Japhet Tanganga clockwatch: How Spurs defender fared on debut against Liverpool

By Sports Desk January 11, 2020

Jose Mourinho certainly sprung a surprise with his team for Tottenham's Premier League clash with runaway leaders Liverpool as he handed a top-flight debut to Japhet Tanganga.

The 20-year-old, whose only previous experience of senior football came in an EFL Cup tie, operated in a centralised right-back role behind Serge Aurier, and was handed the unenviable task of shackling Sadio Mane.

Though Spurs were unable to record their third clean sheet of the season, Tanganga had an encouraging debut, winning 71.4 per cent of his duels.

We took a closer look at Tanganga's display in Spurs' 1-0 loss.


2' - It was quite an introduction to the Premier League for Tanganga, whose first touch was a goal-line block with his outstretched left leg to deny Roberto Firmino the opener. The Spurs youngster would have been well placed to thwart Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's follow-up effort had it been on target and not hit the post, though Tanganga was fortunate the ball did not go in via the back of his leg after it ricocheted off him. 

8' - Perhaps buoyed by that fine intervention, an eager Tanganga naively surged upfield to try to dispossess Mane, only to see the Senegal international easily turn away from trouble. Tanganga eventually brought Mane down and can count himself lucky not to have been booked.

22' - Spurs were utilising a somewhat hybrid formation, with regular right-back Aurier sometimes operating slightly further forward to account for the raiding Andy Robertson. However, as Aurier squared up to Mane with Tanganga directly behind him in support, nobody had thought about Robertson, with Spurs' debutant eventually recovering to snuff out the attempted cutback to Firmino. 

32' - Tanganga's next direct duel with Mane resulted in a victory for the rookie. He stepped in to win the ball, outmuscled the Reds attacker and burst forward. This time Mane brought down Tanganga, who needed some treatment on a blow to the back of the head sustained as he fell.

37' - The Liverpool breakthrough. The Spurs defending in the build-up was shoddy but Tanganga's attempt to cut out Mohamed Salah's pass to Firmino was futile, the Brazilian opening his body to fire the league leaders ahead.

62' - After a quiet start to the second half, Tanganga made his mark by winning a 50-50 against Jordan Henderson, nullifying a potential Liverpool counter-attack.

64' - Tanganga may have been fortunate early on when the ball hit the back of his leg and did not go in, but Lady Luck was not smiling on him just after the hour mark as he slipped, fell and saw Mane glide beyond him. Toby Alderweireld had to deal with Robertson's eventual cross.

65'-  The youngster was in the wars again moments later after a loose touch from Robertson saw him chase the ball and mistime a tackle on Tanganga, who was caught on the shin by the full-back's studs. VAR did not look at the incident again and both men were still on the ground in pain when Paulo Gazzaniga pushed away Mane's header.

69' - A double change for Spurs saw a new role for Tanganga, who shifted across to left-back after a chat with Mourinho when Danny Rose was withdrawn.

88' - Spurs pressed for a late leveller – one that never came – and the newcomer offered very little to their attacking cause, opting to pass backwards or across and rarely venturing beyond the halfway line. Tanganga was, unsurprisingly, tiring late on as he let Henderson easily go past him via a one-two.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Premier League clubs approve return to contact training Coronavirus: Premier League clubs approve return to contact training

    Premier League clubs have unanimously agreed to resume contact training in groups.

    The British government gave teams the green light to recommence "competitive" training earlier in the week, with authorities gearing up for a potential return of Premier League match action following a hiatus of more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    On Wednesday, all clubs agreed to the implementation of Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol.

    A Premier League statement read: "Premier League Shareholders today voted unanimously to resume contact training – marking another step towards restarting the Premier League season, when safe to do so.

    "Squads are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact.

    "The Premier League's priority is the health and wellbeing of all participants. Strict medical protocols are in place to ensure the training ground is the safest environment possible and players and staff will continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.

    "Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol has been agreed following consultation with clubs, players, managers, the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association], LMA [League Managers' Association] and the government. Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season, when conditions allow."

  • BREAKING NEWS: Premier League clubs approve return to contact training BREAKING NEWS: Premier League clubs approve return to contact training

    Premier League clubs have unanimously agreed to resume contact training in groups.

  • Coronavirus: Deschamps backs Ligue 1 over cancellation, says others are prioritising money Coronavirus: Deschamps backs Ligue 1 over cancellation, says others are prioritising money

    France coach Didier Deschamps has backed the decision to end the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, insisting others are only resuming due to financial reasons.

    Following guidance from the government, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) made the decision to prematurely end the Ligue 1 campaign and decide the final standings by virtue of points per game at the end of April.

    Some clubs have threatened to take legal action, while Lyon and their president Jean-Michel Aulas have been particularly vocal in their displeasure, urging the decision to be overturned following the resumption of the Bundesliga and confirmation that LaLiga can continue next month.

    Serie A and the Premier League could also recommence in June, meaning Ligue 1 will be the only one of Europe's top five leagues to not be concluded on the pitch.

    But Deschamps believes the French authorities have made the correct decision, highlighting inconsistencies with certain protocols in Germany and suggesting monetary concerns are behind LaLiga and the Premier League returning.

    "I don't want to judge, to condemn, to blame," he told Le Parisien. "The containment conditions are not the same for everyone.

    "I have watched the Bundesliga since the resumption of matches in Germany. It certainly looks like soccer. I'm not going to talk about the pace or intensity of the meetings, but some images seem so incoherent to me.

    "I see players playing a game with all the elements specific to football: namely contact and tackles. And then, we see in the stands masked substitutes two metres away from each other.

    "Honestly, I don't understand. They are in the same enclosure, likely to come into play at any time. In the stands, is the risk increased? What an inconsistency. I do not like it.

    "Life resumes with a lot of restrictions in all areas. In football, the resumption of certain championships obviously responds, first of all, to an economic problem.

    "Look at the decisions made in Spain and England. These two major football countries are planning the resumption of LaLiga and the Premier League, but they have decided not to resume the women's championships, which generate much less revenue. That says everything."

    Deschamps, who is contracted to be France coach until the end of the 2022 World Cup, is also concerned players in the leagues that have resumed are not prepared enough, and the risk of injury will be increased.

    "It worries me. Whether you are a coach or president of a club, we all have interests specific to our function," he continued. "The physical integrity of my players is my main concern.

    "Some abroad will resume competition without having carried out full preparation. No matter how much you say, such a stop requires six weeks of refresher training with at least five friendly matches. That's far from being the case.

    "They will chain matches every three days in summer, with high temperatures. The risk of injury is increased. I was already denouncing very busy calendars. It will not work out and it looks even more sensitive with very few breaks."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.