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Spurs v Hull City – October 2013

Spurs v Hull City – October 2013

Roberto Soldado score for Tottenham Hotspur

Roberto Soldado’s late penalty gave Tottenham victory over Hull and lifted Spurs to fourth in the Premier League.

Frustrated for long periods, the hosts were relieved when Soldado finished after Ahmed Elmohamady handled.

Soldado had earlier been denied by Hull keeper Steve Harper, while Paulinho hooked over the bar.

Tom Huddlestone volleyed over in the first half but the visitors were increasingly pressed back and were ultimately undone from the spot.

Until then, it looked like Hull’s five-man defence would thwart a Spurs side that appeared to lack the guile to create goalscoring opportunities.

But, when Elmohamady was adjudged to have used his arm to block Jan Vertonghen’s cross 10 minutes from time, Soldado slotted his third league penalty of the season.

It was perhaps apt that this contest between the lowest goalscorers in the Premier League’s top half was settled by a sole goal from the spot, but that will serve as little comfort to a Hull team that could justifiably argue they deserved a point.

Hampered by injuries and the unavailability of on-loan Spurs midfielder Jake Livermore, Tigers boss Steve Bruce was forced to make six changes to the side beaten by Everton last week.

City were set-up to contain, an objective they fulfilled successfully for much of the first period.

Villas-Boas unhappy with negative atmosphere

Besides the set-piece that gave Paulinho the space for Spurs’ best chance of the half, the hosts were mainly restricted to long-range efforts from Kyle Walker, the lively Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon, recalled for his first league start since the opening weekend in place of Gylfi Sigurdsson.

But Hull were also able to counter and make chances of their own – George Boyd and Yannick Sagbo forced home goalkeeper Hugo Lloris into action, while the excellent Huddlestone fired over on his return to the club with whom he spent eight years.

The Tigers, though, found attacking opportunities harder to come by as the game wore on and Spurs applied more pressure in the second half, particularly after the introduction of Christian Eriksen.

When Townsend fed Soldado, the Spaniard was well-placed to break the deadlock only for Harper – making his first league start for the Tigers because of an injury to Allan McGregor – to dive low to his left and palm away.

With that chance gone, Hull looked increasingly likely to get away with a draw until the penalty decision went against them.

There was still time for Spurs to suffer a twin scare, first when Townsend took a heavy fall into the crowd and then from a Huddlestone free-kick with the last action of the match.

Townsend was knocked unconscious but got up to finish the game, while Huddlestone shot wide.

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