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Sunday 17 November 2019

Teary Poch is delighted by new ground

NEW DAWN: Spurs and Southampton U18s in action at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday. Photo: David Klein/Reuters
NEW DAWN: Spurs and Southampton U18s in action at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday. Photo: David Klein/Reuters

Mauricio Pochettino said he felt like crying after Tottenham's new stadium finally saw some football.

The 62,000-seat arena, which was due to open last summer, held its first official test event ahead of a proposed April 3 opening date when the club's Under-18 side took on Southampton yesterday, with Spurs' youngsters winning 3-1.

J'Neil Bennett made history when he became the first scorer at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, setting his side on the way to victory in the 11th minute with a lovely curling effort from the left.

Harvey White and Dilan Markanday also notched for Spurs while Kornelius Hansen became the first opposition player to score when he bagged for Saints.

It was the first of two test events required to take place in order to receive the relevant safety certificates from Haringey Council, with the second coming next Saturday when a Legends team take on Inter Milan.

Their first competitive game will then be against Crystal Palace four days later on April 3 in a rearranged Premier League match.

It has been the prospect of playing at this magnificent new stadium that has helped keep Pochettino at the club amid interest from Real Madrid and, earlier this season, Manchester United.

Interviewed on the pitch at half-time yesterday, it was not hard to see the delight engulfing the Argentinian at a "dream come true".

"I think it is unbelievable, it is so difficult to explain in only a few words," he said.

"We all feel the same, so excited, I got the same feeling when we left White Hart Lane on the last day, we were crying and now in the first day in the new stadium we feel the same emotion. Our dream became true."

After the Palace game there is the small matter of the Champions League quarter-final home leg against Manchester City.

He added: "It is going to be massive for the team, the players. We have a massive challenge in the quarter-final of the Champions League and I think with all of our fans, 62,000, it is going to be fantastic to play."

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