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Tottenham Hotspur climb to third with 2-1 win over Newcastle United
Two goals from Gareth Bale lifted Tottenham Hotspur to third in the Premier League as they beat Newcastle United 2-1 at White Hart Lane.
The in-form winger found the net in both halves to give his side three points that sees them climb above Chelsea who play Wigan later today.
The 23-year-old Welshman, drawing comparisons in recent weeks to Cristiano Ronaldo, put Spurs ahead in the fifth minute with a superb free-kick from 30 yards out that the Real Madrid winger himself would have been proud of.
Newcastle levelled against the run of play but Bale broke a second half stalemate with a superb solo run and finish to give his side all three points.
Bale missed an open goal to seal his hat-trick and saw a fizzing shot tipped over by Tim Krul in an end-to-end finish.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side started in devastating fashion and were well deserving of their early lead.
Dempsey was brought down by Coloccini on the right side of the box and Bale stepped up to fizz in a shot that dipped over the wall and bounced inside Tim Krul’s left hand post.
Yoan Gouffran equalised for the Magpies against the run of play on 23 minutes when he was found unmarked by Moussa Sissoko on the edge of the box.
The Frenchman’s goal bound shot deflected off Dawson and passed Hugo Lloris to give the visitors an unexpected leveller.
It took until the 79th minute for Spurs to regain their lead when Bale nicked a bouncing ball ahead of last man Coloccini and ran in on goal before slotting through Krul’s legs from a tight angle.
Spurs looked in rampant mood in the opening stages and it looked at one point like the home side might emulate their 5-0 win in last year’s corresponding fixture.
But Newcastle crept back into the game unnoticed and should have levelled earlier than they did when Papiss Cisse sent a free header wide from seven yards.
Lewis Holtby on his home debut was linking well with Bale and Lennon across the middle of the park and the German midfielder fizzed a shot just over from inside the box when he was found by Lennon.
Yoan Gouffran was stretchered off ten minutes after the break after being caught by Kyle Walker as the defender cleared during a cagey start to the second half from both sides.
Bale twice ventured into the box from the right hand side but had his shot blocked on both occasions as both sides failed to create any clear cut chances.
It took Bale’s superb second goal to breathe some life back into the game as Newcastle, suddenly were forced to press for another equaliser.
But Spurs saw out seven minutes of injury time in an end-to-end finish, in which they could have furthered their lead themselves, to secure all three points.
Villas-Boas’ side now face two legs against Lyon in the Europa League before continuing their top-four challenge away at West Ham on February 25.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Naughton (Assou-Ekotto, 74), Lennon, Parker, Dembele, Holtby (Adebayor, 68), Dempsey, Bale. Subs: Friedel, Vertonghen, Gallas, Sigurdsson, Livermore.
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Santon, Perch (Tiote, 82), Sissoko, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Gouffran (Marveaux, 59), Cisse. Subs: Harper, Anita, Yanga-Mbiwa, Shola Ameobi, Obertan.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)