Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bale injured in dour Spurs draw with Liverpool

The state of Gareth Bale’s ankle was the main talking point as Tottenham and Liverpool played out a dreary 0-0 draw in Baltimore.
By PA Sport / Dylan Jacobs | Eurosport
Gareth Bale, 2012 (Reuters)
Gareth Bale, 2012 (Reuters)
Bale, who has controversially played a part in Tottenham’s pre-season tour of North America, despite an injury ruling him out of a place in Great Britain’s Olympic squad, was the victim of a clumsy tackle from behind by Charlie Adam in the first half and, after receiving treatment and continuing, was substituted as a precaution by Andre Villas Boas at half-time.

Before being taken off, Bale had been the architect of his side’s best chances; the pair of which at least gave the half a heartbeat.

First he evaded the attention of Jon Flanagan to deliver a right-footed cross that was flicked on by the vibrant Harry Kane and somehow fired against the woodwork by Aaron Lennon when it looked far easier to score. His second delivery – this time with his left foot – was directed towards goal by new signing Gylfi Sigurdsson; the Icelandic international having made one of his trademark runs from the midfield, but lacking the power in his connection to really trouble Brad Jones.

Until that final five minutes it was Liverpool who had looked the more likely to get on the scoresheet; young striker Adam Morgan twice bringing saves out of Brad Friedel. His best opportunity came when he evaded the offside trap after 27 minutes to collect Jamie Carragher’s long pass and fire low and left. Jonjo Shelvey had earlier tested the American in the Tottenham goal with a powerful drive from outside the area.

With Bale having left the field for good, it was Liverpool who looked most likely to score as the game resumed. Half-time substitutes Jordan Henderson and Nathan Eccleston both went close, as did Joe Cole, who drew the best save of the night out of Friedel with a super drive.

As both sides made wholesale changes though, the flow gradually drained away. Even the introduction of Steven Gerrard, Andy Carroll and new signing Fabio Borini for Liverpool and Jan Vertongen and Tom Huddlestone for Tottenham failed to inject anything, with 35-degree heat sapping the energy levels of all the players on show.

As was the case against Roma on Wednesday, Liverpool’s youngsters – Morgan excepted – failed to provide Brendan Rodgers with much to shout about. For Villas Boas, who was significantly without midfield dynamo Luka Modric, he will want something better against New York Red Bulls on Tuesday.

In other friendly action on Saturday, Mladen Petric's fine pre-season form continued as he scored again as Fulham eased to a 3-0 win over Wycombe at Adams Park.

Peterborough producing a battling display as they were beaten 2-0 by Premier League side Norwich at London Road.

West Brom held sway for most of their friendly with Championship side Barnsley at Oakwell but their lack of a cutting edge saw the contest end goalless.

And Martin Petrov's first-half penalty helped Bolton secure a 1-1 draw with League One Crewe.


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