed even less grace in refusing to answer questions about his Tottenham future after the match.
Spurs gave this fixture its due respect but were largely content to pass the ball without penetration in humid conditions on a sandy surface.
They were missing their 10 World Cup players – plus Jonathan Woodgate, Younes Kaboul and Roman Pavlyuchenko, who are all injured – and a makeshift back four of right-backs was caught out at times.
Tom Huddlestone and Gareth Bale were moved back from midfield to shore things up in the second half.
The pair combined for Tottenham’s second, with Bale sprinting down the left wing, beating Jeremy Hall and heading down a Huddlestone long ball before poking it into the net. The left-back then received treatment for a head injury.
Red Bulls’ substitute Mike Petke headed against the crossbar after a Richards’ cross with 10 minutes remaining but the entertainment was largely confined to the vocal home fans behind Cudicini’s goal. ‘Chelsea reject,’ was one of their more printable chants.
Manchester City meet Sporting Lisbon in the second round of matches later with Tottenham taking on Sporting and City playing Red Bulls on Sunday.
Source: daily mail
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