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Spurs v Crystal Palace – 11th January 2014

Spurs v Crystal Palace – 11th January 2014

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe began his long goodbye at White Hart Lane with a goal as he helped Spurs to victory over Crystal Palace.

The 31-year-old, who will join MLS side Toronto for £6m in February, produced a typical poacher’s finish after replacing the subdued Roberto Soldado.

Christian Eriksen had earlier put Tottenham ahead just after half-time.

Palace had chances to score, and were left to rue Jason Puncheon’s shocking first-half penalty miss.

The result continued Tottenham’s resurgence under Tim Sherwood since he replaced Andre Villas-Boas as head coach.

Spurs are yet to lose under Sherwood in the Premier League and have now collected 13 points from his five games in charge.

They struggled in the first half, though, as a tight and organised Palace defence,credited to boss Tony Pulis’s arrival, kept the hosts at bay and created plenty of chances at the other end.

Palace’s positive early endeavour, reflected in Pulis’s bold decision to start with two strikers, saw them awarded an early penalty when Marouane Chamakh was bundled over by Spurs midfielder Mousa Dembele.

But Pulis had his head in his hands when Puncheon skied the spot-kick high into the crowd.

The miss did not dampen Palace’s enthusiasm with Spurs’ Hugo Lloris much the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first half.

Cameron Jerome, on loan from Pulis’s former club Stoke, tested the reflexes of the France international with a powerful strike from distance which Lloris had to gather at the second attempt.

Spurs flickered into life on the half-hour mark when Aaron Lennon sent a teasing cross into the six-yard box but Emmanuel Adebayor was unable to get his head on the end of it.

The chance gave the hosts greater belief and midfielder Nabil Bentaleb, on his full Premier League debut, struck the inside of the post with a fine curling effort from 25 yards which rebounded back across goal.

Tottenham’s all-time leading scorers

  • Jimmy Greaves – 266
  • Bobby Smith – 208
  • Martin Chivers 174
  • Cliff Jones – 159
  • Jermain Defoe – 143

Tottenham carried the momentum into the second half and took the lead when Adebayor flicked on Kyle Naughton’s high ball from deep into the path of Eriksen who, with a clear sight of goal, struck a powerful shot past Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

It was the Denmark international’s fourth goal for Tottenham in all competitions since his £11.5m move from Ajax.

Sherwood introduced Defoe, fifth on the list of Spurs’ all-time record goalscorers, for the largely ineffective Soldado with a just over a third of the contest remaining.

And Defoe’s poacher’s instinct almost helped Tottenham increase their advantage as he angled a shot across goal which went just past the post.

Almost inevitably, he doubled Tottenham’s lead when he got on the end of a clever through-ball from Lennon and danced into the box before slipping the ball under Speroni.

Palace attempted to rally and Lloris was relieved when Adlene Guedioura’s shot went just wide while ex-Arsenal striker Chamakh went close with a couple of headers late on, but Tottenham’s defence stood firm.

Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood:

“We have a group of lads who are very talented but unless you marry that with desire, you won’t get the results. If you don’t show desire, your ability counts for nothing.

“Second half we picked that up. We were much better, so I have to give them credit for the character they showed. We took it to the opposition after the break.

“I’ll be sorry to lose Jermain, and Toronto are getting a fine goalscorer. I don’t think there are many better goalscorers than him out there.”

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis:

“We played so well in the first half, the game should have been over at half-time. The penalty miss was poor and the breaks aren’t going for us at the moment.

“I spoke to Jason Puncheon at half-time about the penalty. It’s the reaction afterwards that I looked for and he did well with his performance after that.

“I think the lads have to take credit for the way they kept going. We have to take our opportunities, though. Against the top teams, when you are in front, you have to take those opportunities.”



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