Harry Kane and Yago Falque starred for Tottenham as they dispatched rivals Chelsea with ease on the opening day of the Barclays Under 21 Premier League season.
Target man Kane harried Chelsea’s defence and caused havoc, while former Juventus midfielder Falque netted the first two goals for his side with neat finishes and was extremely comfortable on the ball throughout.
They should have opened the scoring after just four minutes, when Chelsea goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney dallied on the ball and was tackled by Kane. He slid it back to Falque but the Spaniard blazed over, as the pair displayed their intent from the off.
Chelsea also forged a good opportunity early on, with Jeremie Boga’s through ball finding striker Isiah Brown – the club’s new acquisition from West Brom. But Brown powered a strike straight at Jordan Archer when finesse would have been the better option.
The Blues continued to build on their possession and after 18 minutes they were awarded a penalty.
Jeremie Boga, one of the stars of the team’s run to last year’s Next Gen final, dribbled with speed and skill from the left wing into the centre, before slipping a ball into the penalty area for Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Giancarlo Gallifuoco unceremoniously brought the midfielder down in the box and referee Alan Young wasted no time in pointing to the spot. McEachran strolled up and rolled the ball home with a swagger, sending Archer the wrong way.
Tottenham almost hit back immediately, with Falque smashing a shot off the crossbar from close range and Shaquile Coulthirst slashing at the rebound and sending it into the sky.
They eventually reached parity after 31 minutes, when Kane’s cross found Falque, who kept a cool head and rode some half-hearted attempts at tackles to smash home from close range.
And minutes later, Chelsea lost playmaker McEachran to an ankle injury he sustained earlier in the game when making a routine pass.
Tottenham took full advantage after 40 minutes, with Coulthirst beating Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Ake with far too much ease, before Beeney beat his shot away. But it fell to Falque, who made no mistake from 20 yards out.
And just 60 seconds later, Tottenham had scored again. Harry Kane whizzed past Chalobah and lashed a low strike across Beeney and into the bottom left corner.
Despite Ake and Chalobah being two of the Chelsea side’s most accomplished players, they were being given the run-around and both – especially the latter – would have been more at home in a central midfield role.
Chelsea were on the rocks, but Boga came to the fore and with one thrusting run found John Swift. The midfielder flicked it back to him and the Frenchman bore down on goal, but was hauled down by Dominic Ball.
Boga took the free kick himself, and it would have flown into the top corner, if not for a fine save with his fingertips, from Archer.
Islam Feruz’s introduction for Swift at half-time gave Chelsea a greater goal threat, and the striker had one ruled out for offside – but not before Tottenham scored their fourth.
Kevin Wright twice failed to clear his lines, finding Spurs players both times, and Kane used his strong frame to turn superbly in the box, driving a shot against the left-hand post. It bounced back and Coulthirst tapped home from close range.
That took the wind – what little there was – out of Chelsea’s sails and the sting out of the game, with 35 minutes still to play.
Kane went close to scoring again with a 20-yard strike that Beeney shovelled away, but he had already done enough to earn Tottenham the win.
Brown netted a late consolation for Chelsea after being cunningly played through with a lofted ball from Ake – and there was still time for a late red card.
Nabil Bentaleb was shown a second yellow for a poor tackle on Brown, and despite his protestations was soon marching down the tunnel, which brought to an end a thrilling start to the U21 Premier League season.
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