Tottenham captain Harry Kane scored the only goal in Tuesday’s Audi Cup semifinal win over Real Madrid, as Los Blancos worrying preseason continued.
Kane capitalised on a Marcelo mistake to finish calmly mid-way through the first half, and Mauricio Pochettino’s men would have won by a bigger margin but for a string of top saves from Madrid keeper Keylor Navas.
Both teams picked strong starting XIs for their latest preseason test, and after a quiet opening period, Tottenham upped the pace. Navas made three stops in 60 seconds, but Navas could do nothing as successive misplaced passes by Eden Hazard and Marcelo sent Kane clear on goal. The England captain accepted the gift and chipped confidently to the net.
Madrid tried to hit back but Karim Benzema side-footed just wide after Luka Modric’s run and clever pass. Real were then grateful for a lack of VAR in the Audi Cup when Erik Lamela had a credible penalty appeal for an apparent trip by Marcelo inside the box.
Pochettino made nine changes at the break, while Zinedine Zidane left his XI intact. Madrid upped their intensity and Hazard should really have made Hugo Lloris work when set up well by Marcelo. But Tottenham kept making chances, and Navas saved in quick succession from Son, Kane and substitute Dele Alli.
Despite having another game in just 24 hours’ time, Zidane kept most of his big names on the pitch to press for an equaliser. With new €120 million signing Hazard again quiet, their best opportunities came from youngsters — an offside flag denied Rodrygo Goes an equaliser and Japanese teenager Kubo twice came close. Tottenham’s Irish youngster Troy Parrott almost made it 2-0 late on but his low 15-yarder bounced back off the post.
“We were better today, and we must get better, every day,” Zidane said at the post-game news conference. “We cannot be happy with the defeat, but we were better in all aspects. We must be positive, knowing that we must do better. I know it is difficult, we are coming off a tough season, and Madridistas might not think it but we have a great team. We are not ready yet, but we will pick up confidence and play and come out of this. We just need to win a game.
Tottenham will now face either hosts Bayern Munich or Fenerbahce in Wednesday evening’s final, with Madrid are also in action in the afternoon’s third-fourth place match at the Allianz Arena.