Sporting defeats Spurs, win New York Challenge

Sporting Lisbon and Tottenham Hotspur supplied one of the more entertaining matches of the week with an end-to-end 2-2 tie at Red Bull Arena on Sunday. Sporting was named champion of the Barclays New York Challenge, which also featured Manchester City and the New York Red Bulls.

Chileans Matias Fernandez and Jaime Valdez provided the scoring for the green and white-clad Sporting, and Robbie Keane and Jonathan Obika scored for Tottenham.

Alan Hutton provided the first real scoring threat of the day in the fourth minute, getting freed on a brilliant through ball from Niko Kranjcar, Hutton couldn’t put his shot on target despite being one-on-one with Sporting keeper Rui Patricio.

Four minutes later, Sporting would flub up their own great scoring opportunity. Liedson had a shot saved by Spurs keeper Carlo Cudicini, and then three other Sporting players saw their shots off the rebound come up fruitless, the last of which hit off the crossbar.

Keane opened up the scoring in the 23rd minute. He received a great through ball from the Tottenham midfield, and matched up one-one-one with the keeper on the right side, the Irishman unleashed a great strike into the far netting to go up 1-0.

Less than two minutes later, Sporting equalized on a great diving header from Fernandez. Valdez started the play by finding Diego Salomao on the right corner of the penalty box, who served the ball into the box for the tying score.

Tottenham would have one more great chance in the 44th minute to take a lead into the break. Keane got free towards the right corner and crossed it to a streaking Gareth Bale on the far post, just missing the second score by a yard.

The second half was probably even more back-and-forth than the first, with scoring opportunities aplenty for both sides throughout the match.

Sporting came out looking to score early, and managed to take the lead in the 48th minute.  Following a deliberate buildup by the Lions, Valdez found himself with a bit of space on top of the 18-yard box, and fired away towards the right post to go up 2-1.

Tottenham would answer in the 70th minute as Keane once again played a role in the Spurs build up. The 30-year old forward stole a pass in the midfield, and immediately found second half sub Obika running up the middle of the field. The 19-year old would beat the Portugese keeper on the left post for his first career goal on the senior level.

Both clubs will now head back to Europe after relatively successful American tours. Tottenham finished unbeaten with a win and pair of draws. Sporting went 2-0 in the New York Challenge and lost to Celtic on penalty kicks in Boston last week.

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