Tottenham vs Real Madrid match report: Gareth Bale reminds his former team what they still miss as Spurs are beaten in Munich

Tottenham 0 Real Madrid 2

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Gareth Bale still has thunder in his boots and Tottenham desperately need fresh firepower – those were the clearest conclusions to be drawn from Mauricio Pochettino’s side’s 2-0 defeat by Real Madrid just four days ahead of the new season.

Bale stuck to the script against his old club with a spectacular finish and a muted celebration, but there were more depressing elements to Spurs’ defeat.

Having Harry Kane as their only option in attack four days from the big kick-off is clearly one, and having failed to shake off last season’s defensive weaknesses looks another.

Bale was deployed in a central position behind Jese at centre-forward and he confirmed after the game that he had sought out the new Real Madrid coach, Rafa Benitez, to request the move in from the right touchline. He said: “It’s my position. I’m able to go out to the left and to the right or go through the centre and that is what I was doing at Tottenham. It’s my best position. It’s where I play for Wales and it’s where I feel I play my best football.”

Walker.jpg
Kyle Walker (left) in action for Tottenham against Real Madrid

With Bale scoring against Tottenham, Kane struggled manfully against Sergio Ramos but made few inroads. The striker captained the team at the Allianz Arena and complained afterwards about some of Ramos’s challenges, including one on Christian Eriksen that earned him a yellow card and had Kane charging across to confront the defender.

“I thought that tackle was quite naughty,” he said. “Sometimes they can do a lot of damage and I ran over because we are a team. We’ve got to stick together, we are brothers out there on the pitch and as captain you want to protect your team-mates.”

Ramos also had to be separated from Erik Lamela leaving the pitch at half-time. Perhaps the frustration of a summer in which he looks like being granted neither the full €10m (£7m)-a-season contract he wanted nor a move to Manchester United has taken its toll.

His aggression at least helped ensure that Real Madrid never looked like conceding, while the same could not be said for Tottenham.

 

Only QPR, Aston Villa, Leicester and Newcastle conceded more goals than Tottenham last season and scheduling a friendly against Real Madrid just four days before they kick the new season off against Manchester United was certainly a brave way for Pochettino to test how successful his summer attempts to shore things up have been.

There were plenty of purple-shirted spectators when Rodriguez headed in Isco’s cross. Kyle Walker and Erikson could not prevent the centre and Rodriguez – one of the smallest men on the pitch – comfortably ran in behind Eric Dier and in front of Danny Rose to head past Michel Vorm.

Bale5.jpg
Gareth Bale with his trademark heart celebration

The good news for Spurs supporters was the form of 19-year-old Delle Alli who even nutmegged former Spurs favourite Luka Modric midway through the first half and was full of positive running.

Bale, until his second-half goal, had also struggled to make an impact in his first game against his former club since his move two years ago.

Bale3_2.jpg
Real Madrid players celebrate with Gareth Bale (far right)

With his best chance he glanced a Rodriguez free-kick just past Vorm’s post before Isco and Rodriguez combined to put Benitez’s side in front. Bale’s second-half shot and goal, however, were a reminder of the threat he poses when given space to run into as he broke away from Spurs’ defence and fizzed a shot past Vorm.

“It was a strange feeling scoring against them,” he said. “There have been a lot of changes since I left but I know a few of the players and it was nice to see some old faces in the hotel before the game. I hope they do well this season.”

There was sincerity in the sentiment but tellingly Bale said: “They didn’t create too much up front,” before adding, “but what matters for them is the first game of the new season and, hopefully, they can do well and qualify for the Champions League.”

There was little evidence beyond the bright full debut from Ali to suggest that Pochettino has the players to improve on last season’s fifth-place finish and break into the top four.

For Bale the season needs to bring trophies to justify his move to the No 10 position and to keep Benitez in a job.

He added: “We only came back from China three days ago and then we had three days off so fitness was the most important thing. It was good to get the win and even better to score.”

He is still not entirely convincing in his central position but how Spurs would love to still have him.

The man they spent almost a third of their Bale transfer money on two years ago, Lamela, blazed their first chance over from the edge of the six-yard box after Walker’s run and pull-back, and that set the tone for a comfortable Madrid win.

Comments