BC-SOC--Tottenham-New Stadium,2nd Ld-Writethru
LONDON (AP) — Spurs winger J’Neil Bennett scored the first-ever goal at Tottenham’s new stadium on Sunday.
Tottenham played Southampton in an Under-18 game in the first official test event at the 62,000-seater arena.
The opening of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, built on the site of the club’s White Hart Lane ground, had been repeatedly put back because of construction and safety delays.
Watched by almost 29,000 fans, Bennett neatly curled the ball low into the bottom corner from the edge of the area to give his side an 11th-minute lead. The match, which Tottenham won 3-1, took place 679 days after the final game at the old stadium.
It was the first of two test events required to take place in order to receive the relevant safety certificates from the local council, with the second coming on Saturday when a Spurs Legends team takes on an Inter Milan team.
Under this schedule, the first senior game will see third-placed Spurs take on Crystal Palace in the Premier League on April 3.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was interviewed on the field at halftime.
“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,” Pochettino said.
“We need to cry because our dream became true.”
The week after the Palace game, Tottenham will play Manchester City at home in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP Sports