Two goals from Gareth Bale gave Tottenham a 2-1 win over Newcastle
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @graemebailey. Last Updated: February 10, 2013 8:44am
Gareth Bale: Brace wins game for Tottenham
Gareth Bale's wonderful run of form continued as he scored both goals for Tottenham in their 2-1 win over Newcastle at White Hart Lane.
The Welsh wizard was a constant thorn in Newcastle's side and he opened the scoring with a brilliant free-kick after just five minutes.
Best of the Match:
- Man of the match: Gareth Bale. His two goals were exquisite, and if not for Krul he could have had a couple more late on.
- Goal of the match: Bale's commitment for his second saw him beat Coloccini to the ball, before expertly firing under Krul's legs with a stunningly composed finish.
- Attempt of the match: Bale nearly grabbed his hat-trick in injury time, but after cutting across the Newcastle defence, his ferocious drive was parried wide by Krul.
- Save of the match: Either one of Krul's late saves from Bale was worthy of scooping the award. The Magpies goalkeeper was immense at White Hart Lane.
- Moment of the match: Bale's late winner was a moment of magic in an otherwise fairly average second half, with the winger continuing to build his reputation as one of the game's greats.
- Talking point: Providing Bale stays fit, third is undoubtedly a possibility for Tottenham this year, and Champions League football is certainly on the horizon now for the North London club.
Spurs were the better side in the opening exchanges, but the visitors looked dangerous on the counter and levelled with Yoan Gouffran's strike flying into the top corner off Michael Dawson's back just before the half-hour.
Both teams had their chances to win it in the second half, and it was Spurs who took the three points with just 12 minutes left as Bale broke into the box and fired under Tim Krul for his eighth goal in his last nine Tottenham appearances.
He did pass up a gilt-edged chance to take the match ball home but he fired over an open goal with his right foot from just five yards out - however, it mattered little as Spurs took the win and extended their unbeaten run to 10 games.
Bale was in in the mood from the start. 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 which dipped over the wall past a diving Krul.
Spurs dominated the rest of the opening quarter but Newcastle came back into it and levelled. Moussa Sissoko galloped down the right on a Newcastle counter and pulled the ball back to Gouffran who beat Hugo Lloris via a deflection from the diving 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.
Just after the break and Newcastle were hit with a blow as goalscorer Gouffran was stretchered off. 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.
Bale continued to look like 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 into the box but it was cut out before Dempsey could score.
Bale came forward again, charging at the defence before firing a powerful shot which Steven Taylor blocked bravely. But Taylor then went from hero to villain moments later, however, as his mix-up with Coloccini allowed Bale to race through the Toon defence and fire between the legs of Krul to make it 2-1.
Steven Caulker could have added a third moments later with a free header when Krul went walkabout from a corner, but the defender nodded wide. Krul's finger-tips prevented Bale from adding a third after he raced through from a long punt down field before firing a powerful volley at goal.
Yohan Cabaye was guilty of putting in a terrible tackle on Mousa 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 equalise 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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