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23/07/2011 15:00

Spurs are 2011 Vodacom Challenge champs

Posted: 23 July 2011 Time: 16:55

Tottenham Hotspur are the 2011 Vodacom Challenge champions after beating Orlando Pirates 3-0 in the Final at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday afternoon.

It was a repeat of the 2007 scoreline between the same sides, though Bucs will feel they deserved better, especially in the first half.

Pirates were by far the more enterprising team in the first 45 minutes and would have felt hard done by trailing at the break.

They had the first chance on 11 minutes – Andile Jali bursting through midfield and playing in Tlou Segolela, but Heurelho Gomes came up trumps in the one-on-one situation. From the resultant corner, Thulasizwe Mbuyane steered his free header wide.

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Five minutes later and Spurs should have scored when Benoit Assou-Ekotto put in a perfect cross from the left towards Peter Crouch, but he ballooned his shot from eight yards out over the crossbar.

Rafael van der Vaart gave a preview of what’s to come on 21 minutes when his deflected free-kick drifted just wide, but immediately afterwards Bucs again had a glorious chance to score – Mbuyane heading wide when unmarked from six yards out after more excellent work by Segolela.

‘Sox’ was causing havoc with his pace and on 30 minutes he again set up a great chance, only for Bongani Ndulula shoots over from 12 yards out.

Five minutes later and you couldn’t but get a sense of déjà vu – Spurs again getting a dangerous free-kick against Pirates, and Van der Vaart again beating Meyiwa, just as he did at Mbombela Stadium.

Bucs had a good chance just before the break to level matters when Segolela again weaved his magic, but again Ndulula failed to capitalize.

It took Spurs just seven second half minutes to find their second goal, and again the scorer was Van der Vaart, who beat the offside trap and then Meyiwa at the second attempt.

It took Bucs a while to find their feet after that, and only on 70 minutes did they again threaten Gomes’ goal, but the Brazilian got down well to save Segolela’s shot.

Substitute Gareth Bale had a goal chalked off with his very first touch, and the Welsh winger second touch almost played him in again, but for some good work from Meyiwa.

Pirates should have drawn level with 10 minutes to go when referee Kaoma Wellington awarded them a penalty for handball in the area, but Segolela put his effort against the upright – a massive shame considering how good he had been all day.

Rudolf Bester stung Gomes’ palms with a rasping drive and Lucas Thwala headed wide from a corner, but it was Spurs who got the last goal – Jermain Defoe netting with three minutes remaining from Bale’s pinpoint cross.

Orlando Pirates: Senzo Meyiwa, Happy Jele, Lucky Lekgwathi (Rooi Mahamutsa 63), Siyabonga Sangweni (Rob yn Johannes 63), Reuben Cloete (Lucas Thwala 69), Thulasize Mbuyane (Sameegh Doutie 46), Oupa Manyisa, Andile Jali (Clifford Ngobeni 80), Daine Klate (Rudolf Bester 63), Tlou Segolela (Ndumiso Mabena 87), Bongani Ndulula (Mark Mayambela 62)

Tottenham Hotspur: Huerelho Gomes, Kyle Walker (Alan Hutton 46), Sebastien Bassong, Bongani Khumalo, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Aaron Lennon (Roman Pavlyuchenko 60), Luka Modric (Gareth Bale 70), Tom Huddlestone (Winston Palacios 46), Steven Pienaar (Niko Kranjcar 46), Rafael van der Vaart, Peter Crouch (Jermain Defoe 46)

Ryan Cooper

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