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Tottenham wins with Gareth Bale\’s brace

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Tottenham wins with Gareth Bale\’s brace

Gareth Bale lived up to his billing as Tottenham\’s own Cristiano Ronaldo after firing Andre Villas-Boas\’ side to an entertaining 2-1 victory over Newcastle at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Villas-Boas was at pains to point out the similarities between Bale and Ronaldo during the week, and the Welshman put in a performance the Portuguese would have been proud of today.

Bale beat Tim Krul with a 25-yard free kick to open the scoring for the Londoners and then sealed the win with a superb breakaway goal that ended with him slotting the ball between the Newcastle goalkeeper\’s legs.

\”It was a massive game today. It was just important to come back and put pressure on the teams above us,\” Bale told Sky Sports 1. \”I am enjoying my football at the moment and that\’s the most important thing. I\’m just going to keep my head down and be focused.\”

Newcastle dominated large parts of the game but Bale, like he has done so many times this season, swung the game in Spurs\’ favour.

Bale was employed through the middle for large parts Saturday, which Villas-Boas believes is helping the midfielder make an even greater impact.

\”Today we started where he finished the second half against West Brom (last weekend),\” Villas-Boas said. \”We gave him the same freedom. When a player feels good about the position he enjoys it more.\”

The 23-year-old, who scored the decisive goals in Tottenham\’s last two matches, now has 19 goals for club and country this season. Only the athletic brilliance of Krul prevented him from scoring a hat trick.

Newcastle\’s goal came from Yoan Gouffran, who was later carried off on a stretcher with a serious-looking leg injury.

The win stretched Tottenham\’s unbeaten Premier League run to 10 matches and put the north London club into third temporarily until Chelsea beat Wigan later Saturday.

Villas-Boas and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew fell out last season, but there was a strong sense of bonhomie as they embraced on the touchline before kickoff.

Bale was in no mood to show the visitors the same love. Just 70 seconds had elapsed when he burst down the left after a clever one-two with Lewis Holtby, but Davide Santon cut the Welshman\’s cross out before Clint Dempsey could convert.

Three minutes later and Spurs had the lead. Fabricio Coloccini clattered into Dempsey 25 yards out and Bale stepped up to deliver a Ronaldo-esque free kick that dipped over the wall past a diving Krul.

Spurs dominated the rest of the opening quarter with some scintillating attacking football.

Mousa Dembele penetrated the box and rolled the ball back to Holtby, who came within inches of scoring his first goal for the club.

Thereafter Newcastle came back in to the game. Lloris saved from a Gouffran curler and Cisse directed a free diving header just wide of his compatriot\’s goal.

Holtby momentarily raised the hopes of the home crowd, but Newcastle remained on top and the seemingly inevitable equalizer came with 24 minutes gone.

Sissoko galloped down the right on a Newcastle counter and pulled the ball back to Gouffran, who beat Lloris via a deflection from the diving Michael Dawson.

Spurs had two penalty appeals turned down. The first — when Aaron Lennon\’s shot struck Santon\’s arm — looked credible, but the second — when Bale\’s volley brushed Mathieu Debuchy\’s shoulder — was not.

Gutierrez whipped a cross in to the box to find Yohan Cabaye, but the Frenchman miscontrolled and Lloris came to the rescue.

Tottenham failed to up its performance straight after the break.

The game came to a pause for seven minutes as Gouffran received treatment for what looked like a serious injury. Kyle Walker clipped the forward\’s right shin on the halfway line and he needed oxygen before being carried off on a stretcher. He was then taken to hospital for an X-ray.

\”His shinbone looks sore. It\’s fingers crossed,\” Pardew said. \”We don\’t want to lose him, he\’s only just come to the club.\”

Bale looked to be Tottenham\’s best hope of finding a winner. The Welshman, who fired his country to victory over Austria in midweek, picked the ball off Lennon and fired a low cross in to the box but it was cut out before Dempsey could score.

Bale came forward again, charging at the defense before firing a powerful shot that Taylor blocked bravely.

Taylor went from hero to villain moments later, however, as his mix-up with Coloccini allowed Bale to race through the Toon defense and fire between the legs of Krul to make it 2-1.

Caulker had a chance to seal the win moments later with a free header when Krul went walkabout, but the defender nodded wide.

Only Krul\’s fingertips prevented the Welshman from adding a third after he raced through from a long punt downfield before firing a powerful volley at goal.

\”He is definitely a great keeper,\” Bale said. \”I was disappointed with the goal I missed on my right foot. I\’ll have to work on that.\”

Cabaye put in a terrible tackle on Dembele, stamping on the Belgian\’s ankle in a late attempt to win the ball. Spurs\’ players demanded a red card, but Phil Dowd issued just a yellow.

Newcastle threatened to equalize in the second of seven added minutes through substitute Shola Ameobi, but Lloris saved well to deny the striker.

Krul\’s acrobatics denied Bale his hat trick twice in added time, but the winger did not mind. He had already done enough damage to see off the Toon.

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