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Barclays Premier League

Ewood Park (ATT 22,786) 23rd October 2011 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: S Attwell

Blackburn Blackburn Rovers vs Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham

Blackburn 1

M Formica (28)


Tottenham 2

R van der Vaart (15, 53)

Spurs edge past Blackburn

Van der Vaart was on target twice at Ewood Park

Last Updated: 23/10/11 5:43pm

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Rafael van der Vaart's brace helped Tottenham Hotspur pick up maximum points at Ewood Park as they defeated Blackburn Rovers 2-1 in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Netherlands international playmaker opened the scoring on 15 minutes from close range but his strike was negated by Mauro Formica's effort for the hosts just before the half-hour mark.

Van der Vaart scored a wonderful strike to put Spurs into the lead again in the 53rd minute and this time Harry Redknapp's side did not relinquish, despite Rovers' late rally.

First-half action

Man of the match: Rafael van der Vaart scored twice for Tottenham and looked active throughout. The Dutch playmaker is one of the best players in the Premier League and he showcased that on Sunday. Goal of the match: Van der Vaart's second strike was an absolute beauty. Benoit Assou-Ekotto cut in from the left flank and the ball was placed perfectly for the Dutchman to sweep in from just outside the area. Talking points: Should Blackburn Rovers sack Steve Kean following this latest defeat? Can Tottenham finish in the top-four?

For all their recent problems, Blackburn got off to a fast start with Junior Hoilett cutting in from the left and hitting a shot just over the bar.

But Tottenham were looking comfortable in possession and getting in behind Rovers with ease.

Gareth Bale was picked out on the left and clipped a cross in behind the defence for Emmanuel Adebayor, whose shot was blocked by Gael Givet before Martin Olsson hacked clear.

Van der Vaart had another opportunity when his curling shot just flew past the far post.

But Tottenham made the breakthrough in the 15th minute. Right-back Kyle Walker burst past Givet and pulled the ball back for Van der Vaart to produce a simple finish from 15 yards.

Adebayor looked set to get on the end of another Bale cross moments later but Olsson managed to get his chest to the ball, forcing Paul Robinson to tip over the bar.

Robinson was worked again when Adebayor got to Bale's cross first but Blackburn scored a surprise equaliser in the 28th minute.

Morten Gamst Pedersen lifted a free kick into the area and Chris Samba beat Younes Kaboul in the air before Formica drove into the top corner from close range.

As Blackburn searched for a second, Simon Vuckcevic's low effort was pushed past the near post by Brad Friedel, who was also forced to turn away an effort from Hoilett.

Robinson did well to tip away Luka Modric's low shot before Samba's glancing header from Pedersen's free kick just dropped the wrong side of the post.

Second-half frenzy

Shortly after the restart, Modric had another drive turned away by Robinson and when Aaron Lennon crossed the ball back in from the right, Bale swung and missed.

But in the 53rd minute Van der Vaart added his second with real style.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto cut in from the left flank and laid the ball off for the Dutchman to sweep in from just outside the area.

Steven Nzonzi lifted a shot over from the edge of the area as Blackburn looked for another reply.

They went much closer when Hoilett sent Olsson clear down the left and the Swede's cross looked set to be turned in by Vukcevic only for Assou-Ekotto to clear away the danger.

Friedel pulled off a fine save to push Samba's header over after the Blackburn captain rose highest to meet Pedersen's long throw.

Bale had to be brave to knock Ayegbeni Yakubu's close-range header over the bar.

Yakubu also got in behind the Tottenham centre-backs to reach Olsson's cross but could not direct his shot on target.

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 8 22
2 Manchester City 8 17
3 Southampton 8 16
4 West Ham United 8 13
5 Liverpool 8 13
6 Manchester United 8 12
7 Arsenal 8 11
8 Swansea City 8 11
9 Tottenham Hotspur 8 11
10 Stoke City 8 11
11 Hull City 8 10
12 Aston Villa 8 10
13 Everton 8 9
14 West Bromwich Albion 8 9
15 Leicester City 8 9
16 Crystal Palace 8 8
17 Sunderland 8 8
18 Newcastle United 8 7
19 Burnley 8 4
20 Queens Park Rangers 8 4