Saturday, August 3, 2013

Monaco 5-2 Tottenham: Spurs miss Bale as Falcao inspires hosts to easy win

The injury-plagued north London club, without the in-demand Welsh star, was ruthlessly exposed at the Stade Louis II, with the French side's Colombian striker bagging a double

Tottenham was given a worrying taste of life without Gareth Bale as it slumped to a 5-2 defeat against Monaco in the penultimate match of its preseason campaign.

Right back Andrea Raggi opened the scoring at the Stade Louis II with a well-executed volley, before the Ligue 1 outfit upped the tempo in the second half and struck two quick goals through Lucas Ocampos and Radamel Falcao.

Substitute Harry Kane pulled a goal back but any hopes of a comeback were short-lived as Monaco's record signing doubled his tally before Mounir Obbadi bagged the

fifth. Substitute Andros Townsend came off the bench to grab a late consolation.

An injury-hit Tottenham squad travelled to the principality without Real Madrid target Bale, sidelined with a gluteal injury and caught in the summer's biggest transfer saga.

Nacer Chadli was handed his Spurs debut, while the Ligue 2 champion fielded seven summer signings including Joao Moutinho, subject to an unsuccessful approach from the north Londoners last season, and Colombian duo James Rodriguez and Falcao.

The game began at a painfully slow pace in the sweltering heat of southern France, with Falcao's movement and cunning often hinting at troubling out-of-position center back duo Zeki Fryers and Jake Livermore, filling in for Spurs' growing casualty list of defenders.

Andre Villas-Boas' woes increased quickly. First Jermain Defoe was forced off clutching his hamstring, replaced by Kane, before the home side opened the scoring.

Rodriguez dropped deep, swivelled and clipped a pass over Danny Rose for the overlapping run of full back Raggi. The 29-year-old's first-time volley was well controlled, but Hugo Lloris will be disappointed to have been beaten so easily at his near post.

Monaco doubled their advantage minutes after the restart. Nicolas Isimat-Mirin was felled by Chadli, and Moutinho's pin-point free kick was powerfully headed into the back of the net by substitute Ocampos.

The Argentine was involved again barely seconds later as Claudio Ranieri's side launched a quick counter following a bout of profligacy from Kane. Darting down the right flank, Ocampos fizzed in a low cross which Falcao blasted past Lloris and into the roof of the net.

Tottenham was looking rattled, until a surging, bulldozing run from Mousa Dembele and some poor defending from Monaco saw the ball bobble to an unmarked Kane. The 20-year-old steadied himself and rolled the ball under Danijel Subasic.

Ocampos continued to cause Rose problems and, rampaging down the flank once more, hit the by-line and drilled a cross into the box. Moutinho ran over the ball, allowing Falcao to slot the ball home for his second goal.

Having pushed men forward for a dangerously-placed free kick, Spurs were undone by another swift Monaco break. Kyle Naughton was caught three-on-one and was left helpless as Carrasco squared for Obbadi, who drilled the ball past Lloris.

Falcao had a chance to secure his hat trick late on, connecting with Fabinho's excellent cross, but planted a diving header straight into the arms of Lloris. Spurs substitute Townsend was more clinical, however, darting infield before unleashing a fierce low drive into the bottom corner, though it will have done little to brighten a torrid evening for Villas-Boas' men